The Four Angels Players with the Most at Stake This Spring

Spring Training can be a make-or-break time of year for so many players. Some veterans are trying to play well enough to stick around, and some young players are looking to break into the big leagues for the first time. Not many people expect the Los Angeles Angels to be competitive this season, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have intriguing players up and down their roster.

Here are a few players with the most at stake this spring as exhibition games begin this week.

Los Angeles Angels With the Most at Stake

4. Kyren Paris, IF

Paris, who is just 22, made his MLB debut for the Halos in 2023 and played in 15 games before an injury ended his season. In 46 plate appearances, he had four hits and struck out 17 times, but it was his first introduction to MLB pitching and shouldn’t be read into too much.

But this year, Paris has a chance to make the team right out of the gate as a backup middle infielder. He is the Angels’ best middle infield prospect and can be a decent defender at both second base and shortstop (and can play the outfield in a pinch). The Angels have other options for a utility player, but if Paris hits enough during the spring, he could easily find himself on Los Angeles’ roster.

3. Michael Stefanic, IF

Much like Paris, Stefanic is in contention to make the Opening Day roster as a backup middle infielder. However, at 27, he is five years older than Paris and doesn’t have the same positional versatility as Paris. Stefanic is primarily a second baseman, which could hurt his chances of making the squad if the Angels want someone who also fits well at shortstop.

But Stefanic has the more proven bat than Paris does: in 25 games with the Halos last year, he slashed .290/.380/.355. He also raked during his time in the minors last year when he hit .365/.463/.467 with 20 doubles and 66 walks in 99 games. More than that, he improved his MLB production between 2022 and 2023, posting a higher average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and line drive percentage while cutting down on his ground ball percentage. Stefanic will almost certainly provide a solid bat off the bench, so his defense will be the skill to track this Spring Training.

2. José Suarez, LHP

Suarez is 26 years old and had a season to forget in 2023. He dealt with injuries and pitched just 33.2 innings, posting an 8.29 ERA, striking out 28 batters, and surrendering 10 home runs. But he has shown himself to be a capable major-league pitcher in the past: in both 2021 and 2022, he had a sub-four ERA and was reliable as both a reliever and a starter.

But Suarez is out of Minor League options and would need to pass through waivers if he is not on the Opening Day roster. His best chance of making the roster will be as a long reliever because the Angels don’t have an obvious candidate for that position yet. But with all of the additions to the bullpen this offseason, Suarez has his work cut out for him over the next month.

1. Jo Adell, OF

Much has been written about Adell recently and for good reason. The 24-year-old former top prospect is now out of Minor League options and is competing to be the team’s fourth outfielder with offseason addition, Aaron Hicks. The team could carry five outfielders to begin the season, but that likely wouldn’t continue for the whole season.

If Adell has a rocky spring, he could be traded to another club because it would allow LA to receive something in return as opposed to Adell being claimed through waivers. In four years with the Angels, Adell has played in 178 games with a batting average of .214, a strikeout percentage of 35.4, and a walk percentage of 4.9. Adell must show marked improvement in every facet of his game if he wants to stick with the Angels in 2024 and beyond.

Main Image:  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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