Spring Training Storylines: The Rotation

After a week and a half of Cactus League play every member of the Angels 2024 rotation has taken at least one trip to the mound. The early results look pretty promising but don’t offer anything of substance when it comes to projecting the regular season.

So what are the storylines in the rotation? Youth, upside, uncertainty, pretty much the same as with the outfield.

5 Man Rotation

From Angels GM Perry Minasian to hurler Reid Detmers all the talk this off season was the move back to the five man rotation. During the Ohtani Era, the Angels had a six man rotation to accommodate the unicorn. Often that led to pitchers having 6 or more days of rest between outings. Occasionally Ohtani would need to skip or delay a start which would throw off any semblance of routine for the other 5 hurlers.

Reid Detmers, for one, is looking forward to a more regular routine. A 5 man rotation also means multiple pitchers will reach new innings counts if they stay healthy this year.

Youth Could Be Served

It isn’t difficult to see the talent in Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval, and Griffin Canning. Detmers and Canning were highly valued college pitching prospects who have flashed signs of brilliance at times at the MLB level; none more so than Detmers no hitter in early 2022.

Patrick Sandoval had an ERA+ of 138 across 148.2 innings in 2022. For comparison, the uber wealthy Zack Wheeler put up an ERA+ of 141 across 153 innings that same campaign.

While Canning had his best year as a professional last year, both Detmers and Sandoval scuffled and took steps backwards.

All three have rotation spots locked up heading into Tempe, but it is worth looking at the health and last start or two for this group. They all three need to live up to their potential for the Angels to have a shot at anything meaningful this season.

Is Tyler Anderson the next Angels flop?

This list of free agent flops is long and undistinguished. One of the few annual traditions is waiting for a bad contract to fall off the books and hoping the money is better spent elsewhere. Sadly, it rarely is.

Minasian signed Tyler Anderson for 3 years and $39 million coming off a completely unsustainable year with the Dodgers. As the pitching market heated up last off season this seemed to be the steal of 2022. Then the regular season started.

All Tyler needed to do to justify $13 million was be a quality fourth man in the rotation. An unsightly ERA+ of 82 means he pitched like a guy who should not have been in the rotation. So far he’s looked good in his one Cactus League appearance.

If Anderson can right the ship this season, it wouldn’t surprise me to have 3 or 4 Angels with ERA+s over 100, meaning better than league average.

Who is the 5th starter?

A question often asked at the old site, but a real one in this case. Chase Silseth looks to have an inside track but the club did bring in some competition in the form of Zach Plesac and Davis Daniel had a great showing in the Arizona Fall league.

This is likely the most intriguing storyline as a job is on the line barring an injury to one of the above four.

Will there be an addition?

The million dollar question. Or likely multimillion dollar question. The Angels keep getting linked to Blake Snell while less expensive righties like Mike Clevinger and Michael Lorenzen are also fits. Part of me thinks they’ll add one more guy. They should. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the don’t.

New coach, better results?

Barry Enright was brought in to mold the young Angels staff into a good one. So far he’s said a lot of the right things. We should start to see some changes in pitch selection and ideally pitch effectiveness as Spring Training progresses.

Look to see if Anderson is back to throwing his changeup after a fastball, for example. See if Sandoval’s devastating changeup from 2022 is back, if Detmers has found a way to work off his mediocre fastball.


Health is always a big part of any Spring Training but with a complete lack of organizational depth the Angels can not absorb an injury to the rotation. Adding an arm would push Silseth to next man up and provide at least one level of protection. As of now it is critical the rotation stay healthy.

That covers the outfield and rotation. Infield and bullpen still to come.

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1 month ago

INF Richie Ricky Martin has been released.

red floyd
1 month ago

Who’s the 5thStarter? Goose Gaskins!

Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  red floyd

Can we sign him again? Is he available?

red floyd
1 month ago

Last I heard he went to South Side Sox as a free agent.

Super Member
1 month ago

Pull the trigger on Lorenzen already.

Super Member
1 month ago
Reply to  BannedInLA

Lorenzen and Clevinger are not likely to sign until the Snell/Montgomery ship sails.

But seriously Boras, that clock is ticking ….

Roy Hobbs
Trusted Member
1 month ago

I am very optimistic about our pitching this year. As you have mentioned previously, it’s a year of spring training and evaluation which hopefully allows the organization to move forward with the knowledge of what they need to compete.

Last edited 1 month ago by Roy Hobbs
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