The Los Angeles Angels made two roster moves on Tuesday. First, they selected the contract of Junior Guerra after signing him as a non-roster invitee in January, all but guaranteeing he’ll make the 26-man roster.
Second, they optioned Brandon Marsh to the Minor Leagues. Marsh was unlikely to make the final roster and was dealing with an ongoing shoulder injury, making this a relatively expected move.
With both of these moves official and out of the way, the Angels Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape. Here, we’ll try to predict which 26 players are going to be with the team when they take on the Chicago White Sox on April 1, position by position.
Starting Pitchers (6)
The Angels appear — for the time being — committed to a six-man rotation given the team’s lack of a true ace. Giving the entire rotation one extra day off per week should help with the injuries that have plagued Angels starting pitchers. It will also give Ohtani more chances to hit as he tries to return to two-way form after winning Rookie of the Year in 2018.
Relief Pitchers (8)
The Angels bullpen is one of the biggest question marks in terms of who will actually be on the roster. Iglesias, Buttrey, and Mayers seem to be the only locks at this point, leaving five spots up for grabs.
Guerra appears as though he will make it given Tuesday’s decision. The last four were especially tough, but the picks ended up being Claudio, Faria, Pena, and Sandoval to give the Halos a good mix of right and left-handers.
Jaime Barria would be the ninth choice, replacing either Faria or Sandoval. He could also fill in for Pena should he start the season on the injured list. He is currently dealing with an ongoing hamstring issue.
With Ohtani serving as a designated hitter when he’s not pitching, the Angels really only need six players in the infield. Here, Pujols will serve as the primary DH, while swapping in and out of first base with Walsh. Walsh is coming off a career year in 2020, meaning he’ll be the team’s primary first baseman.
Fletcher, Iglesias, and Rendon will be second base, shortstop, and third base respectively. While those three should be playing on a regular basis, Barreto will serve as the back-up infielder, allowing those three to take days off when needed. Luis Rengifo could be subbed in for Barreto, but there has been no conclusion one way or another publicly.
While there may be some debate between Lagares and Jon Jay, a strong Spring Training from the former makes him the more likely choice. In addition, Lagares brings better versatility with the chance to play all three outfield spots.
Other than that, the Angels outfield is set, and with a bounce back year from Upton, this could be one of the best outfielder cores in baseball thanks to Trout’s continued greatness.
The Angels catchers should be Stassi and Suzuki without much debate. Suzuki will take the role that Jason Castro played last season, and Anthony Bemboom will serve as a replacement if either of the two get injured.
As is always the case, the Angels roster will change dozens of times throughout the season as players potentially get injured, minor league players become ready for the majors, or rostered players start to slip in production.
While the 26-man roster could look very different by September, this is simply where things stand with two weeks before the season begins.
Dylan Bundy named opening day starter
The Angels top-10 Cy Young finisher from 2020 — Dylan Bundy — was named the Opening Day starter on Monday. Bundy will try to capitalize on a career year and get off to a hot start against the White Sox on April 1.