Angels Secure Best Record In Cactus League For Second Straight Season
MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels
Mar 27, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates a victory with center fielder Brett Phillips (8) after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday marked the final matchup of Spring Training after the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-5 at Angel Stadium.

Although the final standings ultimately mean nothing, the Angels secured the top spot in Cactus League standings with an 18-11 record. They scored 171 runs and 139 runs allowed, the fourth fewest in league play.

This is their first full season under manager Phil Nevin, but he’s continuing a trend from last year.

Anthony Rendon enjoyed one of the best Spring Training runs in his big league career, racking up a 1.367 on-base plus slugging with two homers and nine runs batted in. The veteran third baseman dazzled over 15 games, a welcomed sight for Angels fans hoping to see a bit more consistency and availability from him in year four with the club.

Rendon’s .561 on-base percentage was the highest on the club with at least 10 games played, and only striking out six times in camp is another box to check that he’s feeling back to his old self.

Angels infielder Luis Rengifo was also a Spring Training standout, posting a 1.236 OPS with four homers and seven RBI, a follow-up to a career offensive season in 2022 when he provided a much-needed spark for Nevin’s offense that dealt with widespread uncertainty. The 26-year-old posted a 103 wRC+ in 2022, with 17 homers.

Jared Walsh is another impressive performer in camp, and after season-ending shoulder surgery, his 1.198 OPS with two homers and six RBI were amongst the most surprising on the club. Walsh will, unfortunately, begin the regular season on the injured list due to ongoing struggles with headaches and insomnia for the past few weeks.

However, Walsh feels like a subtle key piece for an Angels lineup that although they have some solid depth, having to dip into it early on isn’t ideal.

Griffin Canning made his return to game action this spring after suffering a stress fracture during the 2021 season which kept him out for nearly two years. The right-hander posted a 1.32 ERA across four starts (13.2 innings) this spring, holding opposing hitters to a .220 batting average.

Canning is currently dealing with a groin injury that won’t require a stint on the injured list, but it’s worth monitoring because of the Angels’ preference to run a six-man rotation.

Angels Spring Training and the upcoming season

The Angels having a wildly productive Spring Training on all fronts bodes well for projective thoughts about the regular season and perhaps it provides a bit of cautious, yet earned optimism for general manager Perry Minasian. The roster he’s constructed in terms of young starting pitching, veteran bats, and upside bullpen arms, is shaping up to be a solid group.

A difficult hurdle for the club will be playing in the American League West with the Seattle Mariners and defending World Champion Houston Astros. Minasian will certainly evaluate the roster at the halfway mark, and make decisions based on their standing, but in a walk year for Shohei Ohtani and high hopes, the organization will likely be all-in for now and the future.

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