The Surprise of the Angels’ Starting Rotation

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Entering the day on Saturday May 28, the Angels currently rank in the top 10 for rotation ERA’s in the MLB. This may come as a surprise to most, especially considering where they stood coming into the season, however, it appears the Angels’ starting rotation may be better than most thought.

The Rotation

Coming into the season the rotation consisted of Shohei Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, Noah Syndergaard, Jose Suarez, Michael Lorenzen, and Reid Detmers. As the season has progressed rookie Chase Silseth has replaced Suarez in the rotation. The Angels have insisted on a six man rotation in an effort to lessen the workload of Ohtani, Syndergaard, and Lorenzen, something that has seemed to work out well. Before the season started, there were a lot of questions marks in that rotation, and many were skeptical of what the Angels had.

The Top of the Rotation

Coming into the season, many considered the top of the Angels’ rotation to be Ohtani, Syndergaard, and Lorenzen. This group seemed to be a very hit or miss group, as each player has their issues. For starters, we all know the Ohtani story, and many wondered whether he would be able to keep up his success both on the mound and at the plate. On top of that, Syndergaard was coming off of a number of injuries, including Tommy John surgery, and was only able to accumulate two innings in the last two seasons. Then there was Lorenzen, who had some injuries of his own, and then planned to switch from reliever to starter upon signing with the Angels. These three proved to have massive potential, however, also added quite a bit of uncertainty at the top of the Angels starting rotation.

The Middle of the Rotation

Many considered Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez to make up for the middle of the rotation. Sandoval had shown some signs of potential in the past, and many fans wondered if this could be a make or break year for the young hurler. He also came off his own injury near the end of the 2021 season, which caused him to miss some time, however, he appeared fully ready to go for the start of the 2022 season. Jose Suarez showed some promise, coming off of a 8-8 2021 in which he posted a 3.75 ERA, however, there was still some skepticism surrounding him.

The Sixth Man

The Angels elected to go with rookie Reid Detmers as the sixth man of the rotation. Detmers was a former first round pick, and showed a tremendous amount of potential, however, at 22 years old, many wondered if Detmers was ready for the big leagues.

How Thing’s are Going

Now, here’s the surprise. 47 games into the season the Angels currently rank 10th in team rotation ERA, sitting at 3.49. For a rotation that had so many question marks coming into the season, that is not too bad, and is one of the key factors of the Angels’ success so far this season. The Angels have gotten strong results from some key starters so far, which included a no-hitter from rookie Reid Detmers. On top of that, Lorenzen and Syndergaard, maybe the two starters with the highest floor and lowest ceiling of all the Angels starters have fared out well. Syndergaard looks to be fully healthy, and has pitched to the tune of a 3.08 ERA, while Lorenzen has shown his dominance with a 3.05 ERA.

The Biggest Contributor

Falling into the top 10 in rotation ERA means there needs to be a solid core, however, it is also likely one or two guys may be truly dominating. At this point, many may have assumed it would be Ohtani. Ohtani has been pitching fine, but nothing spectacular, as he boasts a 3-3 record with a 3.45 ERA. The true dominance has come from Sandoval, who currently sits on a 3-1 record and 1.79 ERA. Sandoval even started off the season with a strong scoreless innings streak for his first few starts of the season. Sandoval has proved his ability to cling to the top of the Angels’ starting rotation, and with team control through the 2026 season, appears to have the potential to be the Angels’ ace for years to come.

The Verdict

To put it simply, so far, so good. The Angels have been getting quality results as they look to turn around their rotation. The front office has been getting quite a bit of slack for not going out and getting an ace, however, it seems that the team did well in constructing their rotation. It seems the team will also have a few guys to get excited about going forward, and the rotation may actually be a strong point for the team for the next few years. It’ll have to be seen how things shape out over the course of the season, but for now, the Angels should be feeling pretty good about their rotation.

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