With Spring Training winding down, we decided to take this opportunity to answer some questions from fans in an Angels Opening Day inbox. Today we'll start with a look at how the Angels' situation in left field is shaping up heading into the regular season.What's the thinking on Cameron Maybin?
With Spring Training winding down, we decided to take this opportunity to answer some questions from fans in an Angels Opening Day inbox. Today we'll start with a look at how the Angels' situation in left field is shaping up heading into the regular season.
What's the thinking on Cameron Maybin? Was he so shaky that he will platoon with Ben Revere, or is the job still his? -- @jwquick via Twitter
While it's true Revere entered Wednesday batting .438 (21-for-48) this spring and Maybin is hitting .143 (6-for-42), manager Mike Scioscia has said Maybin's starting job in left field is secure. The Angels have planned on using Maybin as their primary left fielder since acquiring him from the Tigers in November, and they aren't going to shift course based on Spring Training numbers. Maybin, 29, is coming off a career-best offensive season in Detroit, where he hit .315 with an .801 OPS.
Revere, meanwhile, struggled through an injury-marred season last year and hit just .217 with a .560 OPS, though he's been a steady contact hitter for most of his career. As of now, Revere is projected to back up all three outfield spots and provide speed off the bench. He could ultimately earn more playing time if he continues to swing the bat well and Maybin doesn't once the regular season starts
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Final bullpen predictions? -- @Crudemeister via Twitter
Cam Bedrosian will open the season as the Angels' closer, with Andrew Bailey serving as the setup man. JC Ramirez has been starting all spring, but I think he'll end up in the bullpen as a multi-inning reliever, along with non-roster invitees Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris. Jose Alvarez figures to earn a spot, since he's the only left-handed reliever still in big league camp, and has pitched well.
There are a bunch of guys still in the mix for the final spot, but I think Richard Parker is a strong candidate to make the team based on his 0.87 spring ERA and 18 strikeouts over 10 1/3 innings.
Is there a possibility of Nick Tropeano or Andrew Heaney coming back at the end of the season? -- @chavezjd11 via Twitter
Tropeano and Heaney, who both underwent Tommy John surgery last year, have been cleared to start throwing programs, but the Angels are not expecting either of them back until 2018. Heaney threw off the mound Monday for the first time since his July surgery, and has said he hopes to pitch before the end of the season. But Scioscia made it clear at the beginning of camp that he "doesn't see it happening" unless team doctors decide to change Heaney's timeline.
What's your pick for the guy most likely to have a breakout season? -- @cakirby via Twitter
I think left-hander Tyler Skaggs has the potential to have a big year in 2017. Skaggs made his Major League debut in 2012 with the D-backs, but injuries have slowed him down and prevented him from fully realizing his talent up to this point. But he's only 25 and will be entering his first full season since recovering from Tommy John surgery.
He's been inconsistent in his first four years in the big leagues, recording a 4.60 ERA in 41 starts, but he has the tools to be a dominant starter, with a low-to-mid 90s fastball and an elite curveball. Skaggs missed one start this spring with shoulder weakness, but he's looked good in his subsequent outings, and has said he expects to be ready for the start of the season. The Angels are hoping that he'll finally be able to put it all together this year.
If one of the starting pitchers gets hurt who is likely the first one to get the call? -- @angelsfan4356 via Twitter
I think right-hander Alex Meyer could be next on the depth chart if one of the Angels' top starters gets hurt. Meyer arrived to Spring Training as a rotation candidate, but he was inconsistent over five Cactus League appearances, and was sent to Minor League camp last week. But the Angels remain high on the 27-year-old, and have been pleased with the progress he's made since being acquired from the Twins in the Hector Santiago trade last summer.
Another starting option would be left-hander Nate Smith, who is ranked the Angels' No. 4 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and is also slated to start the season at Triple-A Salt Lake. Ramirez, Norris and Petit are all likely to start the season in the Angels' bullpen as long relievers, but they could slide into the rotation and start in the event of injury as well.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.