Should Cliff Pennington Start At Second Base?

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Updated: March 22, 2017

The Angels acquired Danny Espinosa over the off-season to fill the void at second base. This spring he’s hitting .222 with 7 RBI in 45 at-bats. Its been a rough start for Espinosa, and could potentially cost him his starting job at second base.

Veteran Cliff Pennington has been outstanding this spring, hitting .414 with two RBI and 12 hits in 29 at-bats. The Angels signed a two-year $3.75 million deal with Pennington over the off-season. The 32-year-old is expected to be the backup infielder, but could take the starting role from Espinosa.

Last season Pennington hit .209 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 74 games. Those stats don’t jump out at you, but he was playing in a limited role, and performed better than his stats show. He’s a defense first type player, but is a career .243 hitter, and is red-hot this spring.

Espinosa hit .209 with 24 home runs and 72 RBI in 157 games with the Washington Nationals last season. His defense is below average at best, and his power numbers are really the only reason he is projected to start over Pennington.

If Espinosa fails to find the power stroke in 2017, should the Halos make the switch to Pennington? The job should be given to the player that has earned it, and this spring Pennington has hit this way into the second base starting position. The Halos will likely still give Espinosa the nod based on the fact that he has more power potential in his bat.

It should be an interesting position battle to watch as Spring Training comes to a close. Pennington has out-hit Espinosa this spring, but has he earned the starting job at second base?

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