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AL West Rotations


Hubs

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This was an ESPN Blog five days ago: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/45059/al-west-rotations-in-scramble-mode

 

I use that only as a tipping off point for my post… Angels lack of Depth in the rotation has been talked about in every season preview, since they didn't acquire a big name or big money starter in the off-season. Instead they've added three 26 and under left handed starters via trade in Skaggs, Santiago and now Alvarez. 

 

In that blog, it discusses Colby Lewis' poor start last week for the Rangers, Derek Holland's injury, and the rest of the projected Rangers and A's rotations. It doesn't even mention Parker being out for the season...

 

To list the depth that other teams have, but the Angels apparently do not, I'll list the starter candidates….

 

Rangers:

 

#1 Darvish… no issues here. Cy Young candidate.

#2 Martin Perez… Only made 20 starts last year. 

#3 Alexi Ogando.. Made 18 starts last year. Has a horrific Spring ERA.

#4 Matt Harrison .. 2 Starts Last Year, will open season on DL. Is OUT indefinitely.

#5 Derek Holland .. great year last year, tripped over his dog, will be OUT until at least July...

#6 Joe Saunders .. horrible year last year for the Mariners.

#7 Tommy Hanson .. horrible year last year for the Angels.

#8 Colby Lewis .. hasn't pitched since 2011.

#9 Nick Tepesch .. Ok in 18 starts last year. ERA near 5. 

#10 Robbie Ross .. trying to start after being used mostly as a reliever.

 

A's

 

#1 Jarrod Parker.. OUT FOR THE SEASON with TJ surgery

#2 AJ Griffin .. On the DL until May.

#3 Sonny Gray.. did exceptionally well, but only 10 major league starts in his career

#4 Scott Kazmir .. Did well in Cleveland last year, but hasn't had two consecutive good seasons since what 08-09?

#5 Dan Straily .. Did well last year in 27 starts. Only 34 career starts though. 

#6 Tommy Milone. Pitched to a 4.14 ERA last year. 

#7 Jesse Chavez. A Reliever last year, pitched well this spring as a starter. 

#8 Drew Pomeranz. Awful last few years. 

#9 Josh Lindblom. Texas last year, 5 starts. Used as a reliever primarily before that.

 

Angels

 

#1 Jered Weaver.. Injured for part of last year. Has a consistently top 10 ERA since 2006.

#2 CJ Wilson.. Has been a durable starter with a mid to low 3's ERA since converting with Texas four seasons ago.

#3 Garrett Richards .. 17 starts last year when Angels decided to use him in Pen rather than start. He's not walked a batter in ST.

#4 Hector Santiago .. 23 starts last year in Chicago. White Sox pulled him inexplicably to use in their pen despite his mid-3's ERA. 

#5 Tyler Skaggs .. Former top prospect had disappointing 2013. Is just 22.

#6 Jose Alvarez .. Possible #5, did well in AAA but had two bad starts in Detroit and four good ones at the major league level last year. 5 ERA but good AAA numbers.

#7 Matt Shoemaker. Only pitcher on this list with a 0.00 ERA. In just one start. Decent Arm who's not had major injury concerns in minors.

#8 Joe Blanton .. Awful year last year. 

#9 Wade LeBlanc .. signed as a free agent for depth.

#10 Jarret Grube .. Minor league starter, had a decent year in 2013.

#11 Mark Sappington .. Young prospect slated for AA/AAA in 2013. Has stuff and good results in minors.

 

Mariners

#1 Felix Hernandez.. one of the best starters in the AL.

#2 Hisashi Iwakuma… on DL to open season. Great year last year, but is older after coming over from Japan.

#3 Erasmo Ramirez .. ERA at 5 in 13 starts last year.

#4 James Paxton. Rookie.

#5 Tajuan Walker. Rookie. On DL.

#6 Danny Hultzen. Top prospect. Has Shoulder injury.

#7 Blake Beavan.  2 Starts last year. ERA worse than Blanton in 2013.

#8 Scott Baker.. Former Twins Starter. Missed most of 2013 with injury. Good ST.

#9 Randy Wolf. Yes he's still pitching. But has allowed 4 HR in 9 ST innings.

#10 Roenis Elias. Left handed Rookie from Cuba. Excellent ST numbers. Not much is known about him.

#11 Brandon Maurer. Worse ERA last year than Blanton in 2013.

 

Astros.

