The Angels have what looks to be a very formidable rotation for 2007. 28 year old righty John Lackey looks like he will be the #1 starter for the Angels this season. Lackey was 13-11 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 33 starts in 2006 for the Angels. Lackey has great stuff and he should have won more games last season but the Angels didn’t hit well when he pitched but look for that to improve a little bit for them in 2007. Lackey struck out 190 batters and only allowed 14 homers and a .246 batting average so he pitched very well in 2006. Look for Lackey to win at least 15 games with a ERA around 3.50 in 2007.
The #2 guy looks to be Kelvim Escobar if he can stay healthy. Escobar rebounded from an injury marred 2005 season to post an 11-14 record with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 30 starts in 2006. Escobar also was hurt by the Angels lack of offense as he deserved to get more wins last season. Look for Escobar to have the best season of his career in 2007 and to win 15+ games with a sub-4.00 ERA and around 200 strikeouts if he stays healthy.
Ervin Santana looks like the #3 starter when the season starts but he has potential to be the ace of the Angels pitching staff. Santana was 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP last season. Santana has a blazing fastball and a nasty slider which he uses well as he comes right after hitters often with good results. Santana only allowed a .241 opposing batting average and whiffed 141 batters in 204 innings. Look for Santana to win 17-20 games and to have a sub-4.00 ERA with around 200 K’s in 2007.
24 year old Jered Weaver pitched so good for the Angels last season that he took his brother’s spot in the rotation away from him. It all worked out well for both of the Weavers’ as Jeff helped the Cardinals win the World Series. Jered started 19 games for the Angels last season and he was 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Weaver showed great stuff and poise for such a young pitcher as he whiffed 105 batters in 123 innings and held them to a .209 batting average against him. Weaver is a little behind in Spring Training as Weaver didn’t keep himself in tip-top shape in the off-season. Still, Weaver should win 13-17 games with a sub 4.00 ERA for the Angels in 2007.
25 year old lefty Joe Saunders will be the #5 starter for the Angels until Bartolo Colon is ready to return in late April/early May. Saunders was a solid 7-3 with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 13 starts last season. He is downright nasty against lefty hitters who could only muster a .220 batting average and a .538 OPS in 2006 against him. Look for Saunders to do a good job until Colon is ready.
33 year old righty Bartolo Colon will miss the first month or two as he continues to rehab his pitching shoulder. He only pitched in 10 games in 2006 and was 1-5 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Batters hit .306 against Colon last season and whacked 11 homers against him in only 56.1 innings. If Colon is sound he should be good for the Angels as he has won 135 games in his last 8 full seasons in the majors.
Darren Oliver and Hector Carrasco will be in the bullpen but either of them could make a couple of starts in the Angels need them to.