LA Angels starting pitcher first half grade: Patrick Sandoval
Thanks to a great season in 2022, Patrick Sandoval was Phil Nevin's choice as the Angels second starter. He had earned it. Sandoval looked outstanding in the World Baseball Classic giving Angels fans reason to believe another step would be taken by this left-hander. Unfortunately, Sandoval has been a disappointment.
Through 16 starts, Sandoval has a 4.41 ERA in 85.2 innings pitched. He's had some good starts, but a lot of so-so to bad starts.
He's gone more than five innings just five times this season as even when he's pitched pretty well he's been hurt by elevated pitch counts. He's already allowed more than five runs in a start four times this season after doing so just three times in 2022.
Even when Sandoval clearly had to work on getting deeper into games and limiting the elevated pitch counts, he did a good job pitching effectively through trouble. This season, opponents are hitting .265 against him with runners in scoring position, a far cry from the .220 mark opponents hit last season in those spots.
His walk rate has stayed relatively the same, but his strikeout rate has plummeted from an above-average 23.7% in 2022 to 18.2% this season. Additionally, he's already given up six home runs this season after giving up just eight last season.
The 26-year-old hasn't taken the step many Angels fans hoped for, instead, he's taken a couple steps back. Hopefully he can rebound in the second half.