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OC Register: Angels 2023 spring training position preview: outfielders

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Angels pitchers and catchers are scheduled for their first workout of the spring on Feb. 15, with a smattering of other players who are on World Baseball Classic Rosters also in attendance. As we count down to the opening of camp, we’re analyzing the various position groups on the roster. Today, the outfielders.

2022 RECAP

Center fielder Mike Trout returned to his customary performance level after missing nearly all of the previous season with a calf injury. Although Trout still missed just over a month with a back injury in 2022, he nonetheless produced 40 home runs with a .999 OPS in 119 games. Right fielder Taylor Ward enjoyed a breakout season in his first shot at playing every day. Ward had an .833 OPS and 23 homers in 135 games, and it could have been better. He started and finished strong, with a lull in the middle as he dealt with a neck injury that sapped his strength. Left field was the issue. The Angels combined for a .598 OPS at the position, which ranked 29th in the majors. Brandon Marsh, who was traded in early August, and Jo Adell, handled much of the action in left, and neither hit very well. Marsh was at least exceptional defensively.


Trout, 31, said that his back is now 100 percent, so the Angels are hoping that he can have a full season in center field. The Angels are moving Ward, 29, from right to left to make room for newly acquired Hunter Renfroe (trade, from Milwaukee Brewers). Renfroe, 31, hit 29 homers with an .807 OPS with the Brewers last season. He’s hit at least 26 homers in each of the last five full seasons. Renfroe is also considered a good defensive outfielder, with an exceptional arm. The Angels also added Brett Phillips (free agent, from Baltimore Orioles) to be the fourth outfielder. Phillips, 28, is best known for his defense. He can play all three positions. The Angels are going to want to be able to give Trout regular days off to keep him healthy, so Phillips’ ability to produce in that role will be important. Although Phillips has never hit much in the majors, he worked this winter with the same private hitting instructor who helped Ward to his breakthrough last year, so he’s optimistic he can perform better at the plate.


Adell and Mickey Moniak both seemed ticketed to start the season at Triple-A, barring an injury to one of the top four. They are both former top prospects who have struggled in their major league opportunities. Adell has a .616 OPS in 522 at-bats and Moniak has a .486 OPS in 153 at-bats. This is the last season that either of them can be optioned.


Adell doesn’t have a starting spot with the Angels at this point, so they could trade him to a team that would be able to give him regular playing time, perhaps to help fill another hole on the roster. It’s not that likely because Adell’s value is low after a disappointing season, and the Angels still can keep him in Triple-A and hope that he improves, which would make him more valuable to keep or trade.

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