Projecting the Angels' Opening Day roster
TEMPE, Ariz. -- It’s less than two weeks until Opening Day for the Angels, who still have a few position battles to resolve before their regular-season opener in Oakland on March 30.
The Halos have to decide on a backup catcher, how their bench will look and who will get the final spot in both the rotation and the bullpen. There are still a few things that could change, but here’s how the roster could look on Opening Day:
Two-way player (1): Shohei Ohtani
There’s nobody else like Ohtani, and he’ll have no limitations as a two-way player again this season, which is the last year of his contract. He’ll lead the six-man rotation and will also serve as the club’s everyday designated hitter. He departed on Feb. 28 to join Team Japan for the World Baseball Classic and has excelled, helping Japan to the semifinals.
Catcher (2): Max Stassi, Matt Thaiss
Stassi is looking for a bounce-back year offensively, and there has been a competition for the backup catcher job. Logan O’Hoppe is the club’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and he got his first taste of the Majors late last season. He’s competing with Thaiss, who is out of Minor League options. Thaiss has played well this spring and is now a slight favorite to make the club ahead of O’Hoppe.
First base (1): Jared Walsh
Walsh had a down year offensively in 2022, as he was dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome that eventually required surgery in September. He is healthy and has had no limitations in Spring Training, but he’s likely to platoon and not face left-handers much this season.
Second base (2): Brandon Drury, Gio Urshela
The Angels will use a combination of several players at second base, including new additions Drury and Urshela. They are both expected to see time at first and third base when needed, and they have been getting work at shortstop this spring. They’re both right-handed hitters and will help form a platoon at first base.
Shortstop (2): David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo
Fletcher and Rengifo figure to split time at shortstop, and both could also see some action at second base. Fletcher dealt with a core injury that limited his production and required surgery last year, while Rengifo is coming off a breakout season. Andrew Velazquez could also be in the mix at some point, as he brings elite defense but struggled offensively last year. Velazquez has also seen time in the outfield this spring.
Third base (1): Anthony Rendon
Rendon is fully healthy after dealing with a right wrist injury last year, and he is looking to finally put together a full, productive season with the Angels. He remains under contract through 2026.
Outfielders (4): Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Hunter Renfroe, Brett Phillips
The Angels added Renfroe and Phillips to bolster their outfield depth this offseason. Renfroe is slated to be the starting right fielder, with Ward in left and Trout in center. Phillips is expected to be the club’s fourth outfielder, but Mickey Moniak has had a strong spring and is pushing to make the club. Jo Adell is expected to start the year with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Starting pitchers (5): Tyler Anderson, Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, José Suarez, Tucker Davidson
It’s a six-man rotation for the Angels, but Ohtani was already listed as a two-way player. Anderson (who was signed to a three-year deal this offseason), Sandoval, Detmers and Suarez are all locks to be part of the rotation.
The sixth spot, which could be more of a swing role, is up for grabs among several candidates, including Griffin Canning, Chris Rodriguez, Chase Silseth, Jaime Barría and Davidson.
Canning missed last season with a back injury, but he has fared well this spring, while Davidson also has looked sharp. Davidson is out of Minor League options and is considered the slight favorite for the job. Silseth has added a new cutter, while Barría pitched for Team Panama in the Classic. Chris Rodriguez could be in the mix once he’s fully recovered from his right shoulder surgery.
Relief pitchers (8): Carlos Estévez, Jimmy Herget, Jaime Barría, Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Wantz, José Quijada, Matt Moore
The first seven spots are essentially locked up after the Angels signed Moore this spring, leaving a competition for the final spot in the bullpen. Wantz is the favorite for that job, but hard-throwing prospect Ben Joyce has turned heads this spring and non-roster invite Jacob Webb has been solid. The Halos also have to decide on a closer, as Estevéz was considered the favorite but has struggled this spring. Herget could get a shot to close, while Loup, Tepera and Quijada have some experience closing games as well.