Entering the 2014 season, the initial thought on the Los Angeles Angels‘ starting rotation was that veterans Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson would lead the group, but that has not been the case.
It has been another pitcher taking in Garrett Richards, who began the year as a full-time starter for the first time in his three-year career in the majors with the Angels. Prior to this season, Richards had received starts here and there but was never given serious consideration for a permanent spot on the rotation because of his spotty performances.
But with a revamped pitching staff that included two other first-time full-time starters in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, the expectation was that there would be some bumps along the way. In regards to Richards, he has completely surpassed any expectations as he leads the team in wins (eight), ERA (2.76), strikeouts (99), quality starts (12) and WHIP (1.12). This also includes ranking fifth in the league in BAA (.203).
The 26-year-old has been everything and more for the Halos as he is hands down the team’s best pitcher and a major part of their success this season as currently holders of the fifth-best record in the league at 43-33. When Richards has pitched this year, the Halos have been on the winning side of things in 12 of his 16 outings. He has also thrown at least six innings in 14 of his starts and has only allowed a total of three home runs.
These numbers instantly put Richards in the running for the AL Cy Young award given how he has performed and what he has meant to the Angels. He also appears to be at the top of his game for the month of June with his 4-0 record, 1.05 ERA and 35 strikeouts in five starts made. The bottom line is that Richards has been a pleasant surprise for the Halos, and his level of play this season not only makes him the team’s best player but also a legitimate candidate for the AL Cy Young award.