Where does the Shoe fit in 2016 Angels?

Matt Shoemaker can be deadly effective, or just deadly. Which Shoemaker will the Angels see in 2016? Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Shoemaker can be deadly effective, or just deadly. Which Shoemaker will the Angels see in 2016? Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

In the past 2 seasons we have seen two different Matt Shoemaker’s. In 2014 we got a 27 year old rookie who surprised everybody going 16-4 with a 3.04 earned run average (ERA) and was runner-up for the rookie of the year award. 2015 wasn’t quite as impressive for the Michigan native. With a record of  7-10 and a ERA up more than a full run and half than the year before at 4.46. We also can’t forget that he was sent down to the minors for some readjusting.

So which Matt Shoemaker will the Angels have in 2016 and just where will he fit in a crowded rotation battle, that sees eight guys going for five spots.

If Shoe is to fit into the starting rotation (pun intended) he needs to be consistently effective throughout spring training- and even then that might not be enough. Three of the starting rotation sports are already spoken for by Garrett Richards, Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. That leaves two spots between five men and I think the fourth and fifth spots are Hector Santiago and Andrew Heaney’s to lose.

I’m a big fan of Matt Shoemaker and his underdog story. I am an even bigger fan of his shoe-polish black beard. It pains me to say this but I think the Shoemaker we saw last year is going to be the one we see again in 2016. There was a reason he was in the minors until he was 27 (minus a one game stint with the Angels in 2013) and it wasn’t because he got a late start. He was drafted out of college at age 21 like most players who go to college.

Chances are at best he is a 5th starter in the rotation… for another team. Unless anything like trades or injury happen his best bet to stay in majors with the Angels is likely going to be coming out of the bullpen. The Angels just have too many starting pitching options at the moment. Shoemaker’s biggest problem last year was that he couldn’t avoid that one big problem inning. Coming out of the bullpen and only pitching an inning or two at a time, I think would bode well for the 29 year old. It would also likely save him from going back down to the minors.

For Matt Shoemaker to start the season in the rotation some things are going to have to happen. I think the team will eventually trade either CJ Wilson or Hector Santiago. Not both but trading one of them makes sense. Both are effective lefties and Santiago coming off an all-star year raises his stock. CJ has been touch and go during his tenure in Anaheim but overall has been good. With his contract expiring he could make a nice rental player in need of a left-handed starter.

Tyler Skaggs is coming back from Tommy John  surgery as well. If how the

Angels treated Garrett Richards coming back from a torn patellar injury is any indicator as to how they will treat Skaggs; he will start the season in the minors and come back slowly. This is also assuming the team doesn’t trade him.

There is hope for Matt Shoemaker to be in the rotation to start the season but the way I see things, I think he is on the outside looking in. At least for now.