LA Angels News

The LA Angels Finally Have a Dominant Rotation

By Vincent Page
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Garrett Richards #43 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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For years now, the LA Angels rotation has been underwhelming. However, 2018 seems to finally be the year that the rotation is taking shape.

This is long overdue for the LA Angels. The retirements of Jered Weaver and C.J Wilson marked the end of an era for the Halo’s rotation, one focused on developing the future rather than milking every last pitch from aging vets.

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When Billy Eppler came to town and traded top pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis to Atlanta for Andrelton Simmons, it was highly scrutinized given Simmons’ offensive struggles and the Halo’s poor pitching depth. As Newcomb has gone on to enjoy a great start to his career (2.88 ERA in 7 starts this year), the Angels rotation is also starting to come to fruition as a top-tier group.

Garrett Richards has as much talent as nearly anyone in the MLB. He has been putting together solid starts as of late, and in a contract year it’ll be interesting to see what he’s valued as on the open market. He has ace potential, but has yet to put it all together.

Even more so than Richards, Tyler Skaggs has been an ace for the Angels. While his 3-2 record is good, it could be even better if the offense and bullpen played better on nights he started. His 3.08 ERA leads Halo starters with at least five starts, and he has been consistent with only one game of allowing more than two runs. If you take away his six run outing against the Boston Red Sox, Skaggs has dominated with a 1.59 ERA this season.

As we all know, Spring Training numbers don’t matter and Ohtani has been transcendent so far. He had a tough outing against Boston as well, but has been solid otherwise. Recently Ohtani has been trusted a little too much in games. His numbers are inflated due to poor management, as Mike Scioscia has left him in too long, resulting in runs against Ohtani instead of handing it over to a stellar bullpen. The key for the Japanese phenom has been his command. Unlike most pitchers, Ohtani settles in after he’s seen the lineup once. He has dominated with his breaking balls and has been even more dominant as a designated hitter so far this year. As the season continues he’ll be one to watch, as the fatigue of an MLB lifestyle is much more persistent than in Japanese leagues.

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After the big three of Skaggs, Richards, and Ohtani, there have been a handful of contributors. Nick Tropeano has made four starts to the tune of a 3.42 ERA. He landed on the 10-day disabled list, but could be in line to start on Saturday, his first day eligible for activation. Jaime Barria is enjoying a solid rookie campaign, as he has flirted with a no-hitter in one of his four starts while holding opposing batters to a .217 average while owning a 2.45 ERA. Shohei Ohtani is the American League Rookie of the Year front-runner, but Barria has also made a case for himself.

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For Andrew Heaney, he has been shaky. In his first two starts, he had a 9.64 ERA. However, he may be getting back into full force as he owns a 2.12 ERA in his past three starts.

So far in May, Halos starters have a 2.14 ERA and have only given up more than two runs just once, when Richards gave up three runs Thursday night.

While the Houston Astros have the superstars in Dallas Kuechel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole, the Halos’ rotation has also been dominating opponents in 2018. Their strikeouts aren’t as plentiful and their spin rates aren’t as absurd, but the Halos rotation has been a huge part of the Angels start to the season. A season in which they currently sit atop the AL West.

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