With pitchers and catchers close to reporting to Goodyear, Ariz., it’s never too early to look ahead at who the Reds will be facing in the 2016 season.
Los Angeles Angels(85-77, 3rd in AL West, 3GB)
Key Additions: Jefry Marte, Al Aburquerque, Daniel Nava, Yunel Escobar, Craig Gentry, Geovany Soto, Cliff Pennington, Andrelton Simmons
Key Departures:Chris Iannetta, Erick Aybar, Matt Joyce, David Freese, Mat Latos,David DeJesus, Shane Victorino, David Murphy
Reds Dates: @LA Aug. 29-31
In a leauge that is quick to cut ties with their manaer when expectations are not met, Mike Scioscia is a rare breed, now entering his 17th season. Scioscia is the only skipper in Angels history to lead them to a World Series title, but that was in 2002 and he didn’t have perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout patrolling his outfield. Last season the Angels came up just short as they jockeyed back and forth with the Astros in the AL West before the Texas Rangers came on strong in the second to bump both teams out of the top spot, while the Astros claimed the Wild Card.
The season wasted another prime effort from Trout who delivered 41 homers with 90 RBI all while hitting .299. He also led the team in doubles (32), OBP (.402), runs (104), triples (6), walks (92) and hits (172). The only major category he didn’t lead the team in was RBI and that came from a resurgent Albert Pujols, who had 40 homers and drove in 95. It was his first 40 home run season as an Angel and his first since he did it with St. Louis in 2010.
With the disappointing finish to last season, Trout and Pujols will be just a few of the familiar faces in the staring lineup along with Gold Glove outfielder Kole Calhoun, and second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Carlos Perez goes from back-up to starting catcher, C.J. Cron is expected to take more time at either first or the DH spot, while Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons arrived via trade to shore up the left side of the infield. It will be former Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava who will be tasked with playing alongside defensive stalwarts Trout and Calhoun.
The pitching staff for better or worse remains the same in 2016. Garrett Richards led the team in wins (15) and strikeouts (176) to clearly define himself as the staff ace over aging veterans C.J Wilson (8-8, 3.89 ERA) and Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.64 ERA). Hector Santiago, who led the team with a 3.59 ERA, earned his first All-Star appearance when he was chosen as an alternate last season. The back end of the bullpen is also staying the same with Joe Smith (32 holds) setting up Huston Street (40 saves). If Street can post another 40 save season, then he’ll eclipse the 350 mark for his career, while 43 saves would put him in a tie with former Angels closer Troy Percival for tenth all-time.
Here’s a complete look at what the Angels are expected to start with, although it will look vastly different when the Reds make the trip out west in late August.
Starting Rotation (as of 2/13/16, stats from 2015)
1. Garrett Richards (15-12, 3.65 ERA, 176 Ks)
2. C.J. Wilson (8-8, 3.89 ERA, 110 Ks)
3. Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.64 ERA, 90 Ks)
4. Andrew Heaney (6-4, 3.49 ERA, 78 Ks)
5. Matt Shoemaker (7-10, 4.46 ERA, 116 Ks)
Competing for spot: Hector Santiago(All-Star), Nick Tropeano, Tyler Skaggs (missed 2015 with Tommy John Surgery)
Set-up: Joe Smith (70 games played, 5-5, 3.58 ERA, 57 Ks, 32 Holds, 5 Saves)
Closer: Huston Street (62 GP, 3-3, 3.18 ERA, 57 Ks, 40 Saves)
C. Carlos Perez (86 GP, .250 avg, 4 HR, 21 RBI)
1B. Albert Pujols (157 GP, .244 avg, 40 HR, 95 RBI, All-Star)
2B. Johnny Giavotella (129 GP, .272 avg, 4 HR, 49 RBI)
3B. Yunel Escobar (139 GP, .314 avg, 9 HR, 56 RBI w/Nationals)
SS. Andrelton Simmons (147 GP, .265 avg, 4 HR, 44 RBI w/Braves)
LF. Daniel Nava (60 GP, .194 avg, HR, 10 RBI w/Red Sox & Rays)
CF. Mike Trout (159 GP, .299 avg, 41 HR, 90 RBI, All-Star Game MVP)
RF. Kole Calhoun (159 GP, .256 avg, 26 HR, 83 RBI, Gold Glove)
DH. C.J. Cron (113 GP, .262 avg, 16 HR, 51 RBI)
C. Geovany Soto (w/White Sox), Jeff Bandy
1B. Ji-Man Choi (Rule 5 Draft from Seattle)
1B/3B. Jefry Marte (w/Detroit)
3B. Kyle Kubitza, Kaleb Cowart
IF. Cliff Pennington (w/D-Backs/Blue Jays), Rey Navarro (w/Orioles)
OF. Craig Gentry (w/A’s), Todd Cunningham (w/Braves), Rafael Ortega