Garrett Richards (SP-LAA)
Injury – He suffered a torn left patellar tendon while covering first base late in 2014 which required season-ending surgery..
2014 Season – Richards finally put it all together in 2014 and matured into an ace pitcher for the Angels. He was 13-4 with a sparkling 2.64 ERA and 1.03 WHIP before he sustained a serious knee injury. Richards also struck out 8.8 batters per nine innings with only 51 walks in 168.2 innings. He possesses one of the hardest fastballs in baseball and blossomed into a pitcher, not just a thrower. Richards also allowed the fewest home runs per nine innings with only 0.3.
Reason For Optimism
- Richards will turn 27-years old in May and is on the precipice of becoming one of the top pitchers in baseball.
- It was a fluke injury to his knee while fielding his position, so there is no cause for concern of any arm issues.
- He is well ahead of schedule in his rehab and road to recovery, so he should return much earlier than originally anticipated.
Reason For Concern
- A surgically-repaired knee could alter his mechanics.
- He led the league with 22 wild pitches in 2014.
- There is always a chance the Angels are conservative with Richards upon his return and limit his innings and pitches thrown.
2015 OUTLOOK – When Richards initially had surgery on his knee in 2014, it was expected he would miss the first couple months of the 2015 season. However, he has progressed nicely and has already resumed throwing off of a mound. The Angels are expecting Richards to be back by the second or third week of the season. Given this optimistic schedule, it is less likely that you can wait as long to draft Richards at a bargain. Assuming he has no setbacks and only misses the first couple weeks in April, you can expect Richards to make close to 30 starts and reach 200 innings with impressive statistics. He is not necessarily a fantasy ace, but you could do much worse than him as your second or third starter who should produce 15 wins, a sub-3.00 ERA, and close to 200 strikeouts.
If you are wondering the best way to evaluate players such as Richards so that you can be prepared for your draft, then be sure to find out how to get your free copy of the incredible 2015 Fantasy Alarm Baseball Draft Guide.
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