Jerry Dipoto, and the Angels front office, receive a lot of criticism for their failures over the past few seasons. Thus far, their major signings of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Joe Blanton have not worked out. However, there was one free agent that was signed to a sizable free agent contract that has paid dividends – C.J. Wilson.
Wilson, along with Jered Weaver, provides the Angels starting rotation with a second top flight starter. In fact, it could even be argued that Wilson is essentially a second ace to the staff, alongside Weaver. He has certainly performed up that that type of a level in his time with the Angels, producing a 30-17 record with a 3.60 ERA in the past two seasons. Last year, Wilson truly stepped up as Weaver struggled, posting a 17-7 record with a 3.39 ERA, striking out eight batters per nine innings.
With the back of the Angels rotation being a large question mark, the Angels are going to need both of their top two starters to step up. Even Weaver has been a bit questionable, with his decreased velocity and struggles in 2013. While the Angels are relying upon Weaver to be the pitcher he had been over the previous few years, they will need C.J. Wilson to continue to perform at this level.
He certainly gave hope for that in his Cactus League start against the Los Angeles Dodgers today, pitching four shutout innings. Not only did Wilson hold the Dodgers off the board, but he also held them without a hit, walking two and striking our four batters. It was certainly a lot better than his previous performance, when Wilson allowed three runs in two innings.
With the offense that the Angels could potentially have this season, provided that Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton return to their previous levels, Wilson is just going to need to do what he has done over his career since becoming a starter – eat innings and produce at a solid level. Since transitioning to the rotation in 2010, Wilson has pitched over 200 innings each year. With the Angels potentially needing to rely heavily upon their bullpen, Wilson needs to remain that same pitcher.
C.J. Wilson may not receive as much attention as Jered Weaver, possibly because he was a free agent signing, but he is just as important for the Angels chances. In fact, at the end of the season, Wilson may turn out to be the Angels best starter in 2014.