The top two members of the Angels' rotation are being drafted to provide fantasy owners with decent SP2/3 options, but what does the rest of the staff offer for roster purposes in 2014? Are any of the back end members worth a shot? Let's take a gander, shall we?
Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Potential Rotation Alternatives
ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are based on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.
Sorry about starting off with so many questions, but one thing I do know is that Jered Weaver's skill set has not been improving, at least with regard to his fastball velocity or strikeout numbers. He does keep the ball in the park, with a 1.0 HR/9 in 2013 mimicking his career ratio, and pitching his home games in one of the biggest parks in baseball, even given his fly ball tendencies, helps keep his peripherals in line. He is the unquestioned ace of the Angels' staff, but he can be had later in drafts, say as your SP3.
C.J. Wilson forms a nice 1-2 punch for the Angels at the top of the rotation, his lefty offerings bolstered by a miniscule 0.6 HR/9 rate and a very good 8 K/9 ratio, too. His WHIP is a bit high to be anything more than a SP3, but an ERA in the low to mid 3 range is always helpful for your fantasy endeavors.
With his ability to induce grounders from batters, if Garrett Richards could regain his strikeout form that he demonstrated in the Angels' minor league system, he would be much more valuable to fantasy owners. As it is, he pitched extremely well in his second stint as a starting pitcher in 2013, guaranteeing himself a rotation slot before last season ended. He throws hard, featuring a 95 MPH fastball, and if he could increase the number of bats missed, he would become a decent SP4.
Known for his screwball, Hector Santiago would be better suited to rely on his sinker as it is much more effective. He has stumbled in spring, having put up three straight outings. It was hoped that the move from U. S. Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side to the more friendly confines of Angel Stadium of Anaheim would benefit the youngster, but the point will be moot if he cannot stay in the rotation. He has a good 91-92 MPH fastball, and produces strikeouts at an 8.28 K/9 pace, but terrible control has been a detriment to his performance to date. I am not investing in the kid, but your mileage may vary.
Tyler Skaggs is being slotted in as the fifth starter for the Angels, but he seems to be doing his best to let Joe Blanton have a shot to overtake him. Skaggs was deemed expendable by the Diamondbacks who shipped him to the Angels in the Mark Trumbo deal. He has not exhibited close to acceptable control, although he does manage to accumulate Ks, despite a fastball that peaks in the high 80s. His 3+ BB/9 (three year average: 3.71) tells you all you need to know about his 2014 potential as a roster addition.
That the Angels are considering giving Joe Blanton another shot at the fifth starting slot is an indictment of their options for the back end of the rotation. After giving up home runs at a prodigious rate in 2013 (1.97/9!), it is no wonder his ERA ballooned to 6.04 and his WHIP followed suit at 1.61. Those are terrible numbers and as his skills continue to deteriorate, you would do well to cross his name off your cheat sheets so you are not tempted to draft him based on name recognition.
Matt Shoemaker looks like the best of the bunch to fill the fifth starting slot, especially with his strong spring showing (2.16 ERA and 8 strikeouts in 8.1 innings). Granted that is a small sample size, but looking at his Triple-A stats, he could at least provide strikeouts while inducing a moderate groundball rate. The fact that the Angels seem more fixated on Skaggs and Blanton tells me either there are elements to Shoemaker's game I have not seen, or management is being stubborn. Unless he makes the rotation, he is not relevant for fantasy purposes.
If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching, I can be reached at email@example.com. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.