The Los Angeles Angels leaned on their starting pitching a lot this season, but unfortunately for Patrick Sandoval and others, their performance didn’t meet the need to be a prominent unit.
Highlighting on Sandoval, the left-hander broke out last season, tossing 148.2 innings, amassing a 2.91 ERA across 27 starts. His 3.09 FIP was among the best in baseball, but he unfortunately lost a bit of his touch this year.
In 28 starts, Sandoval has carried a 4.11 ERA, 4.18 FIP with a 1.51 WHIP, and the rock in manager Phil Nevin’s rotation has been through a tough season. The 26-year-old spoke on his year, citing the positives amidst the bumpy patches, per Doug Padilla of the O.C. Register:
“Definitely a big learning year for me, navigating the ups and downs of this game and a lot of downs this year personally and as a team,” Sandoval said. “We didn’t really accomplish what we set out to accomplish this year and it was definitely a big learning experience.”
There was always a feeling of confidence when his number was called, mainly because of past success, and flashes of shutdown stuff. Nevin echoed those feelings in what’s been an up and down year for Sandoval:
“I feel good about him every time he goes out,” Nevin said. “I don’t know what the league average (ERA) is for a starter but he’s well below that if you’re going to just look at ERA. He’s kept us in games. There were learning moments for him too, getting behind in counts.
“But you look at his overall work, for a disappointing season to finish 4.11, I think we’re looking at somebody that has a really good future in front of him still.”
The Angels still have him in an Angels uniform for some time, and they’ll expect him to be an anchor on the roster going forward. Sandoval’s highs are a very competitive lefty, with an ability to pitch to contact, missing the big part of the bat.
He won’t be a free agent until the 2027 season, which is wildly important because of how much room he has left to grow.
Angels rookie Zach Neto starting to figure it out
Shortly following Zach Neto’s call up to the Angels, he made an immediate impact with his glove, but hasn’t been quite as consistent at the plate. He entered play Monday hitting just .227/.305/.387 with 16 doubles, nine home runs and 33 RBI in 78 games this season.
While those numbers leave little to be desired, Neto has recorded at least one hit in four of his last five games dating back to September 19, including a 2-for-4 showing against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Although Neto has missed some games due to injury, Nevin expressed confidence that his rookie shortstop would continue improving in the power development, and Mike Trout had similar praise for the rookie as well.
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