 

1. Scott Feldman. Good year last season for the Cubs.

2. Jared Cosart. One of the young pitchers for the Astros who pitched well in a few starts last year. 

3. Brett Olberholtzer. Same as above. 10 starts.

4. Brad Peacock. 5 ERA in 14 starts.

5. Jerome Williams. Former swingman turned starter for the Angels last year. 

6. Dallas Kuechel. 5 ERA in 20+ starts for the Astros in 2013.

7. Lucas Harrell. 5 ERA in 20+ starts for the Astros in 2013.

8. J Lyles. 5 ERA in 2013.

9. Mark Appel. Former Stanford pitcher is Top Pitching Prospect for Astros.

 

 

With this Alvarez trade, and the spate of injuries to the other two top teams projected starters, the Angels are arguably as deep as any team in the division. Great trade as the Angels now have 7 starters before Blanton gets a shot.

Edited by Hubs
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m's rotation could end up very good starting around the first week of may.

 

erasmo ramirez had a terrible injury most of last year, and i don't think he was healthy in the starts he did have.  he's fine now, and pitching very well.  walker and paxton are still big question marks. 

 

the rest of m's pitching is a shambles.  monumentally bad.  

 

they'll finish 4th or 5th this year, mostly because of terrible offense and defense.  pitching will look all sparkly in comparison.  

 

the angels still have massive pitching deficiencies, btw.  i'm sorry, but it's true.  

 

massive?  I think that's overstated.  They still lack quality depth.  It got a bit better today but if they sustain a major injury, they are in some trouble.  But most teams are frankly.  Not many teams have the depth of the cardinals. 

 

The bullpen is a bit of a wild card and could be anywhere from upper to lower third but will probably end up middle of the pack and so will the staff overall. 

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That's a very optimistic outlook, Doc. We're relying on three huge uncertainties to be good, with few realistic options beyond them, and that in itself requires our front two to not get injured and be really good (something I'm no longer comfortable relying on). The odds are we're going to have at least one big hole in our rotation for most of all of the season, with the extremely high probability that one of Richards, Skaggs or Santiago will struggle and/or Weaver and Wilson will get injured. As soon as one of those things happen our depth looks shot and our output will be lower tier at best.

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Cezero, I agree that the Angels don't have top prospects like the Mariners do in the minors, but I'm pretty happy with the depth now that they've added Alvarez.

 

The Angels are one of two teams on this list to have two starters in their rotation who have had at least 54 starts each over the last two seasons (because Parker went down and only Milone meets that on the A's). The Rangers qualify but their second guy is Joe Saunders, who is battling for their fifth spot and isn't even guaranteed a spot in the rotation. If Holland hadn't gotten injured they'd be in a much better spot.

 

If you look at top 2 pitchers to start the season, Weaver/Wilson (124 starts over last two years) , Hernandez/Ramirez (85 starts), Darvish/Perez (87 starts), Feldman/Cosart (61), and Kazmir/Gray (39). 

 

The lack of experience the A's, M's, and Rangers have is startling when you look at the top two, mainly because Parker, Iwakuma, and Holland are all out to start the season. The A's also lost Griffin for the beginning and the Rangers are missing Harrison, who used to be a top guy in 2011 and 2012 before missing most of last year.

 

The bottom three of each team shows similar experience levels….

 

M's have less than 20 starts from their 3-5 startes.

Angels have 42-46 starts last year from their three guys (Alvarez or Skaggs as the #5, not Blanton).

Astros have 49-70 starts. (49 from their projected 3-5, over 70 if Harrell and Kuechel win the jobs).

A's have 53 starts.

Rangers have 67 (but 32 of those are Joe Saunders and 13 are Tommy Hanson).

 

The guys in the 3-4-5 spots for each team had ERA's at 

 

Angels (3.51, 4.14, over 5).

A's (4.14, 3.96, 3.92 in the pen).

Rangers (3.11, 5.26, 5.42).

Mariners (rookie, Over 6, rookie). 

Astros (2.76, 5.18, 4.57).

 

Not much difference again. 

 

I think the teams rotations have evened out, after the injuries to the Rangers, M's and A's starters.

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The funny thing is, the rotation sucked in 2012 despite us all believing it would be the team's strength. Last year was to be expected, although not many here thought it would be THAT bad. On paper this rotation could be anywhere from disastrous to good. Hopefully it is somewhere closer to good.

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Weaver and Wilson have been extremely healthy, minus a freak ball off Jered's elbow in his second start. Neither throws particularly hard, so what makes you think they'll have injuries?

 

Also as I just showed Santiago, Richards, Skaggs, and Alvarez all don't have to be aces to be similar to what the rest of the rotation finished at. Those guys could have ERA's around 4.25 and the Angels still would give up less than 700 runs. If one of them has a great season, and pitches to less than 3.5 they are set. I think that you're overestimating what the rest of the league has in their rotations and underestimating the Angels. 

