The Los Angeles Angels have long needed to improve their starting rotation, and they made an attempt to in the offseason by signing Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen.
While Syndergaard was traded at the deadline and Lorenzen has been on the injured list for a large portion of the season, the Angels rotation has still produced the 11th most value in MLB with 12.3 wins above replacement.
The Angels have done this, of course with Shohei Ohtani leading the rotation, but also from the emergence of Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers. More recently, they have also seen José Suarez take a step forward.
With the Angels mostly playing for their future now, general manager Perry Minasian believes the rest of the season can provide an opportunity for their young pitchers to prove they can be part of the solution moving forward and build on an already improved pitching staff, he said via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
I think it’s important for everybody, not just the pitchers. Going through a full season — playing in August, playing in September — it’s not easy. I think it’s especially for the younger guys that might have not experienced it, going from wire to wire and doing those things. So I think it’s really, really important. I’ve been very pleased with our starting pitching. That was a huge priority for us this offseason, improving that area. It’s definitely got room to improve even more. But I think it’s a more talented rotation and there are really some bright spots.
Overall this season, the Angels starters have posted an ERA of 3.90 and a FIP of 3.97, along with 8.69 strikeouts per nine to 3.35 walks per nine. Last season, their rotation owned a 4.69 ERA and a 4.25 FIP while striking out 9.2 hitters per nine innings and walking 3.75 per nine.
While there is still clearly work to do, the Angels rotation is in a better spot than it has been in for quite some time.
Minasian considering a change in Ohtani’s usage
Ohtani has thrived in a six-man rotation, pitching to a 2.69 ERA and 2.49 FIP in 20 starts, but Minasian believes Ohtani is well-equipped to join a traditional five-man rotation if he is up for it.
Ohtani has logged 117 innings thus far in 2022 and should post another career-high in innings following his next few starts. However, altering his usage is something he’s never done before and he’s dealt with some slight elbow issues in his four years in MLB.