Five Angels players with something to prove this spring

February 19th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger's Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Spring Training is in full swing for the Angels, as they held their first official full-squad workouts on Monday.

They have gotten off to a fast start this spring, too, with many position players arriving early to camp. Manager Ron Washington said pitchers are ahead of schedule in their throwing programs, and he’s been pleased by how many position players were already working out.

Superstar Mike Trout arrived at camp on report date on Sunday, and the Angels are only missing two players at this point. Reliever José Cisnero and infielder Miguel Sanó are having visa issues and are expected to arrive later this week.

Cactus League play is fast approaching, as the Angels host the rival Dodgers on Saturday at 12:10 p.m. PT at Tempe Diablo Stadium. There’s plenty at stake for several players competing for spots. With that in mind, here are five Angels players to watch this spring:

Adell has the most at stake this spring, since he’s out of Minor League options and the Angels already have four other outfielders on the roster in Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Aaron Hicks.

The 24-year-old Adell could play himself onto the roster as a fifth outfielder with a strong spring. But if he struggles, he may find himself on another club, as he would have to be exposed to waivers if he were left off the Opening Day roster. The Angels would likely trade Adell in that scenario, but they probably wouldn’t net much of a return.

Stefanic has put himself in a solid spot for the last bench spot, but he will have some competition, as the Angels might prefer a player who can handle shortstop -- such as non-roster invitee Ehire Adrianza or prospect Kyren Paris.

Stefanic showed some promise last year, though, hitting .290/.380/.355 in 25 games while showing improved defense. He said he hasn’t played shortstop in several years but he believes he could play there in a pinch. Stefanic also praised Washington for already helping him learn new things defensively this spring.

Paris got his first taste of the Majors last year, going 4-for-40 in 15 games before a torn ligament in his left thumb ended his season in mid-September. But Paris, the club’s top infield prospect, is healthy and ready to compete this spring.

The 22-year-old is considered a solid defender who can handle shortstop. He batted .255/.393/.417 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 113 games with Double-A Rocket City last year. Paris is starting to develop more power and patience, but it could make more sense for him to start the year in the Minors to get consistent playing time.

When healthy, Pomeranz has been an elite reliever, but he hasn’t pitched since 2021 after undergoing surgery to repair his left flexor tendon. He says he's feeling healthy, though, and he will compete for a spot in a crowded bullpen.

The 35-year-old Pomeranz has a solid track record. He posted a 1.62 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings with the Padres from 2020-21. He doesn't have an opt-out in his contract, because he wasn't on an active roster to end last season.

Like Adell, Suarez is out of Minor League options and will have to be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make the team. Suarez, 26, is coming off an injury-plagued year that saw him post an 8.29 ERA with 28 strikeouts, 20 walks and 10 homers allowed in 33 2/3 innings. But he has had success in the past, including a 3.86 ERA in 207 1/3 innings from 2021-22.

Suarez is currently stretched out to be a starter, giving the Angels some rotation depth. But his best chance of making the club is as a long reliever and potential spot starter. It’s a similar role to the one that Jaime Barria had in recent years. Right-hander Zach Plesac, who was signed to a one-year deal, is also a candidate for that spot, though he has a Minor League option remaining and can be sent to Triple-A Salt Lake if he doesn’t crack the Opening Day roster.