The Angels are currently rumored to be in the mix for Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, a possible solution to the rotation struggles.
Finally, we get some whispers on the rumor mill linking the Angels to a starting pitcher. According to Jon Paul Morosi on MLB Network, the Angels have been having preliminary discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding right handed starting pitcher Joe Musgrove.
Joe Musgrove is a 28-year-old pitcher who is currently experiencing a career upswing. Musgrove was a top prospect in the Houston Astros system a few years ago, but was dealt in the trade that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros. He was the headliner at the time and while the Astros likely got the better end of that deal, Musgrove is still a young controllable piece with a lot of talent.
Musgrove made eight starts in 2020 and posted a 3.42 FIP with 55 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. The year prior, he posted a 3.82 FIP and in 2018, posted a 3.58 FIP. He’s a really solid pitcher. He has started to strike out batters at a prolific rate as well, shown by his 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings rate in 2020. The right hander has also dramatically improved his ability to limit hard contact as he only allowed a 93th percentile exit velocity and 79th percentile hard hit rate in 2020, compared to 42nd percentile and 29th percentile marks, respectively in 2019.
The Angels will enter the season using a six-man rotation to accommodate the schedule and routine of Shohei Ohtani, while also making a conscious effort to get their starters some rest. Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney, and Griffin Canning figure to all have rotation spots lined up for 2021, but the Angels have two spots to fill. If the Angels could slot a guy like Musgrove into their second or third slot in the rotation, that would be a huge boon to the complexion of the rotation. Musgrove is a high upside play like Dylan Bundy was when the Angels traded to get him out of the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
The fact that the Angels are demonstrating some serious interest in Musgrove means they are pulling the right strings to get the 2021 pitching staff where it needs to be and fans should be excited for the prospects of the upcoming season. When we are talking about someone like Musgrove who has gotten better every season and has the arsenal of an ace, we could be talking about a potential steal in a trade.