How Deep Is The Swiss Army Team?

Good teams win lots of games and compete for playoff spots. Really good teams make the playoffs. Bad teams miss them and blame injuries.

Year after year the Angels have sold their fans that injuries have derailed the team. Sales pitches are better than the truth, which is that a complete lack of organizational depth has been the culprit.

Low on minor league depth but with high fan expectations, Angels GM Perry Minasian set out to increase the depth throughout the roster this off season.

He’s built what I’m terming the Swiss Army team. Six of the thirteen position players on this years team have played multiple positions at the MLB level and can be expected to play multiple positions this year.

So while Perry wasn’t able to magically build a AAA team and sign a backup for every position, he was able to sign a few versatile guys, add them to the versatile guys he already had, and give injury protection around the diamond. At least a little.

The difference in the depth chart compared to 2022 is quite notable, particularly when you look at the sheer number of players the Angels suited up (64) and how many of them were below par. A good percentage of the turnover was due to ineffective play, not injury.

With a roster full of multi position players, Perry Minasian hopes he’s built enough depth to survive the inevitable injuries and underperformance and still have a shot at postseason play. Has he done enough?

Let’s start on the grass. Last year the Angels used a full baker’s dozen players in left field. Jo Adell was the Opening Day left fielder but was replaced by journeyman Jose Rojas before the first series was over. It took two bad games for left field to become a black hole.

The black hole in left was offset to a degree by the outrageous start by Taylor Ward. Once he hit the IL, the Angels were sunk on the grass.

Insert Hunter Renfroe as the new right fielder, pushing Taylor Ward to left. This immediately gives the Angels three legit MLB caliber players on the grass. Brett Phillips is the speedy glove first/no bat fourth outfielder (although he is working with a swing guru).

The outfield depth likely begins with Brandon Drury. While not a glove you’d want out there every day, he has enough experience in the corners to cover the occasional day off for Ward or Renfroe and is coming off consecutive seasons of well above average offense. And with Phillips in tow, a better defensive alignment is always possible late in games.

Beyond Drury, both David Fletcher and Gio Urshela have a bit of experience in the outfield. Meanwhile Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak will be in Salt Lake preparing to cover for injury long enough to warrant an IL stint.

In short, last year’s starter in left is no better than third on the depth chart now. That’s a remarkable turnaround. A long absence from Trout would still be devastating, but there is coverage in the corners for one injury at a time. Possibly two depending on how Adell and Moniak perform.

Not only was the outfield a revolving door of underperformance, the infield was inept with the bat last year. What changes now?

Gio Urshela’s 3.1 WAR would’ve made him one of the better Angels regulars last year yet he doesn’t have a locked in position on the 2023 squad. Obviously he’s Anthony Rendon insurance, but we can also expect to see him at first base against lefties with shortstop and left field remote but not too remote possibilities.

Hopefully Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh return to health and mashing the ball. But hope is not a plan, as the Angels recent losing seasons prove.

If everyone is healthy, Rendon anchors third, Walsh covers first, and manager Phil Nevin will mix and match David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Gio Urshela, and Brandon Drury. This will give guys routine rest and allow for Nevin to play favorable matchups.

But when the inevitable injury happens, Drury and Urshela combine to provide coverage everywhere on the infield. Urshela is not an ideal shortstop but could fill in for a few games. It would likely take injuries to both David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo for this to happen, but the production drop would not be severe.

That’s probably a nice way of saying the Angels don’t have a real shortstop so one injury won’t lead to a big drop off in production at that position. If the Opening Day shortstop gets hurt, Drury or Urshela covers second and the healthy one of Fletcher or Rengifo takes short.

If two infielders are out, then Drury and Urshela both assume starting roles. However, that leaves only Phillips and the AAA guys as depth on the grass.

Really, this is a long winded exercise to say the Angels appear to have enough depth to competently cover two infield injuries or one infield and one outfield injury simultaneously with MLB caliber talent. Which is not a ton of depth, but substantially more than we’ve seen in quite some time.

Obviously there isn’t enough depth to cover Trout and Ohtani being out at the same time or for any extended amounts of time. Really, I don’t think any club could thrive when down their two best players, but this one really can’t. And barring a resurgence from Adell or Moniak, center field is an area that is especially thin.

However, if we see an infield of Urshela, Fletcher, Rengifo, Walsh with Drury, Trout, Renfroe on the grass that’s still one that can win plenty of games.

The Angels can cover two more injuries this year than they could last year. We get any more injuries than two, however, and it gets pretty dicey pretty quickly.

Yes, we need to hope for good news on the health front. But unlike other years, hope is not the extent of our plan.

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2pints
Trusted Member
22 days ago

I have a funny feeling that Neto will be on fire in AA and end up getting a call up before the calendar hits July, solving the SS problem from within for the next decade.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  2pints

Soto or Neto…. someone with a name ending in O will probably be fairly useful fairly soon.

admkir
Trusted Member
22 days ago

Good write up Jeff, it was good seeing the position side if the roster addressed. As it was noted in the comments we see that as is Squid and Soto are not part of the opening day roster and the comment where you forgot Walsh as OF depth.
One item I am interested in is catching as we are locked in with Stassi, it seems that everyone believes O’Hoppe will be the back-up, The question here is where does that leave Thaiss who is out of options? will that place him as back-up with O’Hoppe at AAA or do we see a trade in the foreseeable future.

