Angels Projected Opening Day Roster

Taylor Blake Ward breaks down each position battle for the Los Angeles Angels, and let's you know who we here at Scout.com, feels will make the Opening Day roster.

With 11 games left on the Los Angeles Angels' Cactus League schedule, there are a few questions that remain. Who will do this? Who will do that? Is Andrew Heaney ready for the Majors? Well, InsideTheHalos.com is here to answer your questions. Below, we break down each position and let you know who we feel will be on the Opening Day roster.

A few holes were left in the Opening Day roster due to injuries. Garrett Richards (ACL), Josh Hamilton (shoulder), Tyler Skaggs (elbow), and Cory Rasmus (core) will all spend Opening Day on the Disabled List, with Richards nearing a return with some rehab appearances in the minors or extended spring. With those, the Angels need another starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and outfielder.

Here is a small look at what we believe the Angels Opening Day roster will look like;


C - Chris Iannetta
1B - Albert Pujols
2B - ________
3B - David Freese
SS - Erick Aybar
LF - ________
CF - Mike Trout
RF - Kole Calhoun
DH - ________
SP - Jered Weaver
SP - Matt Shoemaker
SP - C.J. Wilson
SP - Hector Santiago
SP - ________
LR - Vinnie Pestano
LR - ________
MR - ________
MR - Mike Morin
SU - Joe Smith
CL - Huston Street
BE - ________
BE - ________
BE - ________
BE - ________
BE - ________


As you can see, there are some empty spots after positions where you can fill in a name. In the subheadings below, we will break down each position battle, and who we believe who's name will be placed in those empty lines above.


LEFT FIELD

Many may be wondering why we put left field as an empty slot with Matt Joyce on the board. Well, there's a guy named Collin Cowgill on the roster too. Pending some injury concerns of Joyce these past few weeks, him and Cowgill should be on the Opening Day roster. They should also both be considered starters, but as platoon players. Joyce has been great this Spring, batting .350/.391/.450, but his career split against left-handed pitchers .189/.258/.316 says a high load about how he'd fair against them over the entire season. Same goes for Cowgill, who has hit just .206/.275/.262 against righties in his career. Between the two of them, they should be able to start based on the opposing pitcher, until Josh Hamilton returns. Also in the running stands Marc Krauss, Grant Green, Daniel Robertson, and Efren Navarro

Projected Opening Day LF starter: Matt Joyce (because Felix Hernandez is right-handed)


DESIGNATED HITTER

Matt Joyce is in this category as well, and once again, as a platoon player. Youngster, C.J. Cron has similar numbers to both righties and lefties, and has put on a clinic this Spring Training. He could possibly take a full time spot as the designated hitter. Another guy putting up big numbers this Spring and possibly fighting his way onto the team for Opening Day is Marc Krauss. Of course there are other options for the DH role, but the three highlights are Joyce, Cron, and Krauss.

Projected Opening Day DH starter: C.J. Cron


BACKUP CATCHER

Coming into Spring Training, the backup catcher position was Drew Butera's to lose. He was the only one in the battle with Major League experience, and was known for strong framing abilities, which the Angels liked. However, he's having trouble with passed balls and blocking. Carlos Perez on the other hand, is getting a lot of time, and is taking advantage of every situation. His defense is speaking for itself, and his bat is developing well. He may be a dark horse to steal the backup catching position from Butera.

Projected Opening Day backup catcher: Carlos Perez


SECOND BASE/UTILITY INFIELDER

Another guy who had a spot to lose was Josh Rutledge. It's starting to look like he's having trouble at the plate, and sometimes in the field as well. He should be on the Opening Day roster, but probably not as a starter anymore. The guy who should be taking his place is Johnny Giavotella. "Johnny G" has a perfect defensive percentage, and the highest OPS (.896). Grant Green has slowed down with his bat and is still relatively a liability in the field, but is also the only one who can play first base. Taylor Featherston must stay on the active roster throughout the season to remain with the Angels, and right now is looking like a safe pick for the utility position, despite some weak defensive numbers currently.

