Players to Watch in Spring Training Part II: Position Players.

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Updated: February 18, 2017

It’s now official: All of the Angels are in Tempe! Yesterday, the rest of team joined the pitchers and catchers for Spring Training, and we are officially under way. Although the weather outside is frightening, baseball is on the way so that’s very exciting! After checking in on the pitchers and catchers you should keep an eye on this Spring, we’ll take a look at the non-catcher position players you should be paying attention to.

Albert Pujols – After having offseason surgery on his foot, Pujols’ health will be a huge factor all Spring. Things seem to moving along nicely for The Machine, but his availability for Opening Day is still in question. The Angels will need him to at least be as productive as he was last season, if not more so, to protect Trout in a lineup that doesn’t have a lot of power. If the Angels pitching doesn’t take a huge step forward, they’ll need the lineup to be solid up and down all year long, and that gets a lot harder without a healthy and productive Pujols. His health is worth keeping an eye on this Spring.

C.J. Cron – I’ve talked about Cron a lot here, so you know how important I think Cron is to the Angels’ chances of contending this season, particularly if Pujols misses any time. He’ll need to step up and provide some muscle in the middle of the lineup, and he’ll need to support Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Pujols. He’ll need to prove in Spring Training he’s that guy, or risk losing lots of playing time to Luis Valbuena.

Kole Calhoun – I believe that Kole is ready to take the leap and become one of the better players in baseball, so his Spring will be an interesting one to watch to see just how much more of his game Kole is able to develop.

Jefry Marte – Marte showed some flashes of being a very good player last season, hitting fifteen home runs and posting a 1.3 WAR in only 284 plate appearances, and Marte is still young enough at twenty-five to develop even further. The only problem is that Marte is blocked in the infield, and isn’t really fit to play the outfield. He’ll have to contend with starter Yunel Escobar, who isn’t going to lose his job in Spring, and utility infielders Cliff Pennington and Valbuena to earn a spot on the major league roster. That seems unlikely given that Marte has options and no other player he’s contending with does. The more important factor, though, is that Marte is not going to have regular playing time either way, and the Angels will want him getting consistent at bats to continue his development. That all-important development starts this Spring.

Ben Revere & Cameron Maybin – We’ll take these as a package deal, as each player’s Spring will affect the others’. Maybin is the de facto starter, if he remains healthy, but its’ certainly not hard to foresee a scenario where Revere steals playing time from Maybin. The ideal situation for the Angels is Maybin remaining healthy and seizing the starting job, as he offers more offensively than Revere, who’s all speed and a little OBP and not much else. Revere can take a big step toward possibly usurping Maybin by putting together a solid spring, and Maybin can hold serve as long he stays healthy.

Every player will need to take a big step forward and play better than they have before for the Angels to contend this season. They’ll be relying on consistent production up and down the roster all season long, so truly every player is a player to keep an eye on this season. These were just a few of the more important ones, but the Angels will need a lot to go right for them this season. It starts this Spring. Baseball is here again!

 

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