Why Matt Shoemaker is The Wildcard in The Angels Rotation

Updated: March 19, 2017

Many expect Garrett Richards to come back and be the ace of the Halos rotation. While that could happen, let’s not forget about Matt Shoemaker who could emerge as a wildcard in the Angels rotation.

This spring has been up and down for Shoemaker who is posting a 5.00 ERA in three starts. He has 10 strikeouts in 9.0 innings, and draws the start against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Shoemaker’s career took off in 2014 when he went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 27 games (20 starts) and put himself as a regular in the Angels rotation. He struggled the following season, but posted a strong campaign in 2016.

He went 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA in 27 starts last season before it ended early due to injury. The 30-year-old looks to come back healthy in 2017, and repeat what he did during the 2014 season.

One of Shoemaker’s biggest assets is his command, and his ability to throw strikes consistently. That command is what ultimately could turn him into the Halos ace this season.

He isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher, but if he can consistently hit the strike zone, Shoemaker should have success. Richards and Tyler Skaggs are looked upon as “better pitchers” with more potential, but Shoemaker could pass them both this season.

Skaggs has failed to show he can even be an everyday starter in the rotation. Richards has seen some success, but injuries and lack of consistent playing time have hurt him.

The Angels need to see a full healthy season from Richards before they can know if he’s really the ace or not. When Shoemaker is on his game he’s better than Richards and he’s a borderline ace. The problem has been keeping Shoemaker in that zone for multiple starts at a time.

If the Angels can find a way to get Shoemaker to stay consistent, he could post even better numbers than the 2014 season.

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