by Stu Matthews, Angels Nation managing editor
The Angels played their first full game of spring training at Goodyear Ballpark on Tuesday, and their first night game. And their first overly long game.
At the end, the Angels lost to the Reds and now stand with a European soccer-like record of 1-1-1 going into Wednesday.
But there was good stuff. The Halos were welcomed at Goodyear by the 100mph-plus fastball of Cincinnati Reds uber-prospect Hunter Greene coming out of the stadium lights.
Angels leadoff man David Fletcher had no problem with Greene’s heater.
In fact, after already seeing a 100mph pitch from Greene, the patient Fletcher saw a 102-mpher, and then he laced a 103-mph pitch down the right field for a single.
The 21-year-old Greene, the No. 2 draft pick in 2017 and No. 28 overall in the MLB prospect rankings by Keith Law of the Athletic, left the game after one inning with a 27.00 ERA.
Most important than Greene, the Angels got a real look at the future of their own pitching staff and on Tuesday night it looked good.
The ‘Brief Breakdown’:
Pitching: Angels fans got to see two of their best pitching prospects after Heaney, the longest-tenured member of the Angels staff and de-facto leader, turned in the longest start of the spring, going 2.1 solid innings on 36 pitches.
Heralded prospect Chris Rodriguez relieved Heaney in the third and struck out the first two batters he faced, making Cincinnati veteran Joey Votto, and Votto didn’t look good:
Chris Rodriguez making Joey Votto swing a sword! 🗡🤮 pic.twitter.com/Assxh77MNG
— Jared Tims (@Jared_Tims) March 3, 2021
Then in the fifth, the Angels’ No. 1 pitching prospect Reid Detmers got his game first action ever in an Angel uniform.
Detmers, a lefty who was the club’s No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, was clocked at 94mph while striking out one batter and walking one in a scoreless inning.
However, the Reds teed off on Brendan McCurry (0-1 this spring), plucked by new GM Perry Minasian from Houston Astros, in the seventh when folks should have been been packing their bags for home. McCurry got tagged for three runs before the Reds and Angels decided to say goodnight after deciding to get some extra work.
Hitting: Jose Iglesias came over from the Reds as new GM Perry Minasian’s first acquisition. as a “glove-first” shortstop to step into the spikes of fan favorite Andrelton Simmons — but could he hit enough, the Angels’ Twittersphere bickered?
We don’t know yet for sure, but Angels skipper Joe Maddon penciled him into the third hole in his lineup and the shortstop basically said: “Hold my beer.” Former Red Iglesias got hold of a Greene delivery in the first and ripped it out of Goodyear Stadium, a three-run shot off.
Taylor Ward, fighting for a spot as an OF/emergency catcher, also homered, taking reliever Hector Perez yard in the third for a two-run blast.
Talking points: The Angels flashed some beautiful leatherwork behind starter Andrew Heaney in the first inning. Watch this nifty double play turned behind Heaney by Fletcher and SS Iglesias:
Going to be a lot of fun watching José Iglesias and David Fletcher up the middle pic.twitter.com/Qwn8kRxCXj
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) March 3, 2021
The split-second backhanded pitch from Fletcher to Iglesias makes it look like these guys have been a middle-infield combo for years, not months.
Young second basemen out there: Watch David Fletcher and copy his form. Take a picture, make a poster.
The Angels also announced that rather than have their alternate site at Long Beach’s Blair Field, at least in April the team’s squad players will train at Inland Empire
On Wednesday: The Angels come back to Tempe Diablo Stadium to host the Texas Rangers with possible No. 1 starter Dylan Bundy taking the hill against Texas righty Jonathan Hernandez.