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OC Register: Angels 2020 spring training preview: outfield


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As the Angels head toward the first workout of spring training on Wednesday, we are providing a breakdown of how they stand with their roster. Players acquired this winter include the method of their acquisition in parentheses. Today, the final installment looks at the outfielders. (Previously: starting rotation| bullpen, catchers and infielders.)

2019 RECAP

Mike Trout was Mike Trout, winning his third MVP award after hitting .291 with 45 home runs and a 1.083 OPS. Trout won the award despite playing with a sore foot for a month, an injury that eventually required surgery that cost him the final three weeks of the season. Kole Calhoun also provided solid production in right field, showing that his midseason turnaround in 2018 was legit. He hit a career-high 33 homers, with a .792 OPS. Left field was the problem spot for the Angels, with Justin Upton missing almost all of spring training with a knee injury, then spraining his toe just before Opening Day. Upton didn’t come back until June and he played 63 mostly disappointing games before getting shut down again with a knee injury. Upton’s absence allowed the Angels to give a shot to Brian Goodwin, who responded with a breakthrough season, hitting 17 homers with a .796 OPS in 136 games.

HOW IT LOOKS RIGHT NOW

It looks a lot different than people expected a couple days ago, but pretty much the same as it looked a couple weeks ago. The reported deal that would have sent Joc Pederson from the Angels to the Dodgers has not happened, and is reportedly unlikely to happen at all, which means the Angels still have an outfield of Upton, Trout and Goodwin. That’s certainly passable, particularly with the best player in the majors in the middle, and Upton looking to bounce back to his normal production in left field. Goodwin had never played as much or as well as he did with the Angels in 2019, so it remains to be seen if he will be able to keep up that production. The Angels also may send infielder David Fletcher out to right field once in a while. The leading candidate to win the fourth outfield job is probably Michael Hermosillo.

THE NEXT LAYER

Jo Adell is looming, having been ranked among the top five prospects in baseball by several outlets. Adell, who turns 21 in April, will get a chance to win the opening day right field job, but the Angels are likely expecting him to return to Triple-A initially. He spent just 27 games at Triple-A to finish last season, struggling to a .676 OPS with no homers. If he has any extended hot streak at Triple-A, or if there’s an injury in the majors, he should get the call. Brandon Marsh, the Angels’ second-best prospect, is also going to be at Triple-A. Although Marsh is not the caliber of prospect as Adell, he is a year older, so he might reach the majors first.

MOVE THEY COULD MAKE

When it looked like the Angels were getting Pederson, their outfield was going to be loaded. Now, there is room for improvement. They could still pick up a free agent like Cam Maybin or Kevin Pillar. Both are right-handed hitters, and Pillar is especially good against left-handed pitchers, so he could platoon with the left-handed hitting Goodwin. Either could also serve as a defensive replacement for the 32-year-old Upton, whose age and recent knee injuries have contributed to him losing a step or two in the outfield.

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