Here's how Angels' roster is shaping up

March 5th, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels have dealt with a few injuries early in camp to players such as Zack Cozart, Justin Bour, Justin Upton, Andrew Heaney, Andrelton Simmons and Michael Hermosillo, but of that group only Cozart is in danger of opening the season on the injured list.

The Angels open the season against the A’s in Oakland on March 28, which is just a little less than three weeks away. At the start of Spring Training, made its predictions for the 25 players who would make the big league club, and it's time to revisit the initial picks with Opening Day looming:

Catcher (2): ,
Nothing has changed, but Jose Briceno is competing with Smith for the backup catcher position. Smith, though, has the advantage because he is out of Minor League options, which means he has to be exposed to waivers before being sent to the Minors. Briceno, however, has options remaining, so he can be sent to the Minors.

First base (2): ,
Bour dealt with a right hamstring strain early in camp but is currently healthy, while Pujols is also healthy after undergoing surgery on both his left knee and right elbow at the end of last season. Bour is likely to see more action at first than Pujols, who can serve as designated hitter until returns from Tommy John surgery in May.

Second base (1):
Fletcher is still the favorite at second base, but prospect Luis Rengifo remains in competition with him. Rengifo, though, is more likely to be sent to Triple-A Salt Lake to get more seasoning.

Third base (1):
There’s still a chance that Cozart will be ready for Opening Day after sustaining a left calf strain, but considering he’s out for a few weeks, it’s more likely he opens the year on the injured list and Ward gets the call at third. Ward, a converted catcher, is having a strong spring so far.

Shortstop (1):
Simmons dealt with some tightness in his trapezius muscle early in spring, but the injury is behind him and he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

Outfield (4): , , ,
The only change is the addition of Bourjos, as has been out this spring after dealing with some scar tissue resulting from offseason surgery on a sports hernia. Bourjos can play all three outfield positions, but will have to be added to the 40-man roster.

Utility (1):
La Stella has an outside chance to start at either second or third, but is more likely to be the club’s utility player, even though he can’t play shortstop.

Designated hitter (1):
Parker, who can also play left field, could get the nod as an extra outfielder and designated hitter with Ohtani expected to be out until May. Parker has looked good so far this spring despite not playing last year because of complications related to a shoulder injury sustained in 2017. Parker has power from the left side, which would be a fit in the lineup until Ohtani returns but like Bourjos, he'd have to be added to the roster.

Starting pitcher (5): , , , ,
Heaney is currently dealing with elbow inflammation and Harvey suffered a glute strain early in camp, but both should be ready for the start of the regular season. Barria remains the favorite to be the club's fifth starter and is competing with right-hander Felix Pena.

Relief pitchers (8): , , , Justin Anderson, , ,
Pena, who has been impressive so far this spring, could be sent to Triple-A to remain stretched out as a starter, but he has experience in relief and could be used as a multi-inning reliever. Right-hander Noe Ramirez is out of options, so the Angels will have an interesting decision on their hands. The Angels could also decide to open with nine relievers instead of carrying an extra position player.

Here's the breakdown for Round 1 of the 25-man roster projections:

Jonathan Lucroy
Kevan Smith

Justin Bour
Albert Pujols
David Fletcher
Zack Cozart
Andrelton Simmons

Justin Upton
Mike Trout
Kole Calhoun
Michael Hermosillo

Tommy La Stella

Shohei Ohtani

Tyler Skaggs
Andrew Heaney
Matt Harvey
Trevor Cahill
Jaime Barria

Cody Allen
Ty Buttrey
Hansel Robles
Justin Anderson
Luis Garcia
Cam Bedrosian
Noe Ramirez