The Angels are darn lucky that they traded for Jon Garland in the off-season. John Lackey will likely miss at least the first month with a sore arm and Kelvim Escobar will likely miss the entire season. To put that into perspective, Lackey started 33 games last season for the Angels and he was 19-9 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Escobar started 30 games last season and he was 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Without those two guys in the rotation the Angels will need big efforts out of Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley.
25-year old righty Jered Weaver will be the ace of the rotation by default. He started 28 games for the Angels last season and he was 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He has the stuff to be a big winner