Projecting the Angels’ Opening Day Roster

Major League Baseball is nearing its return, and the Los Angeles Angels pitchers and catchers report next week, with the team’s first Spring Training game coming on February 24th. After losing Shohei Ohtani to a certain team just up the freeway, general manager, Perry Minasian has had a relatively quiet offseason. He signed a few relievers and a few depth pieces but hasn’t improved the club in a way that would allow them to be seen as contenders for the AL West or an AL Wildcard spot.

With the season almost here, we’ll take a look at how the Angels’ depth chart might shape up come Opening Day.

Projecting the Angels’ Opening Day Roster

Starting Rotation

  1. Reid Detmers
  2. Patrick Sandoval
  3. Griffin Canning
  4. Tyler Anderson
  5. Chase Silseth

Other options: Sam Bachman, Zach Plesac, Kenny Rosenberg, etc.

This is a very young rotation: Silseth is 23, Detmers is 24, and Sandoval and Canning are both 27. Now, Sandoval and Canning have probably reached their full potential at this stage in their careers, but they could be solid number 3 and number-four pitchers on a playoff team. 

Coming out of the draft, Detmers was looked at as a potential ace, and he has shown flashes of what scouts saw. (After all, he did throw a no-hitter in 2022.) The team will expect him to continue to improve in what will be just his third full season, and I expect him to be this team’s best starter.

Anderson and Silseth and solid inning-eaters and could also end up as long relief pitchers out of the bullpen depending on how the season goes. Silseth is still very young and still has room to improve, after posting a 3.96 ERA in 16 games last year.

Bullpen

  1. Closer: Carlos Estévez (or Robert Stephenson)
  2. Robert Stephenson
  3. Matt Moore
  4. José Soriano
  5. Ben Joyce
  6. José Cisnero
  7. Adam Cimber
  8. Luis Garcia

Other options: Jimmy Herget, José Suarez, Andrew Wantz, Davis Daniel, etc.

With the recent addition of Robert Stephenson, the Halos’ bullpen looks set up to be a very solid group. In 42 games with the Rays last season, Stephenson posted a stellar 2.35 ERA and a 60:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Angels have said Carlos Estévez is still the team’s closer, but that could easily change if he falters and Stephenson pitches as expected.

Cimber, Cisnero, and Garcia are also new additions who should help revitalize a bullpen that finished with the sixth-worst ERA in the league last year. Ben Joyce is the player I’m most excited to see out of this group. The flamethrowing righty only pitched ten innings last year after an elbow injury sidelined him in June. I would assume the Angels will bring him along slowly in an effort to protect his arm, but if he can regain his velocity and rein in his control, he’ll be a great setup man.

Lineup

C: Logan O’Hoppe

1B: Nolan Schanuel

2B: Luis Rengifo

3B: Anthony Rendon

SS: Zach Neto

LF: Taylor Ward

CF: Mike Trout

RF: Mickey Moniak

DH: Brandon Drury

Bench: Matt Thaiss, Kyren Paris, Aaron Hicks, Jo Adell

Other options: Michael Stefanic, Jordyn Adams, Jake Marisnick, Miguel Sano, Hunter Dozier

For the most part, the Angels’ starting nine are set, but I’m most curious to see what they do with the logjam of outfielders that they have now. I’ve penciled in five outfielders on the roster, but teams rarely carry five because it doesn’t allow for much flexibility at other positions.

Mike Trout is a lock to be on the team, and it appears that the Angels are still committed to playing him in center. But with the signing of Aaron Hicks, Jo Adell’s future becomes even murkier than it already was. Last year, Moniak and Ward seemed to cement themselves as the starters at the corner spots, with Jo Adell filling in when needed. But Adell has failed to develop in his four years in the big leagues, and Hicks’ versatility (he can play all three OF spots) and his success for the Orioles last season, will probably push Adell out of that reserve role.

I can’t see a scenario where Minasian rosters five outfielders for very long, if at all, and Adell can’t be sent to the minors because he is out of minor-league options. So, it would make sense for Adell to be traded, given his age and his pedigree as a former top prospect. The team could elect to move Taylor Ward, although he seems unlikely to fetch any significant return. One way or another, the signing of Hicks will probably force some turnover in the Angels’ outfield.

Elsewhere, the lineup looks mostly the same, except for the gaping hole at DH, but Angels fans don’t need to hear any more about that. There are a lot of promising youth here: Neto, Schanuel, O’Hoppe, and Rengifo, and they’ll be counted on to make strides in their development this season. Rengifo isn’t exactly young in terms of service time, but he’s only 26 and has exceeded expectations in each of the last two years. Neto, Schanuel, and O’Hoppe are all still growing into the players the front office and fans hope they can be, and should provide some hope to this battered team.

Season Outlook

A lot can change between now and Opening Day and this roster will change a lot by the time the season ends in September. As currently constructed, the Angels would need a lot of things to fall their way if they wanted to sneak into the playoffs. But a MLB season is long and a lot can happen. For now, it’s best to focus on the positives and the young players who will look to bring life to a fanbase that is tired of finishing in 4th place in the AL West.

Watch for players like Reid Detmers, Zach Neto, and Logan O’Hoppe to improve on last year’s performances and give the veteran Mike Trout some help in his quest for the playoffs.

Main Image: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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