The Los Angeles Angels left the winter meetings with a splash. They signed possibly the best free agent starting pitcher on the market in C.J. Wilson and some guy named Albert Pujols who I hear is pretty good. They spent roughly $331.50MM between the two players that day. Jonathan Mitchell discussed the Albert Pujols deal the other day. But just what does the C.J. Wilson signing mean and how is the Angels’ 2012 rotation looking?
The Angels’ rotation in 2011 was fourth in the majors in WAR with 17.8. They had an ERA of 3.59, an FIP of 3.78, and were third in the league in innings pitched with 1043.0. They were very solid and adding C.J. Wilson makes the rotation even better. Not to mention division rivalTexaswill not have Wilson anymore either. Let’s take a look at who the Angels 2012 rotation will feature.
The ace of the team is Jered Weaver. In the last couple years he has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the league. He finished fifth in the Cy Young voting in 2010 and second in 2011. Last year he posted a 2.41 ERA with an FIP of 3.20. He went 18-8 in 33 games despite receiving very low run support compared to some of the other Angels’ pitchers last year. He had a K/9 of 7.56 and pitched in 235.2 innings last year. Weaver is still only 29 and should have many great years ahead of him still. Look for him to have another great year and be in the Cy Young talks again.
If Jered Weaver is the ace then righty Dan Haren can’t be far behind. After coming over from Arizona two years ago, Haren has been fantastic for the Angels. Last year he had a 3.19 ERA with an even more impressive 2.99 FIP which was third best in theAL. He had a solid K.9 of 7.25 and an excellent BB/9 of 1.25 which was second best in the Majors. Haren pitched in 238.1 innings last year, third best in the majors. He has proven to be a workhorse for the Angels and a great one-two punch behind Weaver.
Newcomer C.J. Wilson should fit in as the number three starter on the team.Wilson will be a great left-handed arm to go with the right-handed stacked rotation that the Angels have. After a rough start to his career inTexas,Wilsonturned it around the last couple years.Wilsonhad a 2.94 ERA last year and an FIP of 3.24. He had a very good K/9 of 8.30. Just like Weaver and Haren,Wilsonhas been a workhorse. He pitched in 34 games last year and 223.1 innings. A very impressive stat of Wilson’s was his 0.64 HR/9. He managed to do this despite having one of the most homerun prone stadiums as his home field. I think Wilson will have another great year and should put up ace-like numbers.
Ervin Santana has been an interesting story the last couple years. He will go out and post great numbers one year but then really disappoint the next. He is still only 28 so maybe he has matured a little more and become a little more consistent. Last year was one of his best seasons yet. Santana had a 3.38 ERA and an FIP of 4.00. He had a K/9 of 7.01 and a BB/9 of 2.83. Santana pitched in 228.2 innings last year in 33 games. Santana really turned it on in the second half last year posting a 2.78 ERA and went 7-4. It will be interesting to see if Santana will be able to put up numbers like 2011 again this year.
The top 4 spots in the rotation are all locks but the last spot isn’t quite set and stone. Some candidates in the organization for the spot are Jerome Williams, Brad Mills (who was acquired in the Jeff Mathis trade withToronto), and Garrett Richards. I think Mills and Williams have the best chance for that spot but I think Mills should get the nod in order to add a lefty to the back of the rotation, depending on how he does in spring training. The Angels could also possibly look at a pitcher via free agency, that’s if they have any money left after their little spending spree. Some possibilities are Joel Pineiro, Jeff Francis, Jamie Moyer, or possibly Paul Maholm.
Regardless of whom the Angels fifth starter is, the rotation projects to be one of the best in the league. Here are Bill James projections for the 4 top starters for the Angels rotation:
The rotation projects to be very solid in 2012. That plus having Albert Pujols in your lineup should make for a very competitive battle between the Angels and Rangers for the AL West. Sorry to the A’s and Mariners but this just doesn’t look like a good year with the competition they will be facing in the division.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Albert Pujols, Brad Mills, C.J. Wilson, Cy Young Award, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Garrett Richards, Jamie Moyer, Jeff Francis, Jeff Mathis, Jered Weaver, Jerome Williams, Joel Pineiro, Los Angeles Angels, Paul Maholm