Jump to content
  • Welcome to AngelsWin.com

    AngelsWin.com - THE Internet Home for Angels fans! Unraveling Angels Baseball ... One Thread at a Time.

    Register today to comment and join the most interactive online Angels community on the net!

    Once you're a member you'll see less advertisements. If you become a Premium member and you won't see any ads! 



OC Register: Angels weighing options with a crowded middle infield competition

Recommended Posts

TEMPE, Ariz. — The only thing that’s certain about the Angels’ middle infield combination is that David Fletcher is going to be there.

The other middle infield spot will be determined by one of the most intriguing battles in spring training.

“We have a lot of good middle infielders, a lot of good ones, it seems,” he said on Sunday. “It’s going to be interesting. I don’t know who we’re going to pick.”

Angels fans who were still holding out hope for Carlos Correa or Trevor Story had to come back to reality this weekend. Correa agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Twins and Story with the Boston Red Sox.

Although it’s still possible the Angels could make a move for a more established middle infielder, it looks like they’re going to start the season with what they have.

What they have is a five-man battle with numerous combinations.

The candidates are Matt Duffy, Tyler Wade, Luis Rengifo, Jack Mayfield and Andrew Velazquez. Expect one of them to be playing alongside Fletcher on Opening Day, and expect one or two of the others to be on the bench.

“With the mix we have, I’m very excited about the possible combinations,” said Mike Gallego, the Angels infield coach.

Manager Joe Maddon said it’s too early to make judgments about which way they’ll go, but he is content with the choices.

“Whatever we decide upon, there’s gonna be a lot of depth there,” Maddon said. “It’s very competent players. Whether it’s at short or at second base, the ability to get to baseballs, turn double plays, high intellect. I just like the way it’s shaping up. … I like what we have a lot, not a little bit.”

Any analysis of the combinations starts with the fact that Duffy just signed a major league deal and Wade is out of options, so both of them are likely to make the team.

Given that, the safest option is probably to have Fletcher at shortstop and Duffy at second, with Wade as a backup. They could still have one of the other three, although that would also depend on whether they keep five or six outfielders.

It’s still unclear — even to the Angels — which is the best pure defensive combination, and defense is likely to be more important than offense when it comes to this decision.

Offensively, Duffy is probably the most reliable of the five non-Fletcher candidates. Mayfield has the most power, and Rengifo probably has the highest overall offensive ceiling, although he hasn’t gotten there yet.

Whatever the Angels decide, they don’t believe there needs to be one answer. Each of the players has said he’s comfortable bouncing around to a different role each day.

“Talk to Fletch, ‘What do you think of this?” Maddon said. “He says, ‘I don’t care. Just tell me where to go.’ Ask Wade the same question and he has the same answer. Ask Velazquez and he has the same answer. Ask Rengifo. There is no ego. No ‘I’ve got to play here’ or ‘I’ve got to play there.’ They are good anywhere.”

Here’s a breakdown of each of the five players, starting with the incumbents.

Rengifo, 25, has been up and down in the big leagues with the Angels since 2019. A switch-hitter, Rengifo is fast and has shown flashes of power and plate discipline. His problem has been that he’s prone to mental lapses, but Maddon said he cleaned that up last season.

Mayfield, 31, was a backup shortstop who did little at the plate until the Angels gave him a shot last season, and he took advantage by blasting 10 homers in 86 games. Mayfield is a right-hander hitter who could competently play second, third or shortstop.

Duffy, 31, has played parts of six years in the majors, including a runner-up finish in the Rookie of the Year race in 2015. He said third is his best spot, but he can play all four infield spots. A right-handed hitter, Duffy has a career .721 OPS, which is by far the best of the five.

Wade, 27, is also a utility player. He has played 265 games in the majors, including 109 at second. He’s also played shortstop, third and all three outfield spots. His speed is one of his best tools. Last season his average sprint speed was 29.1 feet/second. Mike Trout’s was 29.3 feet/second.

Velazquez, 27, is more of a pure shortstop than any of the other candidates. He’s played short in 60 of his 93 big league games. A switch-hitter, Velazquez has a .525 OPS in parts of four years with four organizations. He figures to the have the least offensive upside of the five.


Noah Syndergaard will pitch in a game for the first time this spring on Tuesday, but it will be a minor league game. The Angels want to be able to control the outing more than they can in a big league exhibition game. …

Patrick Sandoval is scheduled to make his first start of the spring in a minor league game on Monday, while Shohei Ohtani is starting in the big league game. José Suarez is scheduled to pitch in the big league exhibition game on Wednesday. That will conclude the first time through the rotation for all of the Angels projected starters. …

Anthony Rendon and Duffy are expected to make their spring debuts sometime in the middle of the week, Maddon said. Rendon is healthy, but prefers to start slowly in the spring, Maddon said. Duffy signed just after camp began, so he’s slightly behind the other players. …

Griffin Canning has played catch at a distance of 60 feet twice, on Thursday and Saturday. Canning suffered a setback in his rehab from a back injury, and the Angels placed him on the 60-day injured list. The soonest he could pitch in the majors would be May.

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are probably four spots.  2b/SS/Util/Util

Fletch has one and Duffy has another.  Both are RHed. 

Wade has no options.  He's fast, a very good defender and LHed

Velazquez has no bat but is probably the fastest and best defender.  Switch hitter

Mayfield is probably the safest and has shown some pop in games.  Also a very solid defender but probably not as good as Wade and Velazquez.  RHed

Rengifo has the highest ceiling by far.  But if he gets the nod, I'd want to see him play everyday.  Switch hitter.  Good speed.  Solid overall defender but inconsistent.  Which has been his calling card  on both sides of the ball.  

I think Wade is the third because of his lack of options.  

Velazquez is my least favorite but seems to have Maddon's sig.   But I think Maddon likes Mayfield as well even though he hasn't said it and I don't think he likes Rengifo.  

I would like to give a slight nod to Taylor Ward who can play 1b, 3b, CF, LF, RF, 3rd C and probably has a better bat than upton at this point.  So if it comes down to keeping two of the shitty options at MIF/Util vs. Ward's bat off the bench, I probably choose Ward.  If only he didn't have reverse splits vs. lefties

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...