Noah Syndergaard helps fill out the LA Angels rotation
There's no doubt that Noah Syndergaard is a huge get for the LA Angels should he perform well after not pitching for almost two years. He's coming off of two Tommy John surgeries in his career, so it's understandable to be concerned with his injury-filled past. But the potential for a comeback season could be very beneficial for an Angels rotation that is starving for quality starting pitching.
The biggest thing for this Syndergaard signing will be whether he can put together his two best previous seasons.
In 2016, Syndergaard threw the best pitching performance of his career with a 2.60 ERA in 183.2 innings of work with 218 strikeouts. He also led the league with a FIP of 2.29. This ended up earning him his first and only All-Star appearance.
In 2019, while his ERA was a high 4.28, he was still able to log 197.2 innings which shows his value in making his starts. While one of the causes of his injuries was throwing breaking pitches, that also might be the key to his effectiveness.
According to Baseball Savant, in Syndergaard's best season (2016), he threw a mix of five pitches, all in various frequency. This included a 4-seam fastball (35.2%), sinker (23.9%), slider (21.2%), changeup (11.1%), and a curveball (8.5%).
In 2021, despite only throwing two innings, we saw him exclusively throw a 4-seam fastball, changeup, and sinker. He may not like it, but if he wants to get back to being more effective, he'll have to throw more of his breaking stuff while trying to feel comfortable with them.
The LA Angels still need veteran presence
Despite the LA Angels landing Syndergaard, he'll mostly be looked at as a guy trying to prove himself to the team and to others for seasons beyond 2021. If the Angels are serious about being contenders for the 2021 season, then they need one of the big remaining free agent starters out there. With Justin Verlander going back to the Astros, they'll have some options with Marcus Stroman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer. Landing any one of these veteran starters will be huge for the rather young starting pitching depth the Angels currently have.
Should the team land one of these big free agent starters, that will presumably give them three options in a potential 6-man rotation. The number one starter, Noah Syndergaard, and Shohei Ohtani as he'll definitely get his fair share of starts. That leaves three more rotation spots with names like Reid Detmers, Jhonathan Diaz, Griffin Canning, Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria, and Patrick Sandoval all having a realistic shot at making the rotation.
Diaz, Saurez, and Barria have found themselves in the bullpen before and could see themselves there again unless they produce. All of these pitchers are the young core of the Angels' starting pitching that could use a proper mentor. The Angels rotation landed the man that calls himself 'Thor' in Syndergaard, but will need a 'Captain America.'