C.J. Wilson: 2014 Angels Year in Review


Anaheim Angels’ starting pitcher C.J. Wilson just finished his third season with the club and it was his worst since joining the team for the 2012 season. He was an All-Star in his first season with the Angels, and last season was in my opinion better than his first but he came away with zero accolades. He has a lot of pressure to perform since coming over from the division rival Texas Rangers, but in 2014 he couldn’t handle that pressure.

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The Good: The good for Wilson is that he made another 30 starts for the halos. It is sometimes taken for granted but when a pitcher can go out thirty times a year with consistency you take it. Staying away from injuries is the hardest thing to do as a pitcher as it seems like 30 percent are getting arm injuries and having Tommy John Surgery. Nonetheless, C.J. made his start every five days.

Unfortunately a lot of Wilson’s season was bad, so let me tell you a little bit of what I think about it.

The Bad: You can’t expect a pitcher to be in Cy Young form every season as most will have some form of regression from season to season. I will start with what most see as an important stat for a pitcher. His innings pitched dropped below 200 for the first time since becoming a full time starter, all the way down to 175. This was because he couldn’t get outs to stay in the game, and that was a huge issue. He put a ton of strain on the bullpen throughout the entirety of the season, and that has to get better in 2015.

The reason he couldn’t get outs was because he was in a jam half of the time. He walked a league leading 85 batters, almost four and a half per nine innings. To be successful you can’t allow free base runners and Wilson did it a lot. The walks added to more than needed runs being scored as he allowed 88 earned runs and 95 runs overall on the season. He allowed nearly five runs per nine innings pitched.

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The walks led to more runners on base and him having to throw a lot more fastballs than he needed too. This eventually led to balls leaving the ballpark and the Angels falling behind. He didn’t have his out pitch working well the entire season and could never put the hitters away. Most would be able to battle and eventually put the ball in play and after that who knows, it is all luck from there. Speaking of luck, C.J. had a lot of bad luck. Hitters had a .306 average when putting the ball in play against Wilson, once again the highest rate since he became a starter.

All of these things are adding up to a bad season, which it was. Not only could he not get outs, but he was costing the team runs and eventually wins. His postseason start was C.J. in a nutshell. Things got out of control very quickly and the halos trailed early. He only lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs, which the club in an early hole after gaining a first inning lead.

The Future: The future for C.J. Wilson has to be better right? He is due $18 million next season and if things don’t get better before they get worse he could end up in the bullpen. Do the Angels really need an $18 million bullpen arm? No. This season could have been bad luck and he may bounce back and surprise everyone in 2015 but for that to happen a couple things must change.

  • He must find an out pitch
  • He must limit the walks
  • He must limit the long balls

If C.J. can make two of those three things happen, preferably the walks first, I think he will be in good shape. Once he starts to walk batters that is when the wheels fall off. So no pressure C.J. just have a bounce back season for us all, and we will all begin to love you again!

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