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LA Angels positional and/or personal Spring Training battles: Position Players

Well, I reviewed the position and personal battles for every pitcher in Angels training camp, so I guess I should do the batters too, right? I really wish I had realized how many freaking people were in camp before I decided to do this, but I made my bed, so I guess I have to lie in it. This is going to take awhile though, so go ahead and run out for a cup of coffee. It's cool, I'll wait.

Ready now? OK, let's do it.

Mike Trout: Personal – Avoid kryptonite. That is all.

Erick Aybar: Positional – His starting gig is obviously secure, but the wildly overrated debate for who should bat in the two-hole rages on and a strong spring could win him the job because it makes so much sense for Scioscia to base his decision off of a few exhibition games rather than a career history of posting below average on-base percentages.

Albert Pujols: Personal – Whatever he did for his training camp regimen last year, he should do the opposite.

Josh Hamilton: Personal – For Josh, this spring will be all about getting acclimated to a new clubhouse and establishing whatever routines he needs to to get comfortable in his new digs. Whatever he needs to do to get himself into a good mental place so that he doesn't get overwhelmed by the pressure of his fat new contract or whatever bizarre distractions that caused his performance to become so erratic last season.

Mark Trumbo: Personal – Trumbo has a guaranteed fill-time gig entering training camp for the first time. There is no reason for that to change so long as he doesn't do anything to suggest that he still isn't over his ugly performance in the second half last season.

Howie Kendrick: Personal – I can't say I approve of it, but I hear he has issued himself a personal challenge to lead the Cactus League in GIDPs. I like his odds.

Alberto Callaspo: Positional – Callaspo has never had more job security in his life what with his new two-year contract and Maicer Izturis signing in Toronto. But I'd like to think he is hungry for more, like say convincing Scioscia to hand him the keys to the two-hole. By the way, don't Google "hand him the keys to the two-hole" because I'm pretty sure it is a deviant sex act.

Chris Iannetta: Personal – Just don't get hurt, please. The Angels lack depth in general, but catcher is a particularly thin position for the team.

Peter Bourjos: Positional – The Angels swear up and down that Bourjos is their starting center fielder, but given how quickly they pulled the plug on him, I can't shake the feeling that a poor spring could greatly weaken his job security.

Vernon Wells: Positional/Personal – Given what I just said about Bourjos, I suppose you could argue he is fighting for playing time, but I think Wells is now firmly in Jeff Mathis territory where every second of his baseball life is now a fight to garner some shred of respect and dignity. In fact, I think the ghost of Mathis is a big reason that Wells gets a harder time than he probably should, especially since Vernon has been nothing but an ideal clubhouse citizen despite all the venom that has been spit at him by the fans. Still, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go on a seven-state killing spree if he somehow works his way back into a time share situation with Bourjos or Trumbo.

Andrew Romine: Positional – With his defensive prowess, speed and ability to work a count, Romine should be the clear favorite for the reserve middle infielder gig. All he needs to do is just not get the bat knocked out of his hand in the spring and he should be all set.

Hank Conger: Positional/Personal – His spring should be all about securing the back-up catcher job and possibly even stealing a few regular ABs from Iannetta, but it seems like he has inherited the Mike Napoli mantle of the offensive catcher that Scioscia rides overly hard because of his defensive shortcomings. That isn't to say that his defensive problems aren't real, just that Hank needs to work to improve them without letting Sosh get in his head the way Napoli did.

Kole Calhoun: Positional – On one hand, Calhoun is at a disadvantage in the race for the final bench spot because he is strictly an outfielder and the Angels already have plenty of those. However, he is also the only contender with a viable left-handed bat to give the thin bench a little depth and offensive versatility.

John Hester: Positional/Personal – If Mike Scioscia really has an irrational distrust of Conger, Hester has a real shot at the back-up catcher job, otherwise his mission will be to somehow continue convincing Scioscia that he is a competent defensive catcher even though he hasn't thrown out a basestealer since the Clinton administration.