 

 

That's a very optimistic outlook, Doc. We're relying on three huge uncertainties to be good, with few realistic options beyond them, and that in itself requires our front two to not get injured and be really good (something I'm no longer comfortable relying on). The odds are we're going to have at least one big hole in our rotation for most of all of the season, with the extremely high probability that one of Richards, Skaggs or Santiago will struggle and/or Weaver and Wilson will get injured. As soon as one of those things happen our depth looks shot and our output will be lower tier at best.

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Milone and Parker had pretty similar years last year (obviously I'd want Parker in the long term) If it was Gray.. I think the A's would be far more screwed than they are. Pomeranz could end up being a huge sleeper,

If Kazmir goes down or Griffin turns out to be worse...than I think they're screwed...for now..I agree. It looks pretty even. There's no way I'd want Chavez making more than five starts this year. I still think people are underselling the Rangers by a bit.

Bullpen: A's, Rangers, M's

Defense: M's, Rangers

Line Up: Rangers, Angels/A's

Bench: A's, Rangers/Angels

Again, I don't see much changing:

Rangers

A's

Angels

M's

Astros

Edited by DW711
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Well, for one, pitchers get injured. But my bigger concern is performance. There's been significant warning signs for both in the past year or so and we're totally reliant on those issues not getting any bigger. With that, on top of relying on four unknowns combining to be three adequate starters (as well as relying on no injuries) it's unwise to be too optimistic about the status of our pitching.

 

And all Joe Blanton needed to do last year was put up a 4.50 ERA. Kazmir in 2011 only needed a 4.50 ERA. All any fifth starter needs to do is that. But it quite often doesn't happen and teams are left in trouble.

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Milone and Parker had pretty similar years last year (obviously I'd want Parker in the long term) If it was Gray.. I think the A's would be far more screwed than they are. Pomeranz could end up being a huge sleeper,

If Kazmir goes down or Griffin turns out to be worse...than I think they're screwed...for now..I agree. It looks pretty even. There's no way I'd want Chavez making more than five starts this year. I still think people are underselling the Rangers by a bit.

Bullpen: A's, M's, Angels, Rangers, Astros

Defense: Rangers, A's, Angels, M's, Astros

Line Up: Angels, Rangers, A's, Astros, Mariners

Bench: A's, Rangers/Angels, Mariners, Astros

Again, I don't see much changing:

Angels

A's

Rangers

M's

Astros

 

Fixed.

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Sorry, I just don't see the Angels having the best line up.

 

They have Freese batting 4th vs lefties..who the hell know whats youll get from Pujols, Hamilton was terrible last year...no back up right handed outfielder (unless you count Cowgill).

 

Can they be the best? Maybe..but too many question marks and not enough speed for me.

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Sorry, I just don't see the Angels having the best line up.

They have Freese batting 4th vs lefties..who the hell know whats youll get from Pujols, Hamilton was terrible last year...no back up right handed outfielder (unless you count Cowgill).

Can they be the best? Maybe..but too many question marks and not enough speed for me.

They still had the 2nd best offense in the West last year despite Pujols and Hamilton's struggles. They may not end up having a better offense than Texas or Oakland but on paper the lineup is easily the best top to bottom. I dont think that's me being a homer either I honestly don't see how anyone could see it differently.

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Well, for one, pitchers get injured. But my bigger concern is performance. There's been significant warning signs for both in the past year or so and we're totally reliant on those issues not getting any bigger. With that, on top of relying on four unknowns combining to be three adequate starters (as well as relying on no injuries) it's unwise to be too optimistic about the status of our pitching.

 

And all Joe Blanton needed to do last year was put up a 4.50 ERA. Kazmir in 2011 only needed a 4.50 ERA. All any fifth starter needs to do is that. But it quite often doesn't happen and teams are left in trouble.

 

My point was that the Angels aren't any more reliant on unknowns or unreliables putting up big numbers than any other team in the division. Three other teams already have major injuries pitching wise.

 

In 2011, the best year under Butcher, the Angels top three guys combined for 100 starts, 701.2 innings, and a 2.98 ERA (232 ER). Their other six starters gave them a 4.85 ERA and 341.1 innings in 62 starts (184 ER). The pen pitched to a 3.52 ERA in 422 innings. 

 

The top three guys don't even have to be this good, if the bottom of the rotation starters don't suck as bad.

I expect the pen to not pitch to this standard either, partly because I think they'll pitch more innings (closer to 460), and an ERA closer to 4 than 3.5.

