The Angels’ 2011 Rotation

The Angels won’t have to look outside the organization for pitching this winter, since they have six major league starters under team control for 2011 plus an assortment of minor league arms. If the group stays healthy, the Angels could have one of the league’s better rotations next year.

That’s especially true if Scott Kazmir can recapture the form that made him one of the league’s most exciting starters just a couple years ago. He’s just 26, so we shouldn’t rule out a mid-career renaissance for the left-hander. Still, Kazmir’s walk rate remains high (4.9 BB/9) and his strikeout rate has dropped for the third consecutive season and now sits at 5.6 K/9. That’s not too far below the league average, but Kazmir struck out 10.4 batters per nine just a few seasons ago as a 23-year-old. The Angels don’t need Kazmir to strike out more than a batter per inning again, but they do need him to lower his 6.19 ERA.

Kazmir is something of a variable, but the Angels have four more predictable starters. Jered Weaver has been one of the league’s best pitchers this year. The 27-year-old has set himself up for a big raise through arbitration after posting a 3.14 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Ervin Santana has put together another strong season (4.02 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 186 innings) and he’ll be back in 2011. Joel Pineiro is now recovering from a left oblique strain on the disabled list, but he was effective in 20 starts before getting hurt, posting a 4.18 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. 

Dan Haren hasn’t had any trouble adjusting back to the American League since the Angels traded for him in July. He has a 3.39 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in L.A. and he doesn’t turn 30 until next week, so like the rest of the Angels rotation, he’s still in his prime.

If Kazmir falters or someone gets hurt, manager Mike Scioscia will be able to call on Trevor Bell. The rookie right-hander is in the Angels rotation now and has pitched well so far. His season ERA sits at 4.85, but his strikeout (6.6 K/9) and walk (2.9 BB/9) rates are respectable. The former first rounder has always shown excellent command in the minors and Baseball America suggested before the season that Bell could become a back-of-the-rotation starter.

Other Angels prospects are further away from contributing in the major leagues. Trevor Reckling, a 21-year-old left-hander, and Fernando Rodriguez, a 26-year-old right-hander, have struggled with command at Triple A this year. Reckling could become a mid-rotation starter, according to Baseball America, but he isn’t there yet. Tyler Chatwood pitched at three levels this year and the 20-year-old posted a 2.84 ERA with improved command. It was a promising season for the right-hander, but he still only has 13 games of experience above A ball.

The combination of Weaver, Haren, Santana, Pineiro, Kazmir and Bell should give the Angels a strong rotation next year. That depends on health, of course, but for the time being, GM Tony Reagins can focus on other needs since the Angels' 2011 rotation seems capable of keeping the club in contention.

29 Responses to The Angels’ 2011 Rotation Leave a Reply

  1. ogueira 5 years ago

    “If the group stays healthy, the Angels could have one of the league’s better rotations next year.”

    I hate to be a cynical Angels fan, but the same was said about this year’s staff. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • gdhillon 5 years ago

      Outside of Kazmir, the rotation has pitched well this year. The problem has been the offense and the bullpen.

      • TradeYouk 5 years ago

        Angels starters were 19th in the majors in ERA (9th in the AL) , and 21st in FIP (8th in the AL). You are probably right in saying Kazmir’s performance had an impact on those rankings, but those are still weak numbers for a team with playoff aspirations.

        You are correct in that their offense and bullpen were not very good either.

        • gdhillon 5 years ago

          Weaver’s ERA is 3.14
          Haren 3.39
          Santana 4.02
          Piniero 4.18
          (pretty good for the AL)

          Saunders (4.62) and Kazmir (6.19) weigh down the starters ERA. Saunders, of course, is gone. Again, if Kaz can bounce back, 1-5 looks good. If not, we’ve got some other in-house options.

        • ryankrol 5 years ago

          ERA is one of the most deceiving stats in baseball. And the impact of Kazmir’s performance is proof of that; although Kaz’s ERA is exactly what it is.

          19th in the Majors is the result of Kaz and a horrible month of May for the entire rotation.

          And the bullpen’s ERA is just under 4.00 since the All-Star Break.

          Offense would definitely have solved most of these problems.

      • kdub53 5 years ago

        gdhillion–couldnt have said it better myself

    • ryankrol 5 years ago

      I don’t know what Angels team you’ve been watching but this year’s rotation was exactly as advertised. Maybe if there was some offense in the second half, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. lol

  2. The_Porcupine 5 years ago

    Pretty solid rotation if Pineiro and Kazmir are your #4 and #5 starters. I don’t think Haren is a #1 any more and I don’t trust Santana’s consistency, but their top 3 starters match up pretty well with anyone’s (though they are a notch below the Red Sox, Phillies, and Cardinals).

    • ryankrol 5 years ago

      Dan Haren goes 7 more consistently than any Angel pitcher since Bartolo Colon.

  3. SoCalAngelsFan75 5 years ago

    As a Halos fan, I have no confidence in Kazmir. Seemed like a good trade at the time but it’s obvious he’s done and a mid-career renaissance is wishful thinking. I say trade him this offseason for anything they can get. As for Santana, I wouldn’t trade him but his inconsistency is so frustating. Really pleased with the other, especially Weaver and Haren. It’s our offense that needs a ton of help. Hope Moreno sees that and digs deep cause we’re going to need more than just a potnetial Crawford signing to get this offense going again.

