LA Angels News

LA Angels Series Preview: 2020 Starts in Cincinnati

By Ryan Falla
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 30: Matt Thaiss #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by Mike Trout #27 as he walks into the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the second inning agaisnt the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 30: Matt Thaiss #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by Mike Trout #27 as he walks into the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the second inning agaisnt the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 30, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Looking at 2020 in 2019

The Angels have Patrick Sandoval making his big league debut with Jose Suarez set to take the second game in this series. Patrick Sandoval is the top pitching prospect within the Angels system yet is still a bit underrated regarding his skill-set. Many talent elevators see him as a back-end rotation piece given his mid 90’s fastball alongside his above average breaking balls, but don’t let those evaluations dictate his ceiling.

Patrick Sandoval’s MLB floor is very much that of a back-end starter or bullpen arm, but at best Sandoval has the stuff to anchor the middle of a rotation in a big way. His pitching arsenal may not have the most lights out stuff around the MLB, but the factor that will dictate how far his arsenal will take him is his mental approach to the game.

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I gotta tell you, from meeting and speaking with Patrick Sandoval multiple times, there is something special about the head on his shoulders. The way he approaches the game is with the mindset of a bulldog, he is an absolute killer in every sense of the word. He doesn’t just look to get outs, he looks to slay the competition in every at-bat, with every pitch. I know you probably think all pitchers have that mentality, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. There are pitchers who are looking to get the job done, and then there are pitchers who look to perform above and beyond and establish themselves as a true dominant force on the playing field. Sandoval falls into the latter category. If you are not convinced of this, watch for yourselves Monday afternoon and see what you think about the make up of Patrick Sandoval.

This mentality comes out during game time in many different ways; from how he controls the pace and rhythm of the game to his noticeable precision when it comes to setting up and finishing off hitters whether it’s with a K or a contact out. Sandoval has strong enough stuff to bring in steady K’s, noted by his K/9 rate of 11.0 on the 2019 MiLB season (2010 saw a K/9 rate of 10.7 for Sandoval). His fastball, despite sitting in the mid 90’s, has notable finishing “zip” as well enough late movement to make it an MLB competitive pitch. On top of that he has a strong curveball that works phenomenally when set up properly off of his fastball. His change-up is very much a weapon that can get late count ground outs as well as the strikeout.

While there is a lot that can be said about his talent his 2019 numbers in Triple-A haven’t been where many would want them to be (6.41 ERA in 60.1 Triple A IP), but the truth is those numbers say much less about Sandoval than you would think.

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