Former LA Angels pitchers to target: Matt Shoemaker
Matt Shoemaker came out of nowhere. As an undrafted free agent, he signed an amateur contract with the Angels in 2008. He had a brief 5 inning stint in 2013 before his first full season in 2014. In that season he not only made a name for himself but was virtually lights-out. He held a record of 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.074 WHIP, 3.26 FIP, and 8.2 K/9 over 136 innings. For his efforts, he was an American League Rookie of the Year finalist, finishing second to The White Sox’ Jose Abreu.
Shoemaker set lofty expectations that he would never quite meet again. Over the course of his next 4 seasons, from 2015 to 2018, he was solid, at best. His record was 24-28, with a 4.28 ERA, 1.252 WHIP, 4.17 FIP, and 8.0 K/9 over 404 innings.
With his fastball only averaging around 91mph, his calling card is his offspeed pitches and vast repertoire. He features a 4-seam fastball, sinker, slider, changeup, and curveball. After the 2016 season, he replaced the changeup for a splitter, which he has since used about 30% of the time.
Los Angeles Angels
After the 2018 season, he became a free agent and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. In Shoemaker-like fashion he gave an incredible first-impression to Jays fans, over his first 5 starts, he had a record of 3-0, a 1.57 ERA, 0.872 WHIP, and 3.95 FIP.
Unfortunately for Shoemaker and the Jays, he suffered a torn ACL during a rundown and was out for the rest of the year. Much like Richards, he hasn’t really had a chance to prove himself, as he only made 5 starts the following year before being sidelined with shoulder inflammation. The injury would keep him out for a large chunk of the remainder of the shortened season, as he would return later for just one start.
In 2020, he had a 4.71 ERA, 1.081 WHIP, 5.95 FIP, 8.2 K/9 over 28.2 innings. While those numbers are not encouraging, it would afford the Halos to sign him for a low cost and work hard to help him bounce back.
This offseason, he too is a free agent. With many Angels fans scoffing at the idea and wanting to look to the future, to them I say, beggars can’t be choosers. With the Angels desperate for pitching, and a thin pitching market, they must be able to consider all options. Along with Richards, he would also fit the “second pitcher” bill. In a perfect world, they don’t rely on Shoemaker to steer the team in the right direction, but instead to serve as an upgrade from Peters in the long relief role. He would be a solid addition, I just hope he is not the marquee acquisition.