As usual the LA Angels have a plethora of starting pitchers, but how long will it last?
By David Rice
Many were clamoring at the start of the off-season that the LA Angels need to bolster their starting rotation. The Angels added Matt Harvey & Trevor Cahill to the fold, so where does that leave everyone else.
With these additions the LA Angels now have a different issue: Who will be in the starting rotation? The Angels have nine potential starters on the roster. The one question mark is when will injured pitchers Nick Tropeano and J.C. Ramirez will be ready to return. In addition to those two pitchers the Angels have Harvey and Cahill, Andrew Heaney, Jaime Barria, Tyler Skaggs, Felix Pena, and Parker Bridwell will all compete for a spot in the rotation.
Prospects Griffin Canning and Jose Suarez had stand-out seasons in the minors last year for the Angels and are knocking at the door as well. If Tropeano is not ready come Spring Training then the choice is easier for new manager Brad Ausmus as that leaves only seven potential starters left for the rotation.
Assuming everyone is healthy and ready to go when Spring Training begins, who are the favorites to be a part of the Angels starting rotation when the season begins in 2019?
More from Halo Hangout
- New York Post columnist has LA Angels bringing veteran starter back to LA
- Dodgers make wild mistake signing failed LA Angels starter
- Why LA Angels’ Qualifying Offer to Raisel Iglesias could become historical
- Both Gold Glove finalists for LA Angels getting snubbed is a complete joke
- Marcus Stroman definitely appears to be interested in the LA Angels
Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney as well as newly-acquired Matt Harvey are virtual locks for the starting rotation as long as they are healthy and don’t totally self-destruct in Spring Training. Will the Angels put Skaggs and Heaney back-to-back at #1 and #2 in the starting rotation or will they sandwich Matt Harvey in between them is the only question new manager Brad Ausmus has to decide in penciling in the first three starters in the rotation.
In the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation things are not as concrete. You would think that if the Angels are going to bring in a free agent pitcher like they did with Trevor Cahill that he will get a shot to be in the rotation.
Provided Cahill pitches solidly and stays healthy this will most likely be the case to start the season.
So what this leaves is Jaime Barria, who pitched very well in 2018 as the incumbent for the fifth spot, Nick Tropeano and Felix Pena could have something to say about this provided again if they are healthy. Barria has options left so he could be sent down, but he could also pitch in long relief. J.C. Ramirez won’t be ready until at least mid-season and could be placed back into the bullpen to start out as well once he returns. Ramirez flourished in the bullpen during the 2016 season when the Angels claimed him off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
Tropeano however has only ever been a starter so he would probably not be suited for a middle relief role. Felix Pena is another reliever turned starter and could find his way into the bullpen as could Parker Bridwell. Another interesting scenario is that the Angels could decide to go with a six-man rotation like they did early in the season when Shohei Ohtani first came to the team.
If this were the case my money would be on Jaime Barria and Nick Tropeano being the fifth and sixth starters with Bridwell and Pena competing for bullpen spots if they don’t get sent down to the minors to start the season.
Invariably although I’m not wishing this on the Angels, at least one or even two potential starters won’t be ready to start the season. If this is the scenario it will make Ausmus and pitching coach Doug White’s job of putting together the starting rotation easier.
So to recap here is your likely LA Angels starting 5-man and potential 6-man rotation depending on which option they go with.
5-Man Rotation 6-Man Rotation
1. Tyler Skaggs 1. Tyler Skaggs
2. Matt Harvey 2. Matt Harvey
3. Andrew Heaney 3. Andrew Heaney
4. Trevor Cahill 4. Trevor Cahill
5. Nick Tropeano if he’s healthy 5. Jaime Barria
or Jaime Barria if Tropeano’s not ready 6. Nick Tropeano/ Felix Pena
Parker Bridwell, Felix Pena (Bullpen/Minors) Pena and Bridwell (Bullpen/Minors)
We will see how things go the rest of this winter and if Billy Eppler makes any more acquisitions this off-season. Spring Training could also make or break pitchers like Barria, Bridwell, Pena, and Tropeano. There is also a slim chance the Angels could use Trevor Cahill as a set-up man or even a closer if there is no better options. Stay Tuned!!