Los Angeles Angels: Projecting the 2018 Starting Rotation

The Los Angeles Angels were the big winners in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes earlier this winter. He’ll help bolster a rotation that struggled last year. They ranked 12th in the Majors with a 4.20 ERA and tenth in WHIP with 1.28. For much of the year, they were without Garrett Richards. Now, with Richards healthy and the addition of Ohtani, the Angels should be in a good spot to compete in 2018.

1. Garrett Richards

Taking the mound on Opening Day for the second time will be Garrett Richards. 2017 was supposed to be a much-anticipated bounce-back year for Richards. Unfortunately, he was limited to just 27 innings with bicep issues. It was his second straight seasons lost to injuries. Though when he was on, Richards was lights out. In his six starts, he posted a 2.28 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and a 27:7 K:BB ratio. Based on his performance when he’s on the field, Richards could be considered the Los Angeles Angels ace. However, simply staying on the field has been a challenge for him.

2. Shohei Ohtani

There are few players making their debut this season with more hype than Shohei Ohtani. The two-way star out of Japan had been the big name for much of the offseason. He ultimately landed with the Angels is expected to pitch at the top of the order. While we haven’t seen what he can do against Major League competition, Ohtani is one of the most anticipated Japanese pitchers we’ve had in a long time. He’ll get a chance to show us what he can do pitching from the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

3. Matt Shoemaker

Shoemaker regressed after an impressive 2016 season in 2017. That being said, he dealt with injuries and was limited to just 77 innings. In 14 starts, he was 6-3 with a 4.52 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. His season ended in mid-June, though he should be good to go to start the new season. Shoemaker showed in 2014 and at various times over the past few seasons that he’s a very serviceable pitcher. Time will tell which pitcher the Angels will get in 2018.

4. Parker Bridwell

Bridwell led American League rookies in wins last season with ten. At 25 years old, Bridwell is already on his way to being one of the Angels top starters. He was the most consistent guy in the rotation last year, posting a 3.64 ERA in 124.1 innings. Bridwell doesn’t blow anyone away with his stuff but controls his stuff well. The Los Angeles Angels needed someone with stability and durability last year. Bridwell was that guy and will look to be that guy again in 2018.

5. Tyler Skaggs

The 26-year-old was also plagued with injuries in 2017. His 113 innings in 2014 were the most in his career and the only time he’s surpassed the 100-inning mark. Skaggs is a former first-round Draft pick in 2009 and with good reason. He has great stuff but just hasn’t been able to show it consistently. If he can finally stay healthy for a full season he might live up to the expectations he had when he was drafted.

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