If there was one Angels pitcher who could have benefitted the most from having actual minor league games to develop, it was left-hander Jose Suarez, who was knocked around in his two major league starts on a depleted staff.
Suarez made two starts in his age-22 season, and they were disastrous. He allowed five runs in 1⅓ innings on August 20 against the Giants, and then five days later allowed five more runs in only one-plus inning against the Astros. That’s 10 runs allowed while recording only seven outs, with 16 of 23 batters faced reaching base.
Suarez posted a 38.57 ERA, which in the 60-year history of the Angels has been topped only three times — by David Carpenter (108.00 ERA in ⅓ IP in 2013), Terry Wilshusen (81.00 ERA in ⅓ IP in 1973), and Josh Wall (54.00 ERA in 1 IP in 2014). Shohei Ohtani’s 37.80 ERA in 2020 was fifth-worst in franchise history; holy hell, this Angels pitching staff had no depth.
The Angels were already 9-21 by the time Suarez made that second start, 9-22 after it. With their season basically already over, and no minor league season to send him to for development, maybe it would have been better for Suarez to continue to take his lumps.
“I was trying to impress upon him the the kind of attack mentality that he needs, to not give the other guys so much credit, to get ahead in counts and to stay aggressive and assertive,” manager Joe Maddon said after his second start. “He’s going to be a very good pitcher in this league someday. We’re trying to expedite that.”
But instead, Suarez was optioned after that second start, and was never heard from again in the season’s final month. The good news is that Suarez turns only 23 in January, so there’s time for improvement. There’s certainly a lot of room to do so.
Stats: 38.57 ERA, 14.76 FIP, 2⅓ IP
Game of the year
Of the two starts, we have to go with August 20. Both starts included Suarez allowing five runs, but this one saw him record four outs instead of three.
Suarez has 160 days of major league service time, and one option year remaining.