Bob_K
Member
21 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Last year, we needed 4-5 catchers to get through the season. Stassi, Thaiss, O’Hoppe & Wallach make 4. If we trade Thaiss, do we go with the remaining 3 for the season? Will Quero be ready? Or, do we go find another AAAA catcher to stash in SLC?

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago

BTW, hours after the Twins signed Correa a story was ran “What if the Mets don’t sign Correa” fresh off the line.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

It means Cohen is sitting in a dark room binging on ice cream and wine while watching Greys Anatomy.

Poor guy.

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

You gotta feel for a guy that has a choice of around 23 dark rooms in his mansion to sulk in. I really feel for the guy.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago

Nice write up, Jeff.

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Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I’m right there with you. Every year I promise not to, and every year it’s inevitable

I’m always convinced we can go all the way.

Fansince1971
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

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Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

What about fool me 10+ times?

max
Trusted Member
max
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

lol, They got me every spring until, 2022. Then 27-14, then 0-14

Cowboy26
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  max

That got me at 6-14

Fansince1971
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

Hey – it’s fun to be optimistic. I get it! I was the first me predicting a 5 WAR season for Rendon last off season. The combination of multiple seasons of injuries (heck Trout has only played a season of games in 3 years) and disappointment has me deciding to just wait and watch. Not optimistic. Not pessimistic. The games will be played and we will see.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

Trout 2022 (119 games), 2021 (36 games), 2020 (53 games (of a total of 60 that year)).

119 + 36 = 155, which is pretty much a full season. 53/60 is pretty much a full season (for that year).

Yes, it sucks Trout has been hurt, but no need to overstate it. He was still a 6+ WAR player last year finishing in top 10 in the AL MVP race.

Fansince1971
Legend
22 days ago

Okay. Let’s just look at ‘21 and ‘22 and leave out the Covid shortened season. Healthy, in 2 regular seasons, he would have played around 300 games. Instead he played in 150 or 50%.

My point was never about HOW he played in those 50%. It was about how his injury history (and that of other players like Rendon) over that time has played a role in the overall disappointment leading to a wait-and-see approach rather than optimism.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
22 days ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

Yes, he played a season of games over two years, rather than three. That was my whole point.

Fansince1971
Legend
22 days ago

Totally not the focus of my posting but sure!

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Fansince1971

Plus, games will be awesome. It’s baseball for gah sake. It’ll be fun, why stress about it, much less try to force everyone else to stress about it?

Fansince1971
Legend
22 days ago

I’m not stressed. Completely the opposite. I’m disengaged. You are obviously welcome to be as engaged or disengaged as you’d like. What I say or feel is irrelevant on that.

Last edited 22 days ago by Fansince1971
gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Fansince1971

That’s what I’m saying. Why stress? Even more, why make other people stress? Baseball’s gonna baseball.

Fansince1971
Legend
22 days ago

I have no intention of making anybody stress I am just stating my opinion .

The bigger question is why people would stress out about baseball and their team when there are so many more important things in the world to be concerned about. As you say, baseball is fun and it’s just a pastime. My life doesn’t meaningfully change whether the team wins or loses.

I have usually been optimistic as a rule. My perspective was changed a bit and I’m just stating that opinion just like others, including you, state their opinion. It doesn’t mean other people can’t be optimistic or pessimistic or whatever. I don’t expect people to agree with me and I have no intention of influencing anybody.

I could be annoyed by optimism. I could be annoyed by pessimism. There is plenty to be annoyed about if you read through the comments on the site. None of it bothers me.

I’m just gonna take it as I’m going to take it this year. At this point, I’m just happy that they’ll be something to watch on television.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

That’s cause you’re human…. and not useless.

We’re built to look at a pile of stuff and figure out “How can this pile of stuff do something that can make me happy?” No. That doesn’t make us foolish. It’s what has given us pretty much all the things that make us happy. And yes, we understand that said pile may not actually do the stuff that will make us happy.

If humanimals only did things with piles of stuff when they could be 100% sure it will give them the result they want and said result will make them happy they would never do anything and get increasingly miserable waiting for all the prerequisites for enjoyment to arrive before even trying to try to be happy.

The ancient Greeks had a word for these people. Bitch.

red floyd
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

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Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  red floyd

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Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago

Just to let you guys know, they found classified documents in my office too. All the cool kids are doing it.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

Now, I know you’re not trying to discuss politics on CtPG.

No one is that stupid, right?

DowningDude
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

He’s talking about the Carlos Correia medical documents

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  DowningDude

yes, has has an unborn twin.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

He absorbed his twin in the womb?

