It’s just not.
That is Ricky Nolasco. Why is Ricky Nolasco sad? Because Ricky Nolasco is the Opening Day starter for the Angels.
Sorry, Mike Trout. One of the best 25-year-olds of all time will have to do most of the heavy lifting himself. He’s surrounded by a pitching staff that is very, very, very, bad. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Ricky Nolasco
Yup. Ricky Nolasco will start on Opening Day for a Major League Baseball club. I bet there are some rotations where he wouldn’t even have a starting role. In the last three seasons, Nolasco has an ERA of 5.03. Of the 97 pitchers who have thrown at least 375 innings over the last three seasons, Nolasco has the 97th best ERA. For all of the non-Angels fans reading this, that is the first worst ERA. He is the one starter. Bright side: he has thrown 375 innings over the last three seasons. Here’s why: Ricky Nolasco is not a good pitching, and not good pitchers have not good ERA’s. It’s that simple. Again, Ricky Nolasco is the one starter.
2. Matt Shoemaker
Hey, apparently Matt Shoemaker went 16–4 in 2014. Did you know that? Maybe I don’t pay attention to the Angels enough. Since then, he’s gone 16–23. He hasn’t had a qualified season, although he did throw 160 innings last season. He’s not bad, I’ll give him that. His career ERA+ of 101 is slightly not bad. He’s good at limiting walks (career 1.9 BB/9), and is a pretty decent pitcher overall. Props, Anaheim, for not having a 2 starter worse than Ricky Nolasco.
3. Garrett Richards
Not bad, Angels. I think we’ve found the best one yet. One problem: Richards only threw 34.2 IP last year because of arm problems. It could’ve been because he led the AL in wild pitches in 2015. It also could’ve been because he led the AL in wild pitches in 2014. But he did not lead the AL in wild pitches in 2016. He only had 3 in 34.2 innings (0.78 wild pitches per 9), slightly under his career rate of 0.80 wild pitches per 9. Will Garrett Richards lead the league in wild pitches in 2017? Who knows. Richards is a respectable option as the three starter. His career ERA+ of 105 is above average, and his 120 ERA+ in the last three seasons is very good. Hopefully his arm doesn’t hurt this year, because if it isn’t, he’ll be the best in this “rotation”.
Dammit. The Angels have a concept as their fourth starter. This is not a sarcastic comment, or a joke or whatever. The @Angels Twitter account literally lists their four starter as TBA. I think it’s Tyler Skaggs, right? Well, for now, it’s TBA. And that’s hilarious for anyone that doesn’t root for the Angels. TBA had a 0.00 ERA last season (if you can do 0 divided by 0), in 0 innings. We are all TBA.
5. Jesse Chavez
Yes, reader, the Angels actually listed someone behind TBA. And his name is Jesse Chavez. And Jesse Chavez is not very good. He had a 0.0 fWAR last year. I did that too! Jesse Chavez started 0 games last year. That’s as many as their four starter, TBA. Not good. He does have a 3.94 ERA in the last three seasons with Oakland, Toronto, and the other LA team, which isn’t bad. However, the majority of his appearances over that span have been in relief (47 starts, 77 relief appearances).
The Angels rotation combined for 6.5 fWAR last year. Noah Syndergaard had 6.5 fWAR last year. The Angels rotation is not good. Noah Syndergaard is good. I don’t know why I had to say that.
If you’ve made it this far, if you didn’t go blind going through the Angels rotation, then thanks for reading.