LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: who gets the final rotation spots?

Alex Cobb (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Alex Cobb (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Angels
Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The beautiful thing about spring training is that it will give Angels fans and the coaching staff a good look at what the organization offers depth-wise. While these following names will not likely break camp as a starter, it is worth mentioning as they are options to use should one of the rotation members miss time with injury.

One of the following players could get their opportunity to start for the Angels in the near future.

Patrick Sandoval LHP

The first is Patrick Sandoval. This is a pitcher who has been lucky enough, through injuries from others, to have an opportunity to show the front office that he is capable of starting at the big-league level. The only problem is that he hasn’t been able to. Over two seasons, he has recorded an underwhelming 1-9 record with a 5.33 ERA, 1.355 WHIP, 5.23 FIP, and 8.1 K/9 over 76.0 IP. Barring any massive improvements, there is little chance Sandoval earns a spot in the rotation this spring. On the plus side, he is only 24-years old, and provides some starting experience should he be called upon during the year. Sandoval is definitely an ideal depth option.

Jose Suarez LHP

Jose Suarez has had a similar start to his career as Sandoval. He is a young arm who has been given the opportunity to prove himself. Much like Sandoval, he couldn’t. Over 83.1 IP, he’s compiled a 2-8 record, 7.99 ERA, 1.776 WHIP, 6.95 FIP, and 8.0 K/9. Suarez won’t make the rotation this spring, but like Sandoval, he’s young (23) and has had experience starting at the big league level. I’m confident in having those two options waiting at triple-A should they be needed.

Jake Faria

Jake Faria is an interesting option. He stormed onto the scene in his rookie season with the Rays, where he had a 3.43 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 4.12 FIP, and 8.7 K/9 over 86.2 IP. However, he has seriously regressed since then. He didn’t pitch at the major-league level in 2020, and from 2018-19 he accumulated a 5.70 ERA, 1.590 WHIP, 5.45 FIP, and 7.4 K/9 over 83.2 innings pitched. The Angels signed him to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. He is likely to compete for a bullpen spot, but if Faria can return to his rookie self, he could force his way into the rotation. That is not very likely, but it may be an interesting story to keep an eye on.


A few long-shots include 2020 first-round pick Reid Detmers, Chris Rodriguez, and Hector Yan. They are all promising young prospects, but they are unlikely to make the team as a starter regardless of how they do in camp. Still, it’ll be fun to watch how these arms stack up with the more solidified options.

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My prediction is that when spring training is wrapping up, Quintana and Cobb will round out the No. 5 and No.6 spots. However, I think Barria will force Maddon to make a tough decision. If Barria performs well in spring, maybe it even helps to motivate Cobb to pitch better. If Cobb indeed earns that final spot, Barria will remain on the active roster but won’t be far away if Cobb struggles.