Looking at the Potential 2017 25-man Roster For the LA Angels
The LA Angels ended the 2016 season with a totally different starting rotation with only Jered Weaver being there from start to finish. At the end of the 2016 season the rotation had Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco, Jered Weaver, Daniel Wright, and Alex Meyer. Of those five pitchers, only two are virtual locks to be in the 2017 starting rotation.
Tyler Skaggs who came back from Tommy John Surgery last season will be in the 2017 rotation as long as he is healthy. Skaggs was 3-4 with a 4.17 ERA in two months after coming off the disabled list. He will most likely be the second or third starter for the Angels.
Ricky Nolasco, who the Angels acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Minnesota Twins will also be in the rotation barring a disastrous. Nolasco seemed to find a nice groove in the final moth of the season finishing with a 4-6 record and a 3.21 ERA once he came to the Angels. He also had an impressive 1.07 WHIP.
Garrett Richards, has been penciled in as the staff ace as long as his torn UCL continues to heal properly. Richards was one of the key injuries the Angels had to their rotation that sent it into disarray last season. Richards had platelet cell injections in his right elbow that have sped up the healing process. If everything stays on track he will be the Angels opening day starter in 2017.
Matt Shoemaker has been a solid, yet inconsistent performer in the Angels starting rotation since 2014. Shoemaker had a stint in the minors in both 2015 and 2016 when he struggled early during both seasons. Shoemaker righted his ship both times and went on to have fairly successful seasons. In 2016 Shoemaker ended up with a 9-13 record and a 3.88 ERA before a line drive off the bat of Seattle’s Kyle Seager ended his season early on September 4th. Shoemaker suffered a skull fracture as a result of the blow to the head, but he is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2017 season.
Now for the final spot in the rotation it is up in the air. Newly acquired Alex Meyer,who also came over in the Hector Santiago deal, has the inside track to earn the 5th starter role, but it will again depend on his 2017 Spring Training performance. Meyer showed moments of brilliance in his five starts in September going 1-2 with a 4.57 ERA, striking out 24 batters in 25.1 inning pitched. He was the key piece in the deal with the Twins for Hector Santiago.
Other possibilities for the last starting spot is Daniel Wright who pitched in September and picked up one victory in five starts posting a 1-3 record with a 5.40 ERA. Another possible option is top minor league pitching prospect Nate Smith. Both are considered longshots, however, as 2016 taught us you may see them before the season is over if others get injured or falter.
Two other possibilities are Jesse Chavez who was signed as a free agent not too long after the season ended. Chavez’s most likely destination is as a long man in the bullpen, or as a spot starter due to injuries. The other one is another reliever who the Angels are trying to convert to a starter and that is J.C. Ramirez. The Angels picked Ramirez up off waivers in late June and he became one of the best relievers in the Angels pen finishing 2-1 in 43 innings with a 2.91 ERA.
The longshot to be the fifth starter is a familiar face to the Angels fans and that is Jered Weaver. Weaver is testing the waters in free agency this off-season, but as of yet has not found a team that is willing to give him a home. With that said, the likelihood of Weaver coming back in 2017 is slim. It would make most Angels leap with joy if Weaver returns, but don’t get your hopes up.