Angels Rotation Gets Boost with Delayed Start 

Angels Rotation Gets Boost with Delayed Start 

by May 13, 2020 0 comments

The Los Angeles Angels received a fair amount of criticism from their fans and media alike for failing to land free agents Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, or Madison Bumgarner.

Instead, the Angels added All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon and filled the rotation with free agent Julio Teheran and acquired Dylan Bundy from Baltimore in trade.  

The Angels may have their ace waiting with Shohei Ohtani returning from a season missed on the mound recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

The pitcher with ace talent was slated to begin rehabilitating in the minor leagues in mid-May and seems to be on the same track to begin pitching simulated games in the coming weeks. With the MLB’s season suspended and looking to start no sooner than early June, the Angels could have Ohtani on the mound for the entirety of an abbreviated 2020 MLB season, magnifying his impact on the year as a whole.  

The addition of Ohtani to a rotation featuring Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy, Julio Teheran, and Patrick Sandoval would be a real boost for the Angels’ chances of returning to October baseball in 2020. Ohtani showed flashes of an elite starting pitcher during the opening months of his rookie season before the elbow injury forced the two-way player to designated hitter duties for the remainder of 2018 and all of 2019.

Still, Ohtani earned the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award and has remained a crucial element in the middle of the Angels lineup. 

Mike Scioscia never put Ohtani in the lineup when he pitched, but Joe Maddon hinted to the fact that this is something he may consider doing in 2020. Ohtani’s usage on the mound and at the plate with surely be monitored closely by Angels coaches as he is a valuable weapon in the Angels rotation and vast improvement over a rotation without him.

A fully recovered Ohtani on the mound will tighten the competitive edge of Houston and Oakland over Los Angeles in what will likely be a shortened 2020 regular season. 

Houston goes into the season without Gerrit Cole and controversy surrounding the club’s recently exposed sign-stealing scandal. Oakland, on the other hand, will be relying heavily on highly-touted youngsters like Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk in 2020. The addition of Ohtani to the Angels’ rotation for the entirety of the coming season will certainly close the gap between the Halos and these division rivals.

Texas could also play into the competitive mix if they continue to see strong performances from veterans Lance Lynn and Mike Minor, as well as their cast of young pitchers. Seattle can be expected to be rebuilt again in 2020 with rookies Justin Sheffield and Justin Dunn giving Mariners fans reason to be optimistic about their future. 

While the logistics of getting Ohtani rehabilitating under the current COVID-19 restrictions in place by MLB and the state of California, the Angels will surely find a way to get him facing other Angels or minor league prospects in the coming weeks in simulated games. Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks as we track the progress of Ohtani and his rehabilitation and potential readiness for Opening Day week 2020, whenever that day comes for all of us baseball fans. 

Lifelong baseball fan, writer, IBWAA member, and source for all things Los Angeles Angels. Future, current, and past Halos news. Follow on Twitter @_HaloLife.

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