The starting rotation has held the fort for the Angels in 2017, and any struggles have been covered well by the team’s bullpen. Halos starters have yet to be kicked out of a game before the fourth inning, and surprisingly have the most scoreless starts of any rotation in the Majors. And that’s without their key arms. At 45-49, one could do the math simply using WAR to get a good idea of where the club would be at if their starting five were at full strength.
Over a full season, Garrett Richards would likely post 3-5 WAR. Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs would probably be at about 2-3 WAR. Matt Shoemaker would probably be around 2 WAR.
When you divide those projections to where those four could be in mid-July, you get about 2-3 WAR at this point from GRich, about 2 WAR from Skaggs and Heaney, and a little over 1 WAR from Shoe. Put that together and you get 5-6 additional wins, which would have the Angels at about 50-43.
They’d hold a wild card spot. But after that, the difference would have to be made up by an offense that’s last in slugging percentage, and 13th in runs.
Dee Gordon anyone? Brandon Belt? Who knows?
To get to where Halos’ starters can make the aforementioned impact, they have to complete their rehabs. Here’s an update on the four horsemen who are slated to return soon.
- As of right now, Richards is on track to return some time in August, which could be about a month or so from now. His arm feels much better, and he’s started a throwing program. But the former ace is still far from one hundred percent.
- The Angels are also slated to get Skaggs back within that time. His oblique strain is all but healed, and he is starting games in the Arizona League. His next start will have a 45 pitch limit.
- Another Halos starter is pitching Arizona League games. Heaney is being limited as well. The talented young lefty could conceivably be back on a Major League mound by the end of next month. That’s about six weeks away.
- Shoemaker has been set back a bit, and has no clear timetable. He could possibly find his way back right around the time Heaney might return. If all goes well, the Angels could have their rotation back to full strength by September.