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

happens more frequently that people think, i know I watched ER and St. Elsewhere like every week for months.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

So maybe the issue isn’t with his ankle, it’s his twin. Would explain some things! 😂

Cowboy26
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

I’m confused so the plate is really his unabsorbed twin?

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Nature is truly beautiful, isn’t it?

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Yes, that’s why he hits like two Halo SS’s averages added together.

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Super Member
Reply to  Angelz4ever

All I need to replace Ryan is have two 8-7 pitchers.”

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  DowningDude

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Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

😀

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Mia

I under handed that to you Mia and you assumed the worse of me-Now i need to go back to that therapist.

Mia
Legend
Mia
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

With what’s currently in the news, idk how else you could take it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

Hope is pretty much always the plan.

Just about every team, including the friggin Doyers, are HOPING for a bunch of stuff to go right for multiple players and nothing to go wrong for multiple players.

If we have solid health and a couple arms and position players suddenly squeeze off above average seasons we will be a very good team. If not, we won’t.

I think the key is to be as negative as possible. Even if the team starts hot, find things to dislike and ESPECIALLY look for things you can wish would stop working until they do. Just talk shit to this bowl of rice till it rots before our very eyes. That’s how real baseball mans does it. Even if the team starts out 20-0 I bet we can generate enough piss to drown them into a 25 game losing streak this year. Go team!

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend

I will not be fooled again. I won’t believe this team can make the play offs until they make the play offs. Then MAYBE I will believe they can make the play offs. Once I thought we’d make the play offs and we didn’t. I’m pretty sure my dog understood what I was hoping for, and that I was wrong. I’m pretty sure he’s looked at me with less respect and more pity ever since.

I hate my dog. I will never look foolish in front of him again. Arte better get out there and buy me a champion so I can tell that mutt to stuff it.

RexFregosi
Super Member
23 days ago

Walsh/Drury could also be Walsh in of and Drury at 1b

My own personal winter of discontent is SS. Now Correa is gone, praying for Neto and Soto to step up. I’d just rather see a big glove there first so I’d keep Rengifo and Fletch at 2b.

Without the shift maybe the answer is Squid if everyone hits.

Nice roll up Jeff. Depth definitely MUCH improved.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

You forgot the “break glass if needed” emergency option that will really piss everyone off…. Squid can play CF if our desperation gets desperate.

Cowboy26
Legend
23 days ago

No room at the inn for the Squid to start the season . The bench will consist of Rengifo, Gio , Stassi & Phillips.

That means Soto, Squid, Moniak & Adell will be starting the new season at the great Salt Lake.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

Just to be clear, does this mean you have Drury in at 2B/SS along with Fletch?

FungoAle
Super Member
23 days ago
Reply to  RexFregosi

After last year, it would be organizational malpractice to begin 2023 w/o a steady SS. Urshela, no. Drury, no. Rengifo is a no or there would have already gave him the job. Soto, maybe. Neto is a year out if he even stays at SS.

Short is a key position and not a tuckaway spot like 2nd or RF. With the depth in the infield, make a trade. I’d move Fletcher to be honest and stick Drury at 2nd for 162 games. A new SS can come in and play second too so you gain back varaibility.

I’m still holding out for a trade. After Aybar and Simba for so long, Halos kind of crapped the bed. Iglesias was not horrible with The Machine not digging out his throws but Perry screwed him by relasing him 1 day after Aug 31 when rosters are frozen for the playoffs.

Need new GM.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  FungoAle

Hi. I’m reality.

You can slather all the drama you want on this, but I’m just gonna say no to pretty much every word of it. You will likely get none of the things you ask for by opening day and yet the Angels will most likely play on opening day. And everything will be OK.

Except maybe you. You might get one of those weird red spots on your eyeball.

FungoAle
Super Member
23 days ago

Hey Reality,

Wanna play a game of pickleball?

Pyle O’Crap

Senator_John_Blutarsky
Super Member
Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

We developed Segura, so that’s one.

Cowboy26
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

Who hasn’t played shortstop in 4 years.

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Cowboy26

But, you’re saying we developed a SS…….

Cowboy26
Legend
23 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

We developed Fletcher too

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

MLB ball players tend to be fairly talented. While I don’t see anything about Rengifo physically that screams good shortstop I also don’t see anything that will completely negate his playing there. Like a totally weak arm, or weighing 270 Lbs.

He is, indeed 26. He is a real live MLB ball player. If he trains in the off season, and then they work him at SS for a month in ST, I’m not gonna be gob smacked if it turns out he’s a middle of the road SS defensively.

Angelz4ever
Trusted Member
23 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

By good i infer you mean also able to hit. trust me, there are many pick-it all day SSs in MiLB. The problem is they gotta use a bat also (Up jumps the Devil!)….

Last edited 23 days ago by Angelz4ever
FungoAle
Super Member
22 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Just offering up, the Angels don’t seem to want to run Fletcher and Rengifo out at SS. They recognize what we all do, limited range and arm. I don’t think paying through the nose is necessarily needed.Trading for Renfroe was pretty good acquistion, cheap, a true OF, can field the position and has some pop. Did not cost us much.

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