 

Say the top three guys (Weaver, Wilson, and Santiago/Richards) each throw 33 starts, average 212 innings, and averages a 3.5 ERA (247 ER). Then, to match the above, the bottom guys would have to pitch 63 starts, a 4 ERA and 344 innings (153 ER). That would be less runs than the starters in 2011 threw, at 400. But also less innings, at say 980 to the above 1043. Those innings would be picked up by the pen, though that year they threw about 17 more innings than is typical. Say they throw 478, bringing it to the 1458 that a full season entails (8 inning games exactly nullified by extra inning games) and throw also to a 4 ERA that would be around 212 earned runs. 

 

Add them up, 247+153+212, and you're at 612. Add 40+ unearned runs and you're at 660. Which is middle of the pack. 

 

It may seem to be a tough call for the bottom Angels starters to average a 4 ERA, but Richards was right there, Santiago was significantly better (3.51) and Skaggs and Alvarez were over 5 in limited duty. 

 

It's also far fetched to think the Angels top three guys will average a 3.5 ERA seeing as Weaver was at 3.27 (and 2.98 in the second half), Wilson was at 3.38 and Santiago was at 3.5. 

 

I can easily see the rotation allowing less than 400 earned runs this year. The pen needs to improve as well and get down to a 3.8 or 3.7 ERA (200 runs allowed or less if possible depending on the number of innings).

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They still had the 2nd best offense in the West last year despite Pujols and Hamilton's struggles. They may not end up having a better offense than Texas or Oakland but on paper the lineup is easily the best top to bottom. I dont think that's me being a homer either I honestly don't see how anyone could see it differently.

 

Freese hitting 4th against lefties is only until Hamilton gets comfortable. And even then I doubt it happens much. Why throw three of your five righties together, and then have four lefties in 6 hitters? 

 

Freese is going to hit fifth. And I hope he hits to an .800 OPS again. Third base was a huge weak spot for the Angels last year so Freese is an improvement, just like Calhoun is an improvement over Shuck and hopefully Pujols and Hamilton improve.

 

Only three guys in the Rangers lineup will definitely be over .800 OPS. They may have two or three more that can do it, but more likely they have 6 guys under .800 and three of those likely will be at or under .700 (Andrus, Profar, Martin).

 

I don't think the Angels will have a regular who has an OPS under .700. Aybar is the only candidate. They should have 6 guys at or over .800 (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, Calhoun, Kendrick, Freese). Then Iannetta will be mid to high .700's, as will Ibanez. 

 

The A's likewise will have three guys over .800 (Donaldson, Moss, Cespedes?) and two more that could do it in Lowrie and Reddick. The other four guys will all be mid .700's (Norris, Crisp, Jaso, with Callaspo a possibility to slip under .700).

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Freese hitting 4th against lefties is only until Hamilton gets comfortable. And even then I doubt it happens much. Why throw three of your five righties together, and then have four lefties in 6 hitters? 

 

Freese is going to hit fifth. And I hope he hits to an .800 OPS again. Third base was a huge weak spot for the Angels last year so Freese is an improvement, just like Calhoun is an improvement over Shuck and hopefully Pujols and Hamilton improve.

 

Only three guys in the Rangers lineup will definitely be over .800 OPS. They may have two or three more that can do it, but more likely they have 6 guys under .800 and three of those likely will be at or under .700 (Andrus, Profar, Martin).

 

I don't think the Angels will have a regular who has an OPS under .700. Aybar is the only candidate. They should have 6 guys at or over .800 (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, Calhoun, Kendrick, Freese). Then Iannetta will be mid to high .700's, as will Ibanez. 

 

The A's likewise will have three guys over .800 (Donaldson, Moss, Cespedes?) and two more that could do it in Lowrie and Reddick. The other four guys will all be mid .700's (Norris, Crisp, Jaso, with Callaspo a possibility to slip under .700).

Profar's going to yield a sub .700 OPS but Jed ****ing Lowrie is going to OPS .800?

 

With the exception of Hamilton, Pujols, and Trout, everyone you listed is unlikely to produce an .800 OPS or higher.  

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Profar's going to yield a sub .700 OPS but Jed ****ing Lowrie is going to OPS .800?

 

With the exception of Hamilton, Pujols, and Trout, everyone you listed is unlikely to produce an .800 OPS or higher.  

 

 

While I think some of those Angels numbers are optimistic it's worth pointing out Lowrie came close to a .800 OPS last year at .791.  Profar is a talented kid, but he's still working to establish himself -- to date he's mostly had the bat knocked out of his hands at the MLB level.

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