1.23.2013

Los Angeles Angels 2013 Depth Chart: Outfield

Over the next week I'll be assessing the Angels depth at various positions. Today, I start with the outfield. 

It is reasonably safe to say that the Angels outfield is set. Barring any pre-season injuries (knock on wood!), the Angels opening day outfield will consist of Josh Hamilton in right-field, Mike Trout in left-field and Peter Bourjos in center.

With the departure of Torii Hunter and Kendrys Morales, that shifts Mark Trumbo to the DH spot. Trumbo will likely spell Hamilton in right-field on Hamilton's off days as well as playing first when Albert Pujols needs some rest. Also available on the squad for outfield duty is Howie Kendrick who in the last three years has played left-field 25 times.

Can Kole Calhoun find a spot on the 25-man roster in 2013?

Then there is Vernon Wells who will be starting the season on the bench as a fourth outfielder. Despite trade rumors that the Phillies were interested in Wells and fan comments across the web calling for Wells to be traded, we can probably expect Vernon to be on the 25-man roster to open the season.

The main reason for Vernon Wells likelihood in staying on the Angels is the lack of depth beyond him. Despite Wells being terrible the past two seasons, he's still proven the ability to hit major league pitching to some degree and knock some of those hits out of the park. If Wells was blocking the arrival of some young phenom in triple-A, then perhaps rumors of a Wells trade or his release could be taken a little bit more seriously. But as I mentioned previous on this blog, whatever the Angels receive in return for Wells would be minimal and they would almost certainty have to pay out the rest of his contract anyway.

Plus, the possible candidates to replace Wells on the bench is Kole Calhoun, Travis Witherspoon, and Scott Cousins. Calhoun seems to be the favorite (and Angels fan favorite) for the fourth outfielder gig if Wells was traded/released despite not seeming to possess the tools of an everyday major leaguer (more on Calhoun via John Sickels at Minor League Ball). He could be a pleasant surprise off the bench but the jury is still out.

Beyond that, the Angels outfield selection is limited. Witherspoon and Scott Cousins are currently on the 40-man roster and would likely follow Calhoun if major injuries were to befall the Halos. Cousins is a major league journeyman with a career OPS+ of 41.  While Witherspoon has a lot of tools but hasn't been able to put it all together. At 24, he hit .202/.286/.351 in double-A over a 54 game span. One's expectations should be extremely tempered with these two. Beyond that, Matt Long is a sleeper for seeing some big league time but since he still remains off the 40-man roster, he's a long-shot (pun-intended).

With Bourjos and Trout both young and healthy, the only concern in the outfield position is the injury-prone Josh Hamilton. While Hamilton did play 148 games last year, it's reasonable to suspect that he might miss some playing time in 2013. Which might force Scioscia's hand to play Vernon Wells more than Angels fans would probably like to see.

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