This upcoming 2014 season is going to be huge for Garrett Richards, who has always been a swing man for the Angels. This season it looks like he’s going to get the chance to start behind Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson. The rest of this rotation looks to be unfinished at the moment and up for grabs going into spring training. Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs, and Mark Mulder will compete for the last two spots unless the Angels make a move to bring in another veteran starter.
Since his MLB debut in 2011 Richards owns a 11-13 record while posting a 4.42 ERA. At the age of 25-years-old he can prove himself, showing that he deserves to be in the rotation. Last season he posted a 7-8 record with a 4.16 ERA over 145 innings, the most he has thrown in his MLB career, to go along with 101 strikeouts. Of course, that came of the course of 45 appearances, 17 of which were actually starts, including his last 12 outings.
He has always been a pitch to contact pitcher, which isn’t a bad thing in the AL West, since you’ll play majority of games in pitcher friendly parks such as Big A and Safco Field. He induced ground balls to 57.9 percent in 2013, and brought his walk rate down to 2.73 last season from 4.31 in 2012.
Richards has shown he is able to learn and improve over a short career in the majors. He proved that over those last 12 starts of 2013. Finally stretched out, Richards posted a 3.72 ERA and a 6.71 K/9 ratio over those last few starts, despite being victimized by a BAbip of .314 during that stretch.
There are many young pitchers that have broken out since last season and I think Richards will come along this season. He has the potential to join Patrick Corbin and Chris Archer as young, dominant pitchers that can be counted on to go out and get the win.
Garrett Richards has had his rough patches over his brief career, but I am sure we haven’t seen what he is fully capable of and this is his season to step up to be the quality pitcher the Angels desperately need. If Richards can stay healthy I have no doubts that he won’t eat up innings and make quality starts.