Finding a new starting shortstop remains on the Angels’ offseason to-do list, but they increased their depth on Friday with two moves in the lineup.
The team took Andrew Velazquez from the New York Yankees and added Brandon Davis to the 40-man roster, giving them two more options in the backyard as they head out into the winter.
Velasquez, 27, played four MLB seasons with four organizations. In 96 major career games, he has hit .184 with one home run, nine RBIs and .525 percent on base plus traffic.
Velasquez, previously drafted in the seventh round of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was traded to the Tampa Bay Races in 2014, where he made his Major League debut four years later. In July 2019, he was traded to Cleveland, and the following offseason, the Baltimore Orioles team demanded that he refuse.
The Yankees signed him as a free agent in January and called him in August after strong results for their Class Three-A subsidiary. In 28 games, he went 15 out of 67 with one home run and 0.594 OPS. He started off with a short stop in a wild card game against the Boston Red Sox, but was sent off for a pinch hitter after one at bat.
Davis, 24, is a Lakewood High School graduate who was selected by the Dodgers in the fifth round in 2015 before being sent to the Texas Rangers as part of a deal with Yu Darwish on the 2017 swap deadline.
The Angels grabbed him in last year’s Rule 5 draft and watched him thrive in the minor leagues this season as he went from high-class A to triple A, hitting .290 with 30 home runs and 0.922 OPS overall.
He also showed versatility on defense last season, playing third base, left field, second base and shortstop.
“He’s definitely on the radar,” Angels minor league hitting coordinator Damon Mashore said at the end of the minor league season. “He put numbers wherever he went. It definitely allowed us to have a strong player who can move around the field. ”
The Angels now have 10 infielders on their 40-member roster. While Jared Walsh and Anthony Rendon will hold corner positions at first and third base respectively, it remains to be seen how the club will fill the midfield positions.
David Fletcher was the second baseman last year, but general manager Perry Minasyan said last month that the team could look into moving him to a shortstop – where there is an opening after Jose Iglesias was cut near the end of the regular season. …
Jack Mayfield and Luis Renfigo also shared half time in the 2021 season, although they each had below average attack rates.
There will be plenty of high-profile short stops in the free agency market, but the Angels will have to decide if they’d be better off spending most of their available wages on pitching.
Friday moves did not answer any of these questions. They did give the team some extra opportunities on the infield in anticipation of next season.