The Los Angeles Angels appear to be set with their starting outfielders this spring training. All that remains to be decided is who will be the backups.
Here is where Matt Long comes into the question.
In this year’s spring training, Long has been a surprise as he is hitting .536 (15-for-28) with five RBIs, leads the team in hits (15) and total bases (22) in 11 games played. This also includes recording hits in five out of the last six games, in which has also collected multiple hits in each of the five games and has 14 total bases for the last three games.
Long’s high level of production could not come at a better time as he has been the main beneficiary of Josh Hamilton‘s absence from spring training due to a calf strain. It also helps his bid for a roster spot given the fact that he is outplaying his main competition in Brennan Boesch (.294 BA with one RBI) and J.B. Shuck (.214 BA with five RBIs) for the backup outfielder spots. However, he has not matched the overall production of Colin Cowgill (.333 BA with two home runs and eight RBIs).
The 26-year-old has spent his first four seasons as a professional in the Angels’ farm system, and if he is able to continue to swing a hot bat this may lead to his break into the majors. Long has a prime opportunity ahead of him with likely more ample playing time in the outfield for the remainder of spring training with Hamilton out. All he must do now is continue to prove on the field and at the plate that he belongs on the Halos’ Opening Day roster.