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OC Register: Angels get a look at young talent in loss to Texas Rangers


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ANAHEIM ― The Angels lost a game Sunday but gained some insight into their future.

A pair of home runs by Jo Adell accounted for all the offense in the Angels’ 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers before an announced crowd of 18,492 at Angel Stadium. It was the second multi-homer game of Adell’s young career.

While Adell’s future in the Angels’ outfield is largely secure, a couple young pitchers might have given the team’s front office something to think about.

The Angels promoted starting pitcher Janson Junk directly from Double-A to make his major league debut. The 25-year-old right-hander, acquired from the New York Yankees in the trade for Andrew Heaney, pitched better than the final score suggested.

Junk had trouble handling Rangers slugger DJ Peters. The Glendora native finished 4 for 5 with a pair of home runs, the first of which put the Angels in an early 1-0 hole.

In the third inning, Junk was one out away from incurring further damage. But shortstop Luis Rengifo threw the ball wide of first base after fielding a routine grounder, allowing Isiah Kiner-Falefa to score the Rangers’ second run.

Then, with two runners on base, Peters batted again and swatted a home run to left field. Texas led 5-0 and could all but cruise to the finish line.

Junk (0-1) got two quick outs in the fourth inning, but was relieved after allowing a single. Since the four runs that scored after Rengifo’s error were unearned, Junk’s career ERA of 2.45 does not reflect the mountain of damage caused by one wild throw.

Junk and rookie right-hander Elvis Peguero ― who threw two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen ― became Angels in a deadline trade with the Yankees that sent Andrew Heaney to New York.

Angels right-hander Kyle Tyler made a more promising debut in relief. He allowed only one baserunner, on a gap-splitting double by Peters, while pitching three scoreless innings to close out the game.

The Angels’ offense did little to stress Rangers starter Taylor Hearn, who threw an efficient 77 pitches across a career-high seven innings. The left-hander allowed seven hits. Only the two home runs by Adell and the double by Mayfield went for extra bases. The other seven Angels combined to go 2 for 22 against Hearn with four strikeouts.

Shohei Ohtani struck out three times in five plate appearances. He also stole his 23rd base of the season after drawing a walk.

Adell hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. His sixth-inning home run followed a double by Jack Mayfield.

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The results may not be there, but I'm really enjoying watching the prospects play. Adell has made real strides since last year on both sides of the ball so credit to him and the coaches for that, and it looks like we've got some genuine potential in the pitching department too. Who would have thought? Injuries aside, I'm starting to feel quite optimistic for next year. 

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I would rather watch meaningful baseball being played by the Angels than watching the prospects.  Minasian has done a remarkable job creating a team roster where prospects are more interesting to watch.

I am not optimistic for next year considering how many players Minasian needs to find and his inability to distinguish between value and garbage.

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I feel a lot better about how thy are approaching pitching. Instead of trotting out a bunch of also-rans, we are giving young guys a chance to show they can contribute, even if they are being called up very early. You bring up Warren, Wantz, Peguero, Marte, Junk, Tyler, et al to see if any of them show you something good for next year. You are building some context to work with in Spring instead of guessing for 45 days as to how their stuff would play against a ML roster. This is a live rehearsal for next year and it's totally sensible to see what you have. 

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