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Trevor Bauer vs. Marcus Stroman: Who is the Better Fit For the Angels?

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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during game one of a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park on September 14, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during game one of a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park on September 14, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Angels free agent target Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman, New York Mets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Angels Free Agent Target: Marcus Stroman

Stroman has not thrown a pitch in the majors since September 27, 2019, as he didn’t play this past season due to an early calf muscle tear and then later opting-out over Covid concerns. However, in the 2019 season, he was named to the all-star team while spending time playing for the Toronto Blue Jays (21 games) and New York Mets (11 games). In that season, he pitched to the tune of a 3.22 ERA, 1.307 WHIP, 3.72 FIP, 7.8 K/9 over 184.1 innings.

That all-star nod will most likely be Stroman’s most important negotiating tool, and with a relatively thin free agent starting pitcher class, it is likely to work in Stroman’s favor. While Stroman will be expecting a big raise from his 2019 salary of $12 million, it will most likely be considerably south of Bauer’s projected salary. This will factor into the decision of which player to sign (in this hypothetical).

Stroman’s career statistics against AL West teams (excluding the Angels) is decent but slightly worse than Bauer, as AL West opponent hitters have registered a slash line of .278/.331/.386. While it’s a set of unreliable numbers, these numbers tell a story and are fairly consistent with his career stats. While the batting average is on the wrong side of .250, he limits hitters from extra-bases.

A reason for that is Stroman’s prolific ability to induce ground balls. Over the course of his career, he has recorded a ground ball percentage of 58.6%, which puts him as the 3rd ranked starting pitcher in the category from 2014-2019 behind just Dallas Keuchel and Luis Perdomo. Although the Angels are not expected to re-sign defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons, they still have one of the best infields in the league, headlined by David Fletcher and Anthony Rendon. It remains to be seen how the Angels will fill the hole in the infield, whether it be with internal options or bringing in outside help, regardless of the direction they go, the Angels infield will still be a force in the league, making Stroman a good fit.

Like Bauer, Stroman will turn 30 next season, which would also make him the oldest member of the Angels rotation. Stroman also brings postseason experience to the team, having led the Blue Jays to the AL Championship Series in both 2015 and 2016.

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