The LA Angels got some encouraging news on Thursday as both Nick Tropeano and J.C. Ramirez 2 of the 4 Angels pitchers to go down with arm injuries looked good in their Spring outings against the Giants.
The news got even better for the LA Angels on Friday as Garrett Richards had his second strong performance of the Spring against the Chicago Cubs and to cap it all off Shohei Ohtani had a lights out performance on Friday against the Brewers.
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So far almost all of the starting pitching candidates for the 2018 starting rotation have looked pretty good with the exception of Tyler Skaggs and Parker Bridwell. Skaggs is pitching tonight against the Mariners so hopefully he will fare better than his first time out.
It is too early to get too excited about the Angels starters, but the way things have gone over the past two seasons with injuries, it is nice to see all the starters come out of their first couple of outings feeling ok and looking comfortable on the mound.
The Angels have stated publicly of their interest in going with a six-man starting rotation to give players more rest between starts in hopes of keeping them healthy. This is something that has not been done so early in a season by any team in recent memory. It is a calculated risk that the Angels are willing to take in hopes of keeping their starters fresh.
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As for who will be the odd men out, it is anyone’s guess. Parker Bridwell is probably the most likely guy to be the odd-man out as he was the surprise performer last season once being plugged into a decimated starting rotation.
Most baseball analysts who follow the Angels have said that J.C. Ramirez may be the other starter on thee outside looking in when the season starts, in order to bring him along a little more slowly and also due to his bullpen experience.
So far this Spring here are the numbers for each of the starting rotation candidates.
Garrett Richards – 2 games 5 IP. 3 H. 1 ER. 2 BB. 5 K’s 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Shohei Ohtani – 1 game – 1.1 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 2 K’s 6.75 ERA 2.25 WHIP
(Ohtani’s stellar start Friday was in a B – League so it doesn’t officially count in Spring Training stats.). In the game Ohtani struck out eight of 12 batters he faced and allowed four hits and two runs. Not bad for a second outing.
Parker Bridwell – 2 games – 3 IP 8 H 5 ER. 1 BB. 1 K. 15.00 ERA , 3.00 WHIP
Nick Tropeano – 2 games – 3.1 IP 6 H. 3 ER. 0. BB. 2 K’s. 8.10 ERA.
(Friday Tropeano pitched two scoreless innings allowing only one hit.)
J.C. Ramirez – 1 game – 2 IP 1 H. 0 ER. 0. BB. 1 K. O.00 ERA. 0.50 WHIP.
Matt Shoemaker – 2 games – 2.1 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 1 K 3.86 ERA 1.29 WHIP
Tyler Skaggs – 1 game – 1.1 IP 2 H 3 ER 1 BB 2 K’s 20.25 ERA 2.25 WHIP
Andrew Heaney – 1 game – 2 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 1 K 0.00 WHIP
Troy Scribner – 1 game – 1.1 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 1 K 0.00 ERA 2.25 WHIP
Scribner is a huge long shot, but did start four games for the Angeles in 2017 with mixed results. He is likely to start the season in Triple-A.
One to two outings is an extremely small sample size, but nevertheless it is encouraging to see all the Angel starters able to pitch without any pain or setbacks so far. Health will be a huge key to the success of the Angel starters this season.
If the Angels do decide to go the six-man rotation route, a possible rotation that would include Richards, Ohtani, Skaggs, Heaney, Tropeano, and Shoemaker would be a formidable one with a nice balance of righties and lefties.
If Ramirez or Bridwell were able to crack the rotation as well it would still be solid. Let’s hope this continues and the Angel pitchers continue to be healthy throughout the Spring and into the 2018 season. This would go a long way in bolstering the Angels playoff hopes.