Tuesday morning, Mike Scoscia announced that Garrett Richards would take the ball on opening day, followed by Andrew Heaney in game two. This didn’t come as a surprise to Angels supporters, as Richards and Heaney are now clearly the top starters in the rotation.
The Angels are relying on Richards to put it all together and be the ace of the staff. In 2014, before his season ending injury in August, he went 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts. The Halos need him to put up these sort of numbers once again.
Richards made his final spring start yesterday, giving up one run in 5 IP, with 4 strikeouts. He has declared himself ready for opening day.
Heaney was traded to the Angels in December of 2014, and in his rookie year for the Angels he went 6-4 with an ERA of 3.49 in 18 starts. The Angels are counting on Heaney to build on a solid rookie year and be near the top of the rotation for years to come.
For now, it looks like Jered Weaver, Hector Santiago, and Matt Shoemaker will make up the rest of the rotation. But with Nick Tropeano waiting in Triple A, Tyler Skaggs slated to return in late April, and C.J. Wilson being back sometime in May, things can change very quickly.
Jered Weaver, despite his decreasing fastball velocity and his neck issue, has repeatedly said he will be ready to start the season in the rotation, and it is looking very possible at this point.
Although he might start the season on the DL, to get one more start in extended spring training. The Angels have an off day after their first two games, so they could just skip his spot in the rotation.
If you look at Hector Santiago‘s 2015 stats, you would think he had a pretty solid year. In reality, his season was a tale of two halves. The first half of the season he was incredible, securing a spot on the AL All Star Team. In the second half of the season his ERA stretched from the 2.30 range to 3.59.
The Angels are hoping he can become a more consistent starter in the rotation this year. He was able to complete 180.2 innings and struck out 162 batters last season. He certainly has the potential to be a dominant pitcher, like he showed in the first half of last season. The Angels cannot afford him to be an absolute train wreck for one half of the season.
Then there is Matt Shoemaker, who finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014, when he went 16-4, with an ERA of 3.04. He followed that up with a 7-10 record, and an ERA of 4.46.
The Angels are hoping Shoemaker can be more like the pitcher he was in 2014, or at the very minimum hold down the fort until guys like Skaggs and Wilson are ready to join the rotation.
The Halos’ rotation has a lot of potential, but also a lot of question marks. They are counting on Garret Richards and Andrew Heaney to be leaders and really step it up this year.
With an offense that looks vastly improved from last year, and a bullpen that seems pretty solid, the Angels’ need their rotation to be satisfying.