Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Angels

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren
3. Ervin Santana
4. Joel Pineiro
5. Scott Kazmir
6. Trevor Bell
7. Hisanori Takahashi
8. Matt Palmer
9. Tyler Chatwood
10. Anthony Ortega

The Angels have the fine top four, but I don’t expect Kazmir to bounce back and there isn’t a lot behind him. While Takahashi was signed with the idea that he’d pitch in a setup role, it’d be no surprise to see him called on as a starter early on in the season.

Bullpen
1. Fernando Rodney
2. Scott Downs
3. Hisanori Takahashi
4. Kevin Jepsen
5. Jordan Walden
6. Jason Bulger
7. Rich Thompson
8. Francisco Rodriguez
9. Michael Kohn
10. Matt Palmer
11. Trevor Bell
12. Bobby Cassevah

There are probably just four locks for the Angels pen, but the team should be hoping that Walden leapfrogs everyone and entrenches himself in the closer’s role sometime before Memorial Day. … Thompson won’t be a candidate for saves this year or any other, but he’s another right-hander with a pretty good chance of being more effective than Rodney.

Catcher
1. Jeff Mathis
2. Bobby Wilson
3. Hank Conger

First base
1. Kendry Morales
2. Mark Trumbo
3. Brandon Wood

Second base
1. Howie Kendrick
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Alberto Callaspo
4. Freddy Sandoval
5. Alexis Amarista

Third base
1. Alberto Callaspo
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Brandon Wood
4. Freddy Sandoval

Shortstop
1. Erick Aybar
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Brandon Wood
4. Andrew Romine

If Mathis gets 400 at-bats this year, he could well doom the Angels to mediocrity all by himself. Wilson is nothing special, but he’s adequate both offensively and defensively. Conger has all of the offensive upside in the group, but if it was about offense, Mike Napoli never would have been traded in the first place. … The Angels should be able to get by with Callaspo and the oft-injured Izturis at third base. I’m putting Callaspo atop the depth chart, but Izturis could well be the team’s leadoff man on Opening Day.

Left field
1. Vernon Wells
2. Bobby Abreu
3. Reggie Willits
4. Chris Pettit

Center field
1. Peter Bourjos
2. Vernon Wells
3. Reggie Willits
4. Mike Trout

Right field
1. Torii Hunter
2. Bobby Abreu
3. Chris Pettit
4. Jeremy Moore

DH
1. Bobby Abreu
2. Mark Trumbo
3. Hank Conger
4. Chris Pettit

Or the leadoff man could be Scott Podsednik, if the Angels decide to put Wells in center and send Bourjos back to Triple-A. That’d be another lateral move, though. If the Angels really think they’d be better off with that arrangement, they might as well trade Bourjos now, since Trout, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, is going to be ready in a year, if not earlier.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.