Angels Baseball: Three potential obstacles to the 2020 season
By Kyle Franzoni
2020 Angels Season Obstacles: Pitching Health
As previously mentioned, the Angels have had a rough go of things when it comes to their pitching staff. Injuries have tanked the team’s hope over the last several years. In fact, the Halos have had exactly seven pitchers throw more than 170 innings in a season since 2014 and not since 2015 have two starters achieved the feat in the same season.
The lack of innings from their starting pitchers have made it awfully difficult for the Angels to make any noise in the division and is the biggest factor for why the team has failed to make a postseason appearance since 2014. That’s one reason the team was adamant to add starting pitching this winter.
Unfortunately, the Halos were unable to add a frontline starter, but they managed to still make some solid additions to their staff even if they lacked the appeal of Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.
In Julio Teheran, they found a consistent arm that has a proven track record of eating innings. Likewise, they plucked former top prospect, Dylan Bundy, from the Orioles in hopes of a reclamation project. Added to the plethora of depth arms and prospects looking to make the jump, the Angels profiled to have a solid amount of depth. The hiccup of depth though is that team’s ideally don’t want to use it.
As the Angels enter 2020, the team will feature a six-man rotation consisting of some mix of Teheran, Bundy, Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, and one of the said depth pieces in the sixth spot. The problem there is that Ohtani is returning from Tommy John surgery, Canning had elbow issues both at the end of last season and at the beginning of Spring Training, and Heaney has his own challenges with making starts.
All that adds up to the question of whether the Angels can keep their staff healthy over the course of the season, even in a shortened format. The benefit of a six-man rotation and the shortened season is that innings will be limited, but so too will be the ramp-up to get those arms ready.
If they can keep everyone healthy and solve some productivity issues with Bundy, the Angels could be dangerous. If not, there is always next season.