Aug 30, 2009, 3:45 PM EDT
This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
Held back only by an inability to develop outfielders, the Angels kick off the final third of the rankings.
Santana and Saunders have been hurt and ineffective for much of this season, but the rotation still looks like a very nice group going forward, and the bullpen has one of the best one-two punches in the league. Depth is an issue, particularly with the futures of Shields and Wise in doubt. Troy Percival appears to be near-retirement, so he wasn’t included. Next in line for spots are Kevin Jepsen and Sean O’Sullivan.
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
RF Kendry Morales
DH Troy Glaus
CF Jim Edmonds
C Mike Napoli
LF Garret Anderson
3B Brandon Wood
1B Casey Kotchman
C Bengie Molina
2B Alberto Callaspo
INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga
OF Chris Pettit
Plenty of decisions to be made here. As mentioned previously, the Angels have pretty much stopped developing outfielders since coming up with Anderson, Edmonds, Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad. As a result, I’m sticking Morales in right field, leaving first base for Kotchman. Also, Edmonds gets the nod in center. He did hit .256/.369/.568 in 298 at-bats for the Cubs last season, and he never officially announced his retirement. He’d definitely make more sense in left than center these days, but the alternatives were Erstad, Amezaga or Reggie Willits.
If Glaus can still play the infield regularly, there’d be a lot more flexibility for the bench. Molina could catch three days a week, with Napoli seeing time at DH and Wood or Kotchman going to the bench.
Other options for the bench included Jeff Mathis, Robb Quinlan, Sean Rodriguez, Alexi Casilla, Dallas McPherson, Erstad and Willits. The way I see it, Amezaga’s versatility made him an obvious pick, and I really think Pettit would prove useful as a lefty killer. As outstanding as Morales has been this year, he’s still hit just .270/.283/.440 against southpaws.
I think it’s a fine lineup, if a bit odd. It’s certainly one that’s well equipped to deal with injuries.
Typically slow to make trades or give opportunities to youngsters, the Angels have occasionally been guilty of failing to capitalize on the wealth of talent produced by the system. Still, they’re set to go to the postseason for the sixth time in eight years and they won a World Series in 2002. If the system has hit a bit of a lull lately, it’s partly because free agent signings left the team without a true first-round pick in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The Angels, though, pursue tough signs later in the draft and continue to compete internationally. With their resources, it’s doubtful that they’ll fade from contention any year soon.
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