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Angels stockpile - how many starting pitchers are too many?

The Angels have 13 starting pitchers who could take the mound at some point in 2017

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Many teams are looking for starting pitching this off-season and the Angels actually have a LOT of it. Granted, we aren’t talking about a bunch of 1, 2 or #3 starter types, but the numbers are there.

Starting pitchers who are big-league ready (or will be soon):

  1. Garrett Richards
  2. Tyler Skaggs
  3. Ricky Nolasco
  4. Matt Shoemaker
  5. Jesse Chavez
  6. Alex Meyer
  7. Daniel Wright
  8. Nate Smith
  9. JC Ramirez
  10. Vicente Campos
  11. Manny Banuelos
  12. Troy Scribner
  13. Brooks Pounder

That’s one heck of a list right? 1-5 are probably not going anywhere, though anything is possible. I’d hate to see someone like Shoemaker or Skaggs go, but they certainly would be good trade bait. It’s a long season and the Angels were hit hard by injuries in 2016 so some depth is needed. But 13 guys?

Alex Meyer still has a bit of work to do but made some adjustments in September. He could certainly pitch in a rotation to start the season if not shortly after.

Daniel Wright started 5 pretty mediocre games in September but he has 39 big league innings under his belt and seemed to get better as his starts went on.

Nate Smith spent the season in AAA with a good first half followed by a not so great second half, but his big league debut is just a matter of time.

The Angels have already said they are going to stretch out JC Ramirez to be a starter in 2017. He hasn’t started a game in his career but stretching him out could make him a viable starter or long reliever at some point.

Vicente Campos is coming off a surgery and could pitch, but that likelihood may be more like mid-season.

Manny Banuelos is probably a longer shot and may spend most of his time in AAA. He’s yet to make his big league debut.

Troy Scribner was impressive in 2016 at both the AA and AAA levels. He had a combined 3.41 ERA and even managed a 3.30 in the hitter-friendly PCL. He has shown a lot of promise and has the potential to crack a starting rotation in 2017.

Brooks Pounder was recently acquired in a trade for minor league Jared Ruxor. He has some big league experience and will get a shot in spring training. Read more about him here.

Who pitches in 2017?

So what do the Angels do with all these pitchers? You can never have enough pitching - that is true. But the Angels greatest remaining need is a second baseman. Since the free agent market is very lacking in talent, the Angels will have to trade for one. Dangling a major league ready starting pitcher may be just the thing to snag a GOOD second baseman.

The Angels don’t need 13 starting pitchers. This list doesn’t even include Salt Lake pitchers Blayne Weller and Kyle McGowin (or some of the AA guys who may start in AAA next year like Chris O’Grady, Alex Blackford and Jordan Kipper). At least 4-5 of these pitchers will start the season at AAA. 5 more will make the big league rotation. But what about the other 3-4? Long relief? Stash in the minors? Trade them?

Lots of pitchers, few standouts

Either way it shakes out, the Angels have a metric crap ton of starting pitchers. However, quantity does not always equal quality. Garrett Richards is the closest the Angels have to a #1 guy and he’s more like a #2 or even #3 on a team with a great pitching squad. Not to mention, his 2017 future is uncertain coming off a UCL tear. Matt Shoemaker has proven to be a good quality starter. Tyler Skaggs may still have some kinks to work out. Ricky Nolasco is a 4.5ish ERA kinda guy and Jesse Chavez didn’t even start a game in 2016.

If you are aren’t at least a little bit worried about our pitching staff for 2017, you should be. It looks a lot like 2016 doesn’t it? Lots of guys that can pitch, lots of potential, but a lot of question marks.