    • ryankrol 5 years ago

      Just like the article said, Kaz is only 26. He is learning how to be a finesse pitcher after being a flame thrower, which is very hard for any pitcher to do. And he’s obviously struggling with his confidence in doing so, especially after what happened in October, which proves he’s not cocky little s@#t and knows what’s expected of him. Who ever said it was going to happen overnight. Plus, he’s been pitching much better since his return. Try giving the guy a little support. As a former pitcher myself, I know how hard it is to completely change one’s approach on the mound.

  4. scottyhalo 5 years ago

    What about Jordan Walden? I thought at one time, he was projected as a starter?

    • Obscurity 5 years ago

      Tommy John Surgery put an end to that and they moved him to the Bullpen as a response.

      • kdub53 5 years ago

        that sucks cause the kids got heat…
        seems to be all of the flame throwers get this problem..
        the chapman kids next..

  5. I think the Angels should try Kazmir as a reliever because he never makes it out of the fifth inning. He often appears to pitch well to a few batters, but once he’s in for multiple innings, his pitching becomes atrocious.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      I agree to try him in the pen. I think he can be a pretty good 2 pitch pitcher for an inning or 2. His durability issues have always been there, even in Tampa. And really, the Angels do need more help in the pen than in the rotation.

    • ogueira 5 years ago

      I’ve thought the same thing for a few months now. Kazmir isn’t helping the team as a starter, and their bullpen has had problems all year shutting down opposing offenses in the later innings. So why not give Kazmir a crack at the closer’s job? He still shows flashes of electrifying stuff, but he has problems with consistency and health – a job in the bullpen should minimize both problems, theoretically. I know his salary makes him a very expensive bullpen arm – but it seems to me the salary is a sunk cost, and if Kazmir is best suited for the bullpen, then he should go to the bullpen.

    • kdub53 5 years ago

      i like this…and see the point but thats a hell of an expensive reliever..

      • WasianCU 5 years ago

        He does make for an expensive reliever but really, we are on the hook for all that money no matter what he plays. If he helps the team most as a reliever and we are just using Bell or another young cheap player as the fifth starter, you aren’t spending any extra money and the team is getting better.

    • cookmeister 5 years ago

      i would only agree with this if he were making half of what he actually is

      • ryankrol 5 years ago

        Then what do you do? Keep him in the rotation and keep dealing with his struggles? That doesn’t make any sense.

  6. ze3 5 years ago

    I agree on various comments regarding Kazmir. If the Angels were to get a TRUE ACE, then I would say it would be one of the best rotations in baseball. If Cliff Lee becomes available Moreno and Reagins should go after him (a trade for Greinke would also work). I hope Crawford signs with the Halos in the offseason and we also need a big bat that can provide that much needed offensive 1-2 punch with K-Mo. OFFSEASON WISHLIST: CRAWFORD, AN ACE, AND A BIG BAT. Sincerely, an Angels fan.

    • cookmeister 5 years ago

      How big of a bat? not sure that there is enough money for all of that. Maybe Konerko or Dye to DH?

      • kdub53 5 years ago

        if you do that you are pretty much for sure giving up bobby …
        i dont mind the idea of konerko too much tho…but i wanna see bobby stay…
        if we get crawford tho..the only logical place would be dh for bobby…

        • cookmeister 5 years ago

          we need to trade Rivera for sure though, and maybe even Abreu. i would like Trumbo to get AB’s next year as well, but idk whats going to happen

    • ryankrol 5 years ago

      Define TRUE ACE. lol

      Angels have 3 pitchers in their rotation with extensive playoff experience. If you ask me, they already have 3 true aces.

      Crawford is overrated. His OBP is horrible for the type of player he is; and it hinges on him hitting .300. We don’t need another impatient bat. We need patience, which would have scored us 100 more runs, with all the HR’s this team hits, even when hitting in the .250’s w/ RISP. I basically just summed up the Yankees’ offense.

      We don’t need anymore big bats. We need patient bats; especially a leadoff hitter.

  7. The Angels need to trade Napoli and maybe Mathis for anything they can get. Napoli should get a nice return, I know alot of Angels fans want Napoli to move on to make way for Conger. BTW Peter Bourjos can FLY. I know this might be a surprise to some of you or some new news. *cough* But he needs to develop some pacience and a knack for getting on base, in order to wreck even more havoc on the bases. Take Brett Gardner for an example. He is invalueable to the Yankees because he is very pacience and gets on base a whole lot. He can steal second or move to second on a bunt or sacrifice fly. Which sets him up in scoring position. That’s why Scicoscia needs to be pacient with him because he’s gonna be an asset to Mike’s “small ball” approach. Oh and both B.G. and Bourjos play great defense, and have strong/accurate throwing arms. Still don’t believe in B.G.? Well, he’s a 5 WAR player…! Bourjos can become the same. Both players do need to also work on pitch selection and recognition and noticing the pitchers moves, in order to steal more successfully though.

  8. BK 5 years ago

    Funny, they called them both up late last night

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