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Angels pitching woes - lack of quality depth

It’s still early but signs are already pointing to it being a long, long season

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Remember back in early December when I wrote an article about the Angels stockpiling starting pitchers? What happened to all of them? The problem as I said then was lots of pitcher, few standouts. Quantity not quality - with the hope some would be a diamond in the rough. But what if none of them are?

Opening day Angels rotation:

  1. Jesse Chavez
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. Garrett Richards
  4. Matt Shoemaker
  5. Tyler Skaggs

Angels current rotation:

  1. Jesse Chavez
  2. Ricky Nolasco
  3. JC Ramirez
  4. Matt Shoemaker
  5. Daniel Wright

What happened to those 13 pitchers from that article? That list is below, and at the time, it didn’t even include Bud Norris (who seems to set as long man in the pen), and John Lamb who started the season the Salt Lake Bees DL.

  1. Garrett Richards. One start then on the DL. Eerily reminiscent of last year when he only made his first start of the season. The staff is too thin to be without Richards for any extended period of time.
  2. Tyler Skaggs - Skaggs had a rocky first few games but was great in his last few starts. He’s out now with an oblique injury for about 3 months.
  3. Ricky Nolasco - I never expected Nolasco to be as good as he was last year. Maybe a 4.00 ERA kind guy who can go 6 innings most days, which at a 4.13 ERA and 28.1 innings over 5 game is about exactly what he is so far. Nothing outstanding but good enough to keep the Angels in most games.
  4. Matt Shoemaker - Like Skaggs, he started slow then pitched well. At this point, we need Shoemaker to be good and he’s the most solid and reliable pitcher the Angels have that is capable of a 3.00 ERA or so season.
  5. Jesse Chavez - Chavez is barely a 5th starter but on the Angels he’s probably the #3 or #4 guy right now. Hopefully he can come around as the season progresses and get back into that starter mentality. Right now he’s sitting at a pretty mediocre 4.5- ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
  6. Alex Meyer - Meyer’s MLB start was not great and in Salt Lake he is 1-3 with a 6.16 ERA and 1.79 ERA. He seems destined to be a multi inning bullpen dude since he can’t seem to put together a string of good innings where he doesn't’ lose his control.
  7. Daniel Wright - Wright seems like the #5 guy in the rotation now that Skaggs is down. He had a solid 5 inning scoreless start on April 23rd and will be tested in his second start of the season against the Mariners.
  8. Nate Smith - Sadly, Smith started the season on the DL. He was shut down at the end of 2016 with elbow tendinitis. He is currently out with a “forearm strain” which is basically code for “see you in 12-18 months”.
  9. JC Ramirez - Ramirez has a shaky first career start but has been surprisingly awesome since that game. He has been just nasty with his strikeout pitches and could be dark horse that the Angels needs this year.
  10. Vicente Campos - Back in February, Campos said he was at 100% and ready to compete for a rotation spot. Then he was put on the DL at the beginning of April. He’s back now, but in his first 3.2 innings (2 games), he has allowed 5 walks and9 hits for a .500 BAA and 3.82 WHIP. He’s not going to be a help any time soon.
  11. Manny Banuelos - Banuelos doesn’t have any options so I don’t think he gets called up until they know he is ready. He’s struggled a bit in Salt Lake and has a 4.78 ERA and 1.41 WHIP but has only allowed 1 homerun and has a .235 BAA.
  12. Troy Scribner - Scribner seemed to have disappeared then showed up pitching for the Bees. He is now 3-0 in 4 starts with a 3.80 ERA and 1.36 WHIP with 24Ks in 21.1 IP.
  13. Brooks Pounders - At this point he’s more of a bullpen piece than a starter option as he’s not good for more than 40-50 pitches at a time currently.

Where does that leave the Angels? Not in a good spot really. Daniel Wright appears to be the next man up, but who do the Angels have after that?

Nate Smith seems to be out. Campos isn’t ready. Meyer continues to struggle as a starter. Banuelos may soon be an option and outside of him you have maybe Troy Scribner. Alex Blackford could be an option down the road as well but he has pitched only has 18 innings above the AA level. Outside of Campos, all of those guys are out of options so they likely don’t get called up unless it’s dire. Meyer and Campos seems to be the next in line if the Angels continue to be plagued with the injury bug.

All of this leave the Angels in a very precarious position. One in which you could could see Alex Meyer, Vicente Campos, JC Ramirez, and Daniel Wright get regular starts.

If you knew those guys could be regular pieces in the Angels rotation at the start of the season - where would have placed them to finish?