LA Angels Series Preview: Getting Wild with the Orioles
By Ryan Falla
Uncertainties in the starting staff
The Angels just released Matt Harvey and are missing Andrew Heaney due to shoulder inflammation, so there is some question as to who will be filling those games in these upcoming series’. The first player that comes to mind is Dillon Peters, whom the Angels received in an offseason trade for Minor League pitcher Tyler Stevens. Peters has pitched 13.2 innings for the Halos and has maintain a 2.63 ERA in that short sample size. His last outing came in the form of start and his second to last outing was a 5 IP affair. His first five inning outing of the season came against the Mariners in a game which he threw 5.2 innings of 3 run baseball with 7 hits allowed. It’s not the hottest line for sure, but what it did was hold down the fort for the Angels offense to take over the game and secure a victory.
In his only start of the season, just four days ago, Peters pitched 5 innings of 4-hit ball with no walks and 4 K’s against the Mariners. The improvements are plain as day; Peters is one of the few low-cost offseason acquisitions that seem to be taking a positive turn for the Angels. Putting Peters up against the Orioles would provide the perfect ground to see exactly what kind of value he can provide for the Angels down the stretch. Is he going to be a guy whose only role is to eat up 4 or 5 innings in his starts and hope that the bullpen can keep the game together for the Angels or is he a guy who can twirl quality outings here and there?
If he can continue improving as he has all season long there is the chance that he can hold down a spot in the Angels lineup as someone who can get them through a handful of innings to start a game. The fact is that Peters is 26 and is showing an evidenced ability to evolve, if he can continue making even the most minuscule improvements in his game there might be something very real with him down the line. For now Peters is looking to be a fill-in guy, but the opportunity and ability for growth are both very much there.
Another option would be one of the Angels top pitching prospects, LHP Patrick Sandoval. The lefty starter has had some struggles in Triple-A through 54.2 IP this season, but despite that he’s shown a distinct maturity on the mound and an impressive ability to control and maintain his rhythm throughout his starts. He is working through a few learning curves in the higher levels of the MiLB, but regardless of that he has the talents to be a middle to bottom end of the starting rotation at worst. At best Patrick Sandoval can provide punch as a #2/#3 starter with keen strikeout ability and bulldog dominance on the mound. There is still a bit of development to be had with Sandoval, but giving him a shot for live MLB action could boost his development by introducing him to the acclimation he’ll need to make to succeed in the Majors.
I don’t see Sandoval coming up and smoothing into success like Griffin Canning, but if the Angels want to test his current ability and get a stronger idea for where his development lies it would be apt to allow him a start against either the Orioles or Tigers.