Who are the candidates for the Angels’ six-man rotation?
Angels Six-Man Rotation – The Final Candidates
With Teheran, Ohtani, Heaney, Canning, and Bundy expected to comprise the first five spots of the rotation, that leaves one spot up for grabs, minus the possibility of spot starts for rest or injury reasons. Luckily the Angels have quite a few able arms to potentially take a start or two, or even piggy-back with one another.
Another offseason trade acquisition, Andriese brings with him an interesting piece of experience that most Angels starts do not; starts as an “opener”. An arm that has spent years bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation, Andriese is no stranger to being deployed as needed at the major league level. The opener experience is especially enticing for the Angels, as it will allow them to potentially keep multiple arms healthier by limiting their innings through pairing. The right-hander has made 167 appearances over five seasons, including 49 starts. He has a lifetime ERA of 4.58, a FIP of 4.22, and an 8.2 K/9.
In two seasons with the Angels, Pena has made 41 appearances and 24 starts. As splits would go, he’s actually profiled best as a starter, where he owns a 4.32 ERA, an 8.1 K./9, and held opponents to a .239/.309/.388 slash line as a rotation piece. As a reliever, his ERA climbs to 4.67 and he’s been more susceptible to the home run ball in relief (22 to 15) despite fewer innings out of the bullpen (113.2 vs 118.2).
Sandoval made his MLB debut as a 22-year-old in 2019, and the results were mixed. In 10 games (9 starts), the rookie threw 39.1 innings of 5.03 ball, carrying a solid K/9 at 9.6 but struggling with walks with a 4.3 BB/9 mark. While there were pluses and minuses there, his similar work in the minors (even in hitter-friendly leagues) likely requires the need for more seasoning. The potential is there though, and in a pinch, the Angels could again turn to Sandoval, but he doesn’t strike as a potential addition to the staff to start the season.
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Jose Saurez and Dillon Peters also made quite a few starts for the Angels in 2019 and could be seen as taxi squad options, but given their struggles last season, it would be tough for them to break camp with the team as part of the rotation.