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3 Angels Spring Training predictions

@RhettBollinger
February 15, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Spring Training has begun for the Angels with pitchers and catchers participating in their first official workout Wednesday. Considering the position players have yet to report, it’s still too early to make any grand declarations about what to expect this spring and this season. But here’s a

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Spring Training has begun for the Angels with pitchers and catchers participating in their first official workout Wednesday.

Considering the position players have yet to report, it’s still too early to make any grand declarations about what to expect this spring and this season. But here’s a look at a few predictions that could come true this spring:

Angels open with four-man rotation

With Shohei Ohtani being held out of the rotation until mid-May, the Angels won’t have to work around pitching Ohtani once a week early in the season. They could open with a traditional five-man rotation but with the help of off-days early in the year they could go with just four starters and use a pitcher such as Matt Andriese or Félix Peña as spot starters when needed. It would leave the Angels with a four-man rotation of Andrew Heaney, Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning.

With an off-day after their fourth game, they wouldn’t need a fifth starter until April 4 against the Astros. Andriese or Peña could be available out of the bullpen leading up to that outing and then could make the spot start. Because of so many off-days in April, the Angels wouldn't need to use a fifth starter again until April 20 or April 21 against the Orioles, depending on their usage of their four starters.

It would also allow for younger pitchers such as Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria, Patrick Sandoval and Dillon Peters to remain stretched out as starters at Triple-A Salt Lake. And whoever is pitching best in the Minors in April could be called up to be the fifth starter until Ohtani is ready to join the rotation.

Adell turns heads with strong performance

Top prospect Jo Adell is participating in his second Major League Spring Training and is competing with Brian Goodwin for the starting job in right field. Goodwin has the edge because of his solid season last year and the fact that Adell struggled a bit in his first taste of Triple-A last year.

But Adell, ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, has the tools to impact the game in a multitude of ways with his combination of power and speed. He’s still getting used to playing right field after his move from center but has more than enough athleticism and arm strength for the position.

Expect Adell to have a big spring and put some pressure on the Angels with their decision to either bring him up to the Majors on Opening Day or to let him get more seasoning in the Minors. The Angels would gain an extra year of control of Adell if they delay his debut until mid-April, which comes into play, but a big spring would force the Angels to at least think about making Adell the starting right fielder right out of the chute.

La Stella, Fletcher see action around the diamond

Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher are expected to split time at second base but both players are so valuable to the Angels that the club will try to find creative ways to get them into the lineup. La Stella will see extended action at first base this spring to get ready as a platoon partner of sorts with veteran Albert Pujols. Matt Thaiss and Jared Walsh are also in the mix at first but La Stella is coming off a breakout All-Star season and the Angels need to get his bat in the lineup against right-handers. La Stella will also see time at third but the Angels expect Anthony Rendon to play nearly every day at the hot corner this season.

Fletcher will be moved around even more because of his versatility, as he’ll be used in both left field and right field in addition to second base, third base and shortstop. Fletcher is already a favorite of new manager Joe Maddon and finished second on the team in WAR last year to Mike Trout. So while Michael Hermosillo is the favorite to be the fourth outfielder, Fletcher could see time in the corners over Hermosillo because of the offense he brings with his ability to make contact and get on base.

So it’ll be more than just second base for Fletcher and La Stella this spring, as the Angels find out more about their versatility and how they can best be utilized this season.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.