Halo Hangout recently made the trip to the home of LA Angels Minor League squad, the Inland Empire 66ers, to meet with the brand new member of the Angels family. Patrick Sandoval, the 21-year-old LHP, came to Anaheim in a trade that sent catcher Martin Maldonado to the Astros. Speaking with the young athlete, it becomes clear why the Angels sought after his talents so strongly.
One thing that really sticks out when meeting newest member of the LA Angels organization, the 21-year-old LHP Patrick Sandoval, is his smile and enthusiasm. You can see it in demeanor as he walks about the dugout, as he speaks about his childhood love of the Dodgers and the reality that he’s now on the other side of this grand cross-town rivalry. When you mention the fact that he’s on track to play with his favorite baseball player of all time, Albert Pujols, you can really feel a palpable, hopeful excitement exuding from the young athlete.
That excitement goes both ways, because as happy as Patrick Sandoval is to return home to Southern California we’re just as happy to have him on board.
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Patrick Sandoval is working on his fourth MiLB season, all four coming with the Astros before the trade last week which brought him to Anaheim. Sandoval’s 2018 season has seen his development mature in big ways; his ability to put hitters away while limiting danger has grown to phenomenal levels. Prior to 2018 Sandoval held a K/BB rate that averaged just around 3. Now we’re seeing the young star coming into his true form as a strikeout machine.
In laymen terms, Sandoval is striking out 6 hitters for every walk allowed. When you break the numbers down into their simplest form you’ll really understand the level of talent within Sandoval. On the season, across Single and High A MiLB, Sandoval has collected 106 K’s to 17 BB’s, a rate by and far the best of what we’ve seen in the organization thus far. There’s a lot to be excited about with Patrick Sandoval, and in that vein there’s a lot Sandoval is looking forward to in his future with the Angels.
LHP Patrick Sandoval #32
H.H: How does it feel coming back home to play with the Angels organization?
Sandoval: It feels awesome right now, I’m loving the weather. It’s good; it’s not humid, I’m not swimming in the heat over here. It’s fun
H.H: You dealt with a lot of that in Houston I imagine?
Sandoval: Yeah, pretty much every affiliate we were at was extremely humid. It’s good to feel the desert heat again.
H.H: What kind of work did you do with the Astros developmental tools to become the pitcher you are today?
Sandoval: It was more getting to know my own body and how to make it move more efficiently and being able to repeat my delivery so that I could limit all my walks. The sprays from pitches that are going all over the place, with more direction on everything. This year was a big jump in development for me in regards to all of that.
H.H: What’s it like knowing you’ll be participating in the freeway series you grew up watching as a Dodger fan?
Sandoval: That would be unreal, to be able to compete in the freeway series. My family would definitely be split between Dodgers and Angels, but hopefully I’ll get them to switch to the Angels.
H.H: Have you been thinking about the fact that you’re on track to be teammates with Albert Pujols?
Sandoval: Yeah, someone asked me that before. It would be absolutely unreal if I looked over at first base and I see Albert Pujols manning first [laughs].
It’d be an absolute dream come true playing with my favorite player of all time.
Career K’s (220.1 MiLB IP): 246
“A dream come true”, that’s how Patrick Sandoval feels about his future with the Angels. Being back at home, participating in one of baseballs most enjoyable rivalries, and on top of that being teammates with your baseball idol, offers a lot for the talented left-handed strike machine. It’s one thing to have a player who exudes talent, but to have one who exudes both talent and enthusiasm? That’s rare in this game.
Patrick Sandoval is a shot in the arm for any team he plays with, but with the Angels who have been in grave need of an injection of pitching talent and energy? He’s a lightning rod.
2.43 ERA in 14 Games Started (2018)
H.H: What’s in your mentality on the mound that keeps you striking out hitters at such a high rate?
Sandoval: When I’m on the mound my focus is solely on striking hitters out. I wanna go out and attack hitters with my best stuff possible every single pitch. I’m confident if I do that they’ll either swing and miss, or they won’t swing, or if they swing it won’t be hard contact. That’s what I hope for when I’m throwing my pitch.
H.H: How did you feel after your debut with the 66ers?
Sandoval: I was a little disappointed I couldn’t finish that 5th inning. Two 2-out hits is not the best way to go out. Obviously the two walks in the first inning was not how I wanted to start that. I put myself in an uncomfortable position with so many pitches so early. It felt good to get those strikeouts, but I wish I could have finished the outing the way I wanted to. Not with throwing that many pitches either.
H.H: Next start you’re looking to go longer than 5?
Sandoval: Yeah, hopefully. That’s the plan; to get me out there longer and hopefully not give up too many two out hits.
H.H: Statistically, you strike our 6 hitters for every walk allowed. How do you maintain that level of command?
Sandoval: It comes down to staying as focused as possible and not getting away from myself. Not letting emotions get too high or too low. Just focusing on my breath on the mound.
H.H: How did you find out about the trade to the Angels, and how did you react?
Sandoval: I was in the clubhouse in Potomac getting ready to play the Nationals for a double-header. I had just walked into the clubhouse and sat down on the couch. I put my phone away, I don’t know why, I’m usually always on my phone, but I put it away. Then my manager called me into his office, he just handed me his phone and didn’t really say anything. Someone from the front-office from the Astros let me know, he said “Hey, we just wanted to let you know we traded you to the Angels. Thank you for all your hard work”, and all that.
As he said that I went numb. I kinda started shaking a little bit. I didn’t really know what to feel. I hung up and my manager, he had no idea, he said “What’d they say?”; I told him “I just got traded to the Angels”. He was extremely happy for me. He knew it was a big opportunity to come here. He’s from California too, so he was stoked I could come back home. Afterwards I felt amazing, I got to tell my Mom I was coming home. I got to see her after a long time, that was cool.
LHP Patrick Sandoval #32
It’s clear, just from speaking with Patrick Sandoval, that he doesn’t just have the talent of a winner. He has the heart and energy that turns winners into champions. The Angels couldn’t have found a more talented, deserving athlete to bring on board; and the fact that he’s returning home lends greater strength to his natural demeanor. With the Houston Astros organization, Patrick Sandoval was a talent, but with the Angels, Patrick Sandoval will be a star.
Today he dominates the Minor Leagues with his plus-pitches and hard-nosed mentality. Soon that talent won’t just be gracing the Angels, it’ll be a shining example of the disposition and efforts that turn humble athletes into long-time stars. The future may not be now, but it’s as close as it’s ever been.