Tommy Field: Positional – Out of all the guys on the 40-man roster, Field seems to be the most likely to get DFA'd seeing how the Twins didn't even want him and they might have one of the worst middle infield situations in the entire league.

Luis Jimenez: Positional – It isn't out of the question that he could win a bench spot, but it isn't very likely either. A more realistic goal would be to convince the organization that he can be a successful big leaguer even though he is an extremely freeswinger.

Scott Cousins: Positional/Personal – He's got a slim chance at winning the final bench spot, but the real challenge for Cousins will be convincing the Angels to keep him around in the minors rather than becoming the fifth team to waive him since October.

Travis Witherspoon: Personal – So many tools but so raw. Spoon isn't making the roster. He might even still be too far from being polished enough to earn a September call-up. There is really nothing for him to do in camp other than soak up as much knowledge as possible from all the veterans in camp.

Jett Bandy: Personal – I suppose he's in camp to try and impress the Angels brass, but I'm just happy to have him around so I can continue to get inspiration for my fan fiction film noir movie, Jett Bandy: Private Eye and the Mystery of the Nine Caskets. I really think it has potential to be a blockbuster!

Luke Carlin: Personal – Who are we kidding? He's nothing but an organizational seatfiller at this point.

Carlos Ramirez: Positional – We talked in our prospect countdown about how erratic Ramirez has been with the bat, but he is still the most accomplished defensive catcher in the system and if he can earn Scioscia's blessing in camp, Ramirez could put himself in line to be the first catcher called up in the event of injury.

Zach Wright: Personal – Like any catcher in Angels camp, his sole focus should be on appeasing the great and mighty Scioscia.

Kaleb Cowart: Personal – Cowart is mostly in camp to be put on display for the fans since he is far and away the team's best prospect, but one that is still probably two years away from making an Opening Day roster.

Bill Hall: PositionalA late addition to the spring roster, Hall quickly became the favorite for the final spot on the Opening Day bench almost entirely due to his ability to play any spot on the field but catcher. He's got some pop and a little bit of speed, so he has offensive value too. Really the only thing that would cost him a job is if he strikes out at an absurd rate in the spring, which is hardly out of the question.

Brendan Harris: Positional – Harris is still trading off of the productive season and a half he had at the fish during the mid-2000's. It helps that he can also play every infield position. It doesn't help that he can't play any of them particularly well, but he could be a dark horse for a bench job if Hall and/or Romine fall on their face.

Luis Rodriguez: Positional – He is in the same position in camp as Harris only Rodriguez isn't nearly the hitter Harris is but a better fielder, though not significantly so.

Eric Stamets: Personal – One of a few guys from the 2012 draft class, he's just hear to get some experience.

Taylor Lindsey: Personal – He's not in a place to compete for big league playing time this season, but he has a chance to impress the coaching staff and that's important.

Alex Yarbrough: Personal – The reason it is important is because this guy is in camp too. At some point in the next three years, the Angels are going to have to pick a new "second baseman of the future" and it is going to be between Lindsey and Yarbrough. Like I said, this battle will take years to declare a winner, but it never hurts to get a leg up early.

Efren Navarro: Personal – So continues Navarro's quest to convince the organization that a defensive specialist first baseman somehow has value.

Randal Grichuk: Personal – He has one mission only: play well enough to get people to stop referring to him as "The Guy Picked One Spot Before Mike Trout."

Trent Oeltjen: Personal – His real battle will be developing a competent American accent so that Scioscia never finds out that he is Australian since we all know that Scioscia has some bizarre unspoken need to bury any and all Aussies down the depth chart.

J.B. Shuck: Personal – He'll be battling Jett Bandy for the best name in camp.

Matt Young: Personal – If anything, the journeyman minor leaguer is auditioning for a coaching gig more so than a cushier assignment in the minors.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.

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