LA Angels starting rotation order suggests a breakout year from surprise Halo starter

Patrick Sandoval, LA Angels
Patrick Sandoval, LA Angels / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Angels announced their starting rotation order last week, and there was a bit of a surprise in there. The order is this:

1. Shohei Ohtani

2. Patrick Sandoval

3. Noah Syndergaard

4. Jose Suarez

5. Michael Lorenzen

6. Reid Detmers

Surprisingly, Sandoval was listed ahead of Syndergaard...The same Syndergaard who's been starting games since 2015 and has a lifetime 3.32 ERA and 2.93 FIP. The same Syndergaard who's been an All-Star and owns a lifetime 47-31 record despite having no run support his entire career.

The LA Angels clearly believe Patrick Sandoval is going to have a breakout year.

If Patrick Sandoval is going to be better than the outstanding Syndergaard, then that means he's going to have a HUGE year. And I wouldn't put it past him. Sandoval had the best year of his career last year; really picking the team up when the Jose Quintana signing proved to be horrible.

Last season, Sandy recorded a 3.62 ERA to go along with a 124 ERA+ and struck out a solid 9.7 batters per nine innings. Syndergaard has only pitched two innings in the last two years, but he's still Syndergaard. For what it's worth, he looked great in the spring, and he can always be trusted. He's the same one who owns a lifetime postseason ERA of 2.42 and FIP of 1.64 (five games). He's a big-game pitcher.

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For the coaching staff to put even more trust into Sandoval certainly does mean a lot. Sandoval had a rough spring, so this move has to be in response to his season and growth last year, and not wanting to count on Thor too much as he comes back from his serious UCL injury. Both will have good years, and the fact that the Angels have options like this will never be a bad thing.