Projected Opening Day 2B starter: Johnny Giavotella
Project Opening Day utility infielder: Taylor Featherston


LOOGY

Cesar Ramos is the safest pick here. He has the most Major League experience, and is an advanced left-handed specialist already. His Spring numbers aren't as good as the others, but it's nearly a given he'll be the LOOGY for the Angels on Opening Day. Jose Alvarez has given the Angels some nice work, but has options to go to the minors where he can continue developing. Scott Snodgress has been impressive, but still needs development as well. He currently sits as a dark horse. The biggest surprise in this category is Adam Wilk. It took Wilk six appearances to allow any runs, but is striking out guys left and right and with his MLB experience, could be a surprise moving forward.

Projected Opening Day LOOGY: Cesar Ramos


BULLPEN

Alvarez, Snodgress, and Wilk are listed above, and you can take away what you'd like from that. There's always room for more lefties in the bullpen. However, there are a few guys making waves, fighting for a spot in the bullpen. Cam Bedrosian, who is a top prospect for the Angels and was named the Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season has been impressive with his mid 90's fastball, and has Major League stuff that could put him in a nice spot for Opening Day. Matt Lindstrom is a make or break guy for the Angels. He'll either make the roster or go to the free agent market, opting for something else. He's been impressive thus far, and is getting back to his near All-Star talent, which should only improve with time. The Angels seem to like him, and he should be on the Opening Day roster. Fernando Salas has struggled thus far, but after the season he put together last year, and the year before, and the year before, he's just a strong mark to make it on Opening Day. Ryan Mattheus has pitched in more games than any other Angels reliever, and has been relatively good in all his appearances. The problem is that he's facing prospects and AAAA players mostly, but there's a reason he's still around, and it could mean the organization is looking at Opening Day for him.

Projected Opening Day bullpen reliever: Matt Lindstrom


BENCH

We've talked about a few guys, like Krauss, Green, Featherston, and Cron. However, there are a few other guys who have been fighting all Spring, and are still around making noise. Efren Navarro is a fan favorite to make it, but that doesn't always translate to happiness from coaches. Navarro brings a lot of good qualities, including leadership to the clubhouse, which could help give him a spot against the Mariners and Felix Hernandez on Opening Day. Another surprise was Daniel Robertson. He gives some relief for Mike Trout and other outfielders defensively and isn't going to be a liability at the plate. Robertson won't steal a spot from Collin Cowgill, but he could somehow find a way to bring added depth to the outfield.

Projected Opening Day bench players: Carlos Perez, Collin Cowgill, Taylor Featherston, Josh Rutledge, Marc Krauss


FIFTH STARTER

With Garrett Richards gone, there's a hole that needs to be filled in the rotation. The Angels top prospect, Andrew Heaney, has found some unlucky starts, and has been battered around at times, which may mean he needs some development. However, the talent is there, and the Angels spent a high load to gain him (Howie Kendrick). Heaney is currently the favorite to take that last spot in the rotation. Jose Alvarez has been mentioned a few times, and is a dark horse in this category. Nick Tropeano is another top prospect that was acquired over the off-season, but has really been hit hard in all his outings this Spring. It's more and more likely he'll take over an "ace" spot in Triple-A Salt Lake for the Angels. The shocker has been Drew Rucinski. After a stellar year in Double-A and cup of coffee in the Majors last season, he's showing the best performances in Spring for any of the fifth starter candidates. Rucinski is looking to take over the "Matt Shoemaker story" role for undrafted free agents who could be a surprise for the 2015 season.

Project Opening Day fifth rotation man: Drew Rucinski



After everything listed above, here is our final estimate with a () left in Spring Training, here is our final take on those who will be on the Opening Day roster;


C - Chris Iannetta
C - Carlos Perez
1B - Albert Pujols
2B - Johnny Giavotella
3B - David Freese
SS - Erick Aybar
LF - Matt Joyce
CF - Mike Trout
RF - Kole Calhoun
DH - C.J. Cron
SP - Jered Weaver
SP - Matt Shoemaker
SP - C.J. Wilson
SP - Hector Santiago
SP - Drew Rucinski
LR - Vinnie Pestano
LR - Matt Lindstrom
MR - Cesar Ramos
MR - Mike Morin
SU - Joe Smith
CL - Huston Street
BE - Collin Cowgill
BE - Taylor Featherston
BE - Josh Rutledge
BE - Marc Krauss




For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout.
Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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