What Can the Los Angeles Angels Expect From Garrett Richards This Season?

By Taylor Barney
February 26, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards (43) poses for a picture during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
February 26, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards (43) poses for a picture during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Los Angeles Angels ace Garret Richards’ last season was cut short after he tore his UCL during an early season game against the Rangers. Richards put off Tommy John surgery and began a stem cell therapy in hopes to not have the surgery at all.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards elbow showed a great improvement from the stem cell therapy and he was able to begin throwing a baseball again before the end of the 2016 season. He is set to return for the 2017 season.

Garrett Richards was in the process of cementing himself as the LA Angels’ ace in their rotation. His 2014 season he was able to go 13-4 with an amazing ERA at 2.61. Then in 2015 for the first time in his career that he pitched more than 200 innings.

He wasn’t able to keep his ERA as low though and it ended up at 3.65. The biggest thing that Richards provided those two years was consistency. With a starting rotation that wasn’t quite able to find a groove, Richards more times than not was able to go put out a quality start.

Last season began and just as Garrett was finding his own groove, he tore his UCL. He ended up pitching 34.2 innings with an ERA of 2.34. If he could have finished the season it may have been his best season yet.

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After opting to go through a stem cell therapy on his UCL instead of Tommy John surgery, Richards’ arm started showing signs of improvement. August of last year he was okayed to start throwing again albeit very carefully.

If Richards would have gone through with Tommy John surgery, he would not be pitching in the 2017 season.  Instead, the Angels now have a much stronger starting rotation headed into spring training.

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The main problem heading into the new season is that information about stem cell therapy is still very scarce. The coaching staff will most likely have Garrett take it easy to start the season.  So it is rather hard determining what we might see from Richards this season. He could start opening day and feel great and have his best season yet. There is a chance he could have some setbacks as well.

Everything we have heard about his recovery has been overwhelmingly positive, though. He seems to feel great and has been able to throw since August of last year. He was even throwing his usual mid 90s MPH fastball in October. Richards seems very optimistic and even has this to say, “the ball’s coming out of my hand better now than it ever has.”

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If he is able to keep his arm healthy and feeling normal, then we should expect a healthy and somewhat normal season for Richards. We shouldn’t expect his best season yet because he is coming off of a torn UCL. But, I think it is fair to expect a season that is close to if not a little better than his 2015 season.

Here are my projections for Garret Richards this upcoming season:

3.10 ERA, 190 Innings Pitched, 80 Walks, 8 Home Runs Given Up, 140 Strikeouts, 1.250 WHIP

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