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View from the other side: Angels questions for Jessica DeLine of Halos Heaven

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays start a 3-game series against the Angels tonight in Anaheim.

The Angels are 12-17, currently sitting in 5th place in the AL West. The are 7th in the AL in runs scored per game at 4.69 (Jays are at 4.18). And they are 9th in the AL in runs allowed per game at 4.90 (Jays are at 3.79).

I sent off some questions to Jessica DeLine, manager at Halos Heaven and she was nice enough to answer them.

What is the status of Shohei Ohtani? When are you likely to see him?

Ohtani has been facing living pitching and last I heard he had logged about 20 ABs. The Angels have been notoriously secretive about these types of things and even recently implied Griffin Canning was on the radar but not too close. Perhaps the only certains are they have said he is on target for May and that he won’t play in the Blue Jays Series. It’s possible he could return as early as the Mexico Series over the weekend. Either way, he’s getting close.

Can we have a scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?

First we have Griffin Canning who is making his MLB debut. He doesn’t have a blow-you-away fastball but he does have good control and great secondary pitches. He works the zone and is a big strikeout pitcher. Felix Pena has been good and may have some of the best stuff on the pitching staff. But he gets into jams and has yet to pitch real deep this year. The Angels may use an opener with him like they did in his last start. Finally, Tyler Skaggs is perhaps the closest the Angels have to an ace right now. He throws way more pitches than he needs to in most outings but he also has some good secondary stuff that can keep hitters guessing.

Not counting Mike Trout, because I’m sure he is the answer, who is your favorite Angel to watch and why?

There are really two of them and they are Andrelton Simmons and David Fletcher. Simmons is mainly for defense of course because he’s one of the best defenders in the league. The guy is a wizard and fun to watch field unless you are the opposing team. When it comes to Fletcher, he is undersized and perhaps underappreciated but he gets the job done, it’s a grinder that can play around the field, and has been destroying Righty pitching this year.

Speaking of Trout, what do you think of his contract? How long do you think it will take the Angels to surround him with players who can go with him to the playoffs?

I think Trout’s contract was a deal. He didn’t want to hassle with going elsewhere but he probably could have and could have likely earned more. The problem is that the Angels have been on a long, slow rebuild where they try to stay comparative while getting better. It hasn’t worked. The Angels seems to prioritizing profit over playoffs and it has shown the last 4 years. Their best hope is perhaps that some of these prospects start working like Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, and not Griffin Canning.

You guys have a new manager, how does Brad Ausmus differ from Mike Scioscia?

We’ve had a lot of discussions around this but so far it seems like he’s just a younger version of Mike Scioscia without as much accumulated baseball knowledge. Truthfully, he may just be doing what the front office tells him to do but the general feeling around Angels fandom is that he’s not been good for the team, or at least not yet.

There are 3 years left on Albert Pujols, what does his next couple of years look like? Any chance they will release him before the contract ends?

Surprisingly, Pujols has an OPS over 700 this year and we’ll take it! Considering the Angels burned money on dumping Josh Hamilton not that long ago, I don’t see them parting ways early with Pujols. Not to mention, his 10 year personal services contract seems to imply he’ll be around the team for a long time. I think the only way the Angels move on from him on the field is if he steps down and that won’t happen this year and probably not next year.

Brian Goodwin is hitting .329/.422/.539 at age 28. There is nothing in his MLB past that suggests he should be able to hit like this. What’s he doing differently? Can he keep this up?

He’s been a huge surprise to us. I’m not convinced it’s maintainable but we’ll take it while we can get it. A few years ago, Eric Young Jr. filled in for an injured Mike Trout and while Trout was out, Young put up WAR at the same rate as Trout. So sometimes these guys come in a thrive under pressure but it doesn’t always last.

Thank you Jessica.