Surprise Angels call-up absolutely shoved in 2024 debut vs. Tigers against all odds

Sometimes, the best surprises are the ones that are bred from adversity as the Angels just found out.
Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels
Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Teams make roster moves based on necessity over performance all the time, and the Los Angeles Angels are no exception. LA is still reeling from Patrick Sandoval's season-ending surgery news and without a clear replacement for him in the rotation since the Angels very clearly do not want to rush to call up Caden Dana just yet.

On rare occasion, such moves turn out to look absolutely genius. The Angels called up Davis Daniel because they just needed an arm in the big leagues. Daniel has missed bats in the minors to be sure, but he barely pitched last year and sported a 5.33 ERA down at Triple-A this year, so expectations were understandably pretty low.

Well, Daniel did not care at all about what his Triple-A ERA was or what anyone thought he was going to do on Thursday as he went out and absolutely shoved in his first big league start against the Tigers.

Davis Daniel impressed and surprised almost everyone in first MLB start

In fairness to Daniel, it isn't like he hasn't shown that he was a talented pitcher before. Despite missing a lot of time in 2023, the guy did post a 2.15 ERA last year in seven starts and showed flashes here and there of his bat-missing potential in the low minors. Still, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone to bet on him putting on the performance he did in his first big league start outside of maybe his immediate family.

Against the Tigers, Daniel delivered eight scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, ZERO walks, and just four hits allowed. That isn't just "good for a rookie", that is a big-time performance for any pitcher, even if it was against a Detroit offense that can't seem to do much against anyone.

Now that Daniel is already in the big leagues and the Angels are extremely unlikely to add anyone at the trade deadline to replace him in the rotation, this is a prime opportunity that he could very easily seize for good. It is just one start and there are certain to be rough patches here and there like there is for any pitcher, but Daniel's stellar rotation debut has a chance to be one of the few feel-good stories for the Angels in 2024.

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