How Jose Soriano's success helps stabilize the LA Angels rotation

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

We are about a third of the way through the Major League Baseball season, and while the LA Angels haven't played great, they are still only 7.5 games back in the American League West. A large part of that is because of the success of a few starters in their rotation.

One of those arms in Jose Soriano has helped round out the rotation that had a lot of question marks early on in the season.

How Jose Soriano has emerged as a rising starter for the LA Angels

At the start of the 2024 season, Soriano was slated to be worked in as a starter due to the lack of rotation depth. Initially, he was looked at as the sixth starter with the rest of the rotation already filled out. But with his success so far, it seems to have worked out.

This season, Soriano has a 3.30 ERA in 46.1 innings, which already surpasses the workload he put in last season (only 42 innings in the bullpen). The reason for some worry about the mileage on his arm is because he's already had two injuries which required separate surgeries.

However, if he keeps up this success, this could easily be one of the best decisions the team has made this season. So what's been working for him? Well, compared to last season, he has upped his sinker usage from 13.3% to 35.4%. That has ostensibly increased his ground ball percentage from 51.5% to 63.8%, along with a batting average on balls in play of .252 compared to .309 in 2023.

What does this mean? Well, it shows that because his sinker is being used to induce ground balls, the defense behind him is making the plays to record outs. Not focusing on strikeouts is another key component as it allows him to pitch deeper into games.

While he was effective in the bullpen last season, he has most definitely earned his spot in the rotation. With the injury of Chase Silseth, he has quickly filled that void and has been as good — if not better — than when he was when he was in the bullpen.

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