Sep 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards (43) departs the game handing the ball over to manager Mike Scioscia (left) during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the offseason and we’re all reflecting on the season that just past, looking ahead to the upcoming year, and thinking about the performances of the team as a whole as well as the individual players for the year. I’ve gotten the chance to read reviews by my fellow writers here at Halo Hangout, as well as those from other people, and we all have our opinions on the direction in which the team should go to in order for them to become a winning club again. But for now, we’re continuing our look back on some personal achievements (or in some cases, lack thereof *cough, cough* Joe Blanton *cough*).
Looking back, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to rate Garrett Richards as a starter. For the past two seasons, he’s spent his time being unceremoniously shuffled back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Being a big league pitcher is hard enough without adding to it the uncertainty that must come from not knowing what’s going to be expected one week to the next, so it’s understandable that without any kind of dependability in his role, he’s had trouble with consistency.
In my house we started calling Garrett “Mini-Weave” when he had grown his hair out a la Jered Weaver at the start of the season. See the resemblance? Garrett’s on the left , Jered’s on the right.
Anyway, back to the “review”. He ended 2013 in the Angels rotation, but for a chunk of time in the middle of the season, he was abruptly moved to the ‘pen, where he had started the season, but was moved to a starting role when Jered Weaver was put on the disabled list after breaking his left elbow in his second start, but had been bumped again and Jerome Williams started instead for the next part, only to be back starting again for the last 2 months. See how convoluted that is? I can barely keep track and I did all the research to write it.
He had a season record of 7-8, a 4.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 101 strikeouts, and had a save. But let’s break down his season to understand the enormity of what it was like for him. His first 4 games he came out of the bullpen and pitched a total of 4 innings. He had a 2.08 ERA in those games, and allowed only 1 earned run. The next 4 games he started and threw for 26 innings. His first start of the season ended with a no-decision, which was disappointing because his outing lasted 6.1 innings, longer than most Angels pitchers had to that point. He allowed 16 earned runs in those 4 starts, his shortest outing was his 4th, where he gave up 7 runs (all earned) in 5.2 innings. By the end of the month, his ERA had jumped to 5.04.
That was when he was pulled and for the following 26 games, he was back in the bullpen where he pitched 37.1 innings and gave up only 17 runs while striking out 25. Then, on July 27th, he was put back into a starting role for the remainder of the season. He pitched 77.1 innings in 13 starts, had 53 strikeouts, 32 earned runs, and had a 5-4 record. Since win/loss record for a pitcher is one of the worst to use as a standard of measuring performance, I’m going to use other means to attempt an evaluation of Garrett’s starts. In 17 total starts for the Halos, he pitched 103.1 innings for an average of just over 6 innings. He gave up 48 total earned runs compared to 71 strikeouts and 32 walks, additionally only 8 home runs were hit off him as a starter. All in all, not too shabby.
Some people say that Garrett Richards is too inconsistent to be an everyday starter. I would argue that his playing time as a starter has been too inconsistent and broken up to allow him the opportunity to be a reliable starter and that what is needed to fully assess his performance is at least an entire season of him in that role alone. Maybe in the coming seasons he might be allowed to finally show what he can do across an entire season, until then, it’s not fair to judge him in that capacity. I look forward to seeing what he can do in 2014. Good luck Garrett!