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Angels rotation is starting to take shape

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Spring training has passed the halfway mark

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Angels Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve passed the halfway mark in Spring training and on Tuesday, the Angels get their very first day off this season. Among all the starting pitchers so far in camp, we’re starting to see some clear rotation leaders.

Top Tier

  1. Garrett Richards - GRich has been locked in (for the most part) and has a lot to prove this season (including staying healthy for 25+ starts). Over his 4 starts, he’s allowed4 ER over 12.2 innings and has struck out 14. He hit some bumps in his last start, including 5 walks but managed to work his way out of having too much trouble.
  2. JC Ramirez - Dude has been looking like the JCy from the first half of 2017. Sometimes spring stats are hard to take much weight in, but with 11 Ks and ZERO walks, Ramirez is looking good. He HAS allowed 2 home runs, so when he has made mistakes they’ve been big ones but has allowed only 5 total hits in 9.2 innings.
  3. Andrew Heaney - After allowing 12 home runs in 21.2 innings last year, Heaney has been back on track and over his 8.1 spring innings has allowed just 1 ER on 12 Ks and 1 walk.

Next Group (no options)

Matt Shoemaker - A perfect example of a guy who will not want to take spring stats too much to heart. So far Shoey has given up 15 hits, 5 home runs, 2 walks, and 10 ERs over his 8.1 innings. After his last start, Shoemaker noted that his slider and splitter are not yet where they need to be - so there is definitely hope these early numbers are just a blip.

John Lamb - Lamb is a guy fighting to even MAKE the roster since he’s not currently on the 40 man. He has looked really good in three of his four appearances and has a shot at cracking the roster if these next two weeks go well for him. It’s boom or bust for this guy. Lamb man land in the bullpen if he does make the cut.

Options Guys

Tyler Skaggs - Like Shoemaker, Skaggs has had a rough go so far but he’s also working on fine tuning his changeup. Skaggs’ primary pitches are a fastball and curve so he’s been really working on that 3rd pitch this spring. Working on a pitch = less than stellar results and that is to be expected. Skaggs has given up 3 long balls and 9 hits over 8 innings.

Shohei Ohtani - Did you know that Ohtani isn’t even on the 40 man roster at this point? Oh he will be for sure, but they haven’t gotten to that formality yet. The Angels are still trying to break Ohtani into MLB pitching and the results have been pretty mixed. In one game he flashed upper 90s and another didn’t pitch much over 92. His last two starts have been pretty controlled (and against minor leaguers) but later this week he’ll be back to facing big league hitters. WHAT IF Ohtani starts the season in AAA? Would you be surprised?

Parker Bridwell - Bridwell has options so he needs to earn his spot back on the team. He’s already been beat up twice in 4 games and has allowed 17 combined hits and walks over 9 innings. To be fair, Bridwell didn’t pitch all that well in limited innings last spring either and he still had a great season.

Nick Tropeano - It’s hard to say much about Tropeano given that he’s only tossed 3.1 innings this spring. This is a guy who’s pitching games for the first time since his TJ surgery so the Angels will understandably work him in slowly. His last start was a B game in which he gave up 5 ER over 3 innings.

Waiting in the Wings

Jaime Barria - His 4.76 ERA doesn’t really reflect the solid spring that Barria had. He pitched 5.2 innings and struck out 6 with a 1.059 WHIP. This 21 year old held his own and will be back in AAA for some more experience.

Troy Scribner - Having been on the big league roster a bit last year, Scribner will start the season back in AAA again. He only threw 1.1 innings this spring in one appearance in which he gave up 2 walks and struck out 1. Scribner is mostly a depth piece and probably not a future regular starter at the big league level.

So what are we looking at so far? Probably Richards, Heaney, Ramirez, Shoemaker, and Skaggs. Is Ohtani going to be ready to be part of the 6 starters (Friday’s game may tell us a lot about that)? What about Tropeano? My guess on him is he works up his innings in Salt Lake to start the year. Bridwell? Given how great his 2017 was, it’s be strange to NOT see him in the rotation but that is a very real possibility. In Bridwell’s case, he could end up in the pen to start the season.