The Angels will likely open this position up for a three-man competition. 24 year old lefty swinging Casey Kotchman appears fo have a slight edge heading into Spring Training. Kotchman must overcome the effects of the mononucleosis that ruined his season last year. He only hit .152 last season with 1 homer and 6 RBIs in only 79 at bats with a .436 OPS. He showed tremendous potential in 2005 as he hit .278 with 7 homers and 22 RBIs in only 126 at bats. And that is the Kotchman the Angels hope they’re getting this season. He is a very slick defender and didn’t make an error last season. The infield will be better off if Kotchman is at first base for the Angels.
Switch hitting 23 year old Kendry Morales will get another opportunity to compete for the starting job this season. He looked nervous in his first season in the major leagues, both on offense and defense. He only hit .234 with 5 homers, 22 RBIs and a .664 OPS. Those are not good numbers for a first baseman. He hit very well in AAA last season as he hit .320 with 12 homers, 52 RBIs and a .879 OPS. The Angels need him to hit more like he did in the minors if he’s to start for the Angels this season. He also needs to improve on defense as he made 5 errors in only 453.2 innings.
30 year old Robb Quinlan hit great last season for the Angels. He hit .321 with 9 homers, 32 RBIs and a .835 OPS last season. It’s likely that Quinlan will get a lot of at bats against lefties for the Angels even if he doesn’t win the starting job. He is a solid first baseman on defense as he only made 3 errors in 384 innings there last season.
31 year old Shea Hillenbrand will DH most of the time. But when Juan Rivera returns from his broken leg he could return to first base.