The Angels will open up the competition at 3B this spring. 27-year old switch hitting Alberto Callaspo, 30-year old switch hitting Maicer Izturis and 25-year old righty swinging Brandon Wood will battle for the job. Callaspo is probably the slight favorite to win the starting job. He played in 146 games for the Angels & Royals last season and he was 149 of 562 (.265 avg, .675 OPS) with 61 runs scored, 10 homers, 56 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Callaspo doesn’t like to walk (31 times last year) but he doesn’t whiff either (only 42 times last year), so I expect his batting average to come back up a little bit. He is a career .278 hitter with a .720 OPS in his first five years in the majors. Callaspo made 10 errors at 3B last season while showing good range.
Maicer Izturis was banged up most of last season but he’s ready to make up for lost time in 2011. He played in 61 games for the Angels last season and he was 53 of 212 (.250 avg, .684 OPS) with 27 runs scored, 3 homers, 27 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Izturis is a career .275 hitter with a .730 OPS in his first 7 years in the majors, so look for his bat to rebound in 2011. Izturis only made 1 error in 28 games for the Angels at 3B last season while showing slightly above average range. Izturis could beat out Callaspo for the starting job or he could platoon with him at 3B in 2011.
Brandon Wood was once one of the brightest prospects in all of baseball but he is starting to look like a AAAA-player. Too good for the minors but not good enough for the majors. Wood played in 81 games for the Angels last season and he was 33 of 226 (.146 avg, .382 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 4 homers, 14 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He was really overmatched at the plate as he whiffed 71 time while only walking 6 times last year. Wood has now played in 167 games in parts of four years with the Angels and he is a career .169 hitter with a .458 OPS. Wood made 5 errors in 56 games at 3B while showing average range, so at least he didn’t hurt the Angels with his mitt. Wood is running out of time in L.A.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ANGELS 3B IN 2011: C-