The Angels Anonymous Rotation
Anonymous may be a stretch, but I’m a sucker for alliteration. Chances are you know a couple of the names in the current Angels starting rotation, but their stat lines wouldn’t usually be recognizable on a team that finds themselves in a playoff hunt more than halfway through September.
The Los Angeles Angels find themselves just 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot with under two weeks left in the season. It is almost inexplicable how the Angels have 76 wins and an actual chance at a playoff game considering the long list of factors stacked up against them. We all thought Mike Trout being out for a couple of months would be enough to do them in, then we have Albert Pujols… enough said there, but the one thing that seemed almost insurmountable is the starting rotation, especially in its current state, and all of its injuries.
13 pitchers have started a game for the Angels in 2017, three of which are currently on the 60 day disabled list; J.C. Ramirez, Matt Shoemaker, and Alex Meyer. This brings us to their current rotation listed on the team website’s depth chart.
34 year old Ricky Nolasco is the team’s number one as of right now and he isn’t exactly having his best season. From their we have Garrett Richards, who has only made four starts since returning from a biceps injury, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, and Parker Bridwell.
It is no secret that the statistics have not been good for Angels starting pitchers. We will leave Richards out of the discussion for now as only time will tell how much he contributes to the playoff push.
There are sky high ERA’s, not a single FIP under four, and only one pitcher has a WAR above one. I’ll repeat that, ONLY ONE PITCHER IN A ROTATION THAT FINDS THEMSELVES IN A PLAYOFF CHASE ON SEPTEMBER 20TH HAS BEEN WORTH ONE FULL WIN.
So, who is that lone “bright” spot? While Parker Bridwell’s WAR is just 1.7, he has done it in just 17 starts, most of which have been very impressive. Prior to the 2017 season, Bridwell had pitched only 3.1 innings in two bullpen appearances for the Baltimore Orioles. Now, he is 8-2 and, albeit with few other options, the go to guy if the Angels need a win.
The question for Bridwell will be whether or not it is sustainable. With a FIP at 4.56 and a whole bunch of inexperience, I’d love to see how he continues to perform in 2017. Bridwell, the rotation, and the Angels in general have the potential to be one of those teams that back into the playoffs and turn into a story that we talk about for years to come. While the other wild card chasers have dropped off one by one in September, thanks in large part to their rotations, the Angels have held steady and have found a way to eek out wins. Of course… having Mike Trout always helps.
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