Analyzing FanGraphs’ Projections for Angels’ Pitchers


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With spring training set to open in just over two weeks in Tempe, General Manager Jerry Dipoto‘s work is almost done this offseason. The Angels’ roster is nearly complete, with just a few finishing touches still to be added. With that in mind, we thought it would be an appropriate time to take a look at what the sabermetrically inclined mathematicians over at have projected for the Angels’ pitching staff in 2015 using their world famous steamer.

This first table is showing the key statistical categories for the seven pitchers FanGraphs projects to start ballgames for the Halos in 2015.

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The next table shows the projections for the eight men expected to appear in at least 20 games as a reliever this season in Anaheim.

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Historically, FanGraphs errs on the side of caution in crafting their projections, and obviously this trend continued with the Angels. FanGraphs provides fans with accurate projections, however they have a hard time anticipating when a pitcher will post breakout numbers.

Angels pitchers posted middle of the pack numbers in 2014, registering a team ERA of 3.58, good for the 15th best ERA in the league. FanGraphs believes the team ERA will rise to 3.78 in 2015. Anaheim did a nice job limiting base runners in 2014, posting the seventh best team WHIP at just 1.22 walks/hits per inning. FanGraphs is projecting similar results for the Angels’ staff at 1.279 walks/hits per inning. Halos’ hurlers struck out 1,342 hitters last season, the fifth highest total in baseball. The math majors at FanGraphs project Angels’ pitchers will tally 1,156 punch-outs in the coming season. Angels’ pitchers struggled with their command in 2014, issuing 504 free passes, ranking them 23rd in the league. Based on these projections, the Halos will actually improve in this category, allowing just 475 batters to reach first on a walk.

Oct 3, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning in game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It is nice to see the FanGraphs steamer projecting a bounce back campaign from C.J. Wilson in 2015. Wilson struggled last year posting a 4.51 ERA, a 1.446 WHIP, 4.31 FIP, and issuing 4.4 walks per 9 innings. FanGraphs is projecting Wilson will drop his ERA to 4.25, his WHIP to 1.38, his FIP to 4.01, and he will walk just 3.87 hitters per 9 innings. While these numbers do not represent all-star caliber numbers, they do suggest the 34-year-old southpaw will make a quality contribution to the Angels this season. If Wilson can live up the expectations in 2015, it would really help the Halos’ chances of repeating as American League West champs.

Garrett Richards had a breakout season in 2014, and had it not been for a devastating knee injury late in the year, he would have been a finalist for the American League Cy Young award. FanGraphs’ projections for the 2015 can only be interpreted as encouraging for the Angels and their fans. Richards was originally anticipated to return sometime in May, but recent reports indicate an April return is likely. This season can be considered a success for Richards if he is able to toe the rubber the 27 FanGraphs is projecting. The Edmond, OK product figures to play a key role for the Halos this season, and the mathematicians at FanGraphs project he will be the most valuable hurler in the starting rotation.

Matt Shoemaker is the Rodney Dangerfield on the Angels staff, as he “can’t get no respect” from FanGraphs despite an impressive debut season in 2014. Shoemaker finished second in Rookie of the Year voting after finishing 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA. The 28-year-old’s strength lies in his ability to command the strike zone, issuing just 1.6 walks per 9 innings, and striking out 8.2 hitters per 9 innings. FanGraphs projects Shoemaker to struggle in 2015, posting a record of 12-11 and an ERA of 4.08. They also expect his strikeouts to drop to just 6.85 per 9 innings, and his walk rate to rise to 2.13 per 9 innings. I believe these projections are unfounded, and are unfair to the Trenton, MI product. I expect Shoe to prove the critics wrong, and continue to shine this summer in the big A.

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It is interesting to note that FanGraphs is projecting just 20 innings of work for Cesar Ramos, currently the lone left-handed relief pitcher penciled into the Angels’ bullpen. Ramos is a quality hurler, having pitched at least 60 innings in each of the past two seasons. The Halos will be severely misusing Ramos if they call on him to pitch just 20 innings in 2015. Based on what FanGraphs is suggesting, Hector Santiago will make 30 relief appearances this season. It is hard to believe Santiago will immediately bypass Ramos as the most valuable left-handed reliever on the roster. is projecting the Angels will allow 4.13 runs against per game in 2015, good for 18th best in baseball. Obviously, the brainiacs over at FanGraphs do not put much stock in the Angels’ pitching staff. Essentially, they believe the Halos have mediocre arms and will have to rely heavily on their imposing offense to win games. Quality seasons from Richards and Shoemaker, plus a rebound from C.J. Wilson could go a long way towards establishing the Halos’ pitching staff as one of the best in the game.

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