Starting pitching was supposed to be a strength for the Los Angeles Angels entering this season. They just ended the 2022 season ranking sixth in rotation ERA in all of baseball. Shohei Ohtani was coming off a Cy Young caliber year, the young starters surrounding him all took leaps in the second half, and the Angels brought in Tyler Anderson who was an all-star in 2022 and seemed to be better than the likes of Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen.
It's safe to say that this rotation that the Angels hoped would be among the league's best again has taken a massive step in the wrong direction. The team ranks 20th in the majors with a 4.65 ERA and 20th with a 4.51 FIP. They've been inconsistent at best all season long, and Patrick Sandoval has been a key part of those struggles.
The Angels southpaw has taken a step back following what was an encouraging first full year in the Angels rotation. This has caused frustrated fans to want him moved this offseason. While I can't say I blame them, there're more reasons for the Angels to hold onto Sandoval than there are for them to move him.
The LA Angels should keep Patrick Sandoval because he's already shown he can be an all-star caliber starting pitcher
The southpaw had a 2.91 ERA in 27 starts and 148.2 innings pitched. He had a 3.09 FIP, a 138 ERA+, and allowed just eight home runs (0.5 HR/9). Sandoval allowed three runs or fewer in all but four of his starts which is simply outstanding. He completed five innings in all but six of his outings which is solid.
Had Sandoval had enough innings to qualify, he would've ranked ninth in the American League in ERA. He didn't pitch as many innings as others due to the Angels six-man rotation, but if ninth in ERA isn't all-star worthy I'm not quite sure what is.
This season has not been the same for Sandoval. He's had many more rough outings, he's been far more inconsistent, and he's cost the Angels some games they might've won if he pitched better. As frustrating as that is, it's not impossible for Sandoval to simply go back to the pitcher he was in 2022.