Angels Showing Lineup Depth in First Few Games

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Updated: April 10, 2017

Well, that comeback was something else, wasn’t it!? Since 2011, teams leading by six or more runs were 2,529-1. Just think about that number. The Angels‘ comeback was extremely improbable, to say the least. It’s a pretty exciting first week of the season for the Halos. Even though we’re only seven games in, the Angels have been plagued by slow starts in recent years, so a fast start is good. No matter how early it is, there are still some very encouraging signs to continue forward. One of those is lineup depth.

For large stretches of the season last year, the Angels struggled mightily to score runs if Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, or Albert Pujols weren’t producing. When it was all said and done, the Angels had about a league average offense, so it wasn’t all bad. However, most of that can be attributed to Trout. The Angels got almost no value from left field, second base, and catcher. So seeing Danny Espinosa rip a game-winning three-run home run or Cliff Pennington get a walk-off hit is encouraging. The Angels are showing some serious strides in the bottom of the lineup.

Things will only get better once Luis Valbuena returns. The Angels are likely to keep all the members of their bullpen intact, especially considering the struggles the Angels’ starters are having going deep in games. That means someone like Jefry Marte or possibly C.J. Cron are going to the minors when Valbuena comes back. Valbuena is a better defender than either and offers lineup balance and versatility as a lefty bat. That will improve their defense, bench, and lineup. A team that really struggled to score runs at times is finally showing some legitimate lineup depth.

There are still some warning signs, like minor struggles from Bud Norris and J.C. Ramirez and the starters struggling to go deep in games. Those things will need to improve, eventually. The Angels should expect to get more from pitchers like Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, and Ricky Nolasco as the season rolls along. Maybe that motivates them to drop a pitcher from the bullpen and carry an extra bench bat. For now, though, the Halos are showing off some lineup depth, finally, with the likes of Marte, Pennington, Espinosa, Cameron Maybin, and Ben Revere all contributing. That’s a great early sign for the Angels.

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