5 key Spring Training takeaways for Angels
ANAHEIM -- It was a shortened Spring Training for the Angels and the rest of Major League Baseball due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there were still several key takeaways from spring camp.
Here’s a look at what we learned about the Angels this Spring Training:
Maddon keeps it loose
New manager Joe Maddon famously doesn’t have many rules for his players and it was clear this camp that Angels players were loose in the clubhouse and fed off Maddon’s persona. Every morning workout began with a fun activity with quality assurance coach Tim Buss, who is otherwise known as the “vice president of stuff” by Maddon. It included everything from closest to the pin with fungo bats, golf clubs and even games like spikeball. After everything the Angels' organization went through in 2019, the positive culture change was evident.
Angels starters were solid
Of course, it’s only Spring Training and stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but Angels starting pitchers universally pitched well this spring under the guidance of new pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Callaway kept it simple with his pitchers, explaining the value of throwing strikes and getting ahead of batters. Dylan Bundy (1.59 ERA), Matt Andriese (1.00 ERA) Jose Suarez (1.13 ERA) and Dillon Peters (1.23 ERA) were among those with strong Cactus League seasons.
Adell holds his own
Jo Adell, ranked as the Angels' No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall by MLB Pipeline, had a solid camp, hitting .280 with two doubles and two RBIs in nine games, and he impressed Maddon. Adell was in a competition with Brian Goodwin for the starting right field spot, but he was expected to open the season at Triple-A Salt Lake. Maddon said late in spring that Adell has all the tools to be a star, but he needs a bit more seasoning in the Minors.
Ohtani scuffled but was unconcerned
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-19 with no extra-base hits during Cactus League play, but said he’s not worried because they are just exhibition games. Ohtani notably had a rough spring in 2018 before turning it on once the regular season began en route to winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Ohtani was scheduled to make a return to the mound in mid-May, which could work out better for the club with the season expected to be pushed back at least eight weeks, according to MLB’s announcement on Monday.
Fletcher to be super-utility
David Fletcher played all over the diamond in Spring Training, including making his first appearance as a center fielder since Little League. Maddon said he believes Fletcher can play any position and views him as a Ben Zobrist-type player who can play in both the infield and outfield without any issues. Tommy La Stella appears more entrenched at second, as he didn’t take any reps at first base. Fletcher would likely start at second against lefties and then play different positions against right-handers, filling in as a capable backup at just about any position except first base and catcher.