The LA Angels saw too many pitchers make starts this season. Injuries controlled their starting rotation. However, these injuries opened opportunities for other players. One young pitcher capitalized on his chance, and became the best starter in Anaheim this season.
The average LA Angels fan can maybe name a few Halo prospects. However, this surprise player came from the Baltimore Orioles. Parker Bridwell was acquired by the Angels for a PTBNL or cash considerations briefly after the season started. Little did we know Bridwell would become the best Halos starter this year.
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Bridwell made his Halos debut on May 30 this season. He went six innings and allowed three runs on two big flies. He seemed like just another average Halos pitcher. However, after four starts in June, Bridwell busted onto the scene in July.
Bridwell started four games and made it through at least six innings in each. In 26.2 innings, he allowed five runs and gave up only two home runs. His ERA on the month was 1.69 and brought his season total to 2.83. Bridwell also struck out 20 batters on the month including a career-high eight against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bridwell is not a strikeout specialist. He simply relies on the defense behind him to make plays. This is why he faltered in his brief time with the Orioles (who jot out an average defense) and excelled for the Angels, who have a truly elite defense.
Bridwell finished the year with 21 appearances (20 starts). He should be considered a lead candidate for a rotation job next year after the success this season. He stayed healthy all year, something rare within the Angels organization. Bridwell obviously improved against giving up the long ball this season, but he could still improve in striking batters out. While trusting his defense isn’t bad, it allows baserunners to advance, which can come back to hurt him.
Bridwell was the Angels best rookie this season. No one could have guessed he would have earned that title when the team traded for him, but he has shocked us all and is slated for a great career in Anaheim.