Three Breakout Candidates for the LA Angels
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels are looking for a much better season in 2019 than the one they just endured. If they truly hope to make it back to the playoffs, they’ll need some players to really turn their potential into production this year, and these three players have all the capabilities to be a key factor in a playoff run.
This one is almost cheating, as the LA Angels saw Barria break out as a rookie last season to the tune of a 3.41 ERA, highest among Non-Shohei Ohtani pitchers in the rotation.
In 2019, however, Jaime Barria has the potential to make or break the Angels’ rotation. If he can break out further, lowering his walk numbers while boosting strikeouts, Barria can make the Angels’ rotation absolutely elite.
For the Angels to truly contend, and have a three-headed monster in their rotation of Skaggs, Heaney, and Barria, they can not only compete for a Wild Card spot, but could also make some noise in the American League West given the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics lack of starting pitching.
Jaime Barria seems to be aware of how important a breakout sophomore campaign is as well, as he reportedly showed up to Spring Training looking noticeably leaner. While physique isn’t as important for pitchers as other players (Bartolo Colon is still a free agent, just saying), any time a player shows up in much better shape, it shows how hard they worked over the offseason.
Behind Skaggs and Heaney, the Angels’ rotation is mostly a question mark with Barria and veterans Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill filling out the group. If Barria can ascend to new heights in 2019, it turns elevates group from good enough to an absolute weapon.