For the Los Angeles Angels a deal that went pretty much under the radar near the end of 2014 is starting to pay dividends here in 2018.
On November 5th, 2014 the Los Angeles Angels traded catcher Hank Conger to the Houston Astros in exchange for catcher Carlos Perez and right-handed pitcher Nick Tropeano. Perez did well at first for the Angels winning the starting catching job halfway through the 2015 season, but he never could recapture his early success the next two seasons and was traded just before the 2018 season started.
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Tropeano on the other hand has shown some brief periods of success both in 2015 and 2016, but then was lost for half of the 2016 season and the entire 2017 season due to a torn UCL in his pitching elbow which recruited Tommy John Surgery. Tropeano has come back strong so far in 2018 going 1-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts this season.
Tropeano’s first start of the season was nothing short of spectacular throwing 6.2 innings of shutout baseball with six strikeouts picking up his first victory in almost two seasons. His next two starts against Boston and Houston were subpar, but if you look closer, one bad inning was his demise in both outings.
Last night Tropeano was spectacular once again shutting down the Baltimore Orioles going 6.1 innings allowing only one hit and two walks and striking out six Orioles. He probably could have gone even further as he was pulled in the seventh despite throwing only 88 pitches. Tropeano led with a 2-0 lead, but ended with a no-decision when Cam Bedrosian coughed up the lead in the ninth.
What is even more impressive is that Tropeano has a 1.14 WHIP and opponents are only hitting .217 against him, which are both well below his career numbers of a 1.36 WHIP and a .258 opponents batting average. Tropeano has shown good command so far as his strikeouts to walks ratio is just over 2 to 1, 20/9.
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It is was too early to anoint Tropeano as the second coming Nolan Ryan, but his start to 2018 is very encouraging for the Angels. WIth Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney struggling and Shohei Ohtani still developing, Tropeano along with Tyler Skaggs, another Tommy John Surgery alumnus, have given the Angels’ rotation some stability it desperately needs.
Hopefully both Skaggs and Tropeano can continue to grow and stay healthy for the long haul. If Richards and Ohtani can start to show some consistency and Andrew Heaney can harness his potential the Angels could have the makings of a good young staff. This will go a long way in helping the Angels be successful and increase their potential to reach the post-season for only the second time in the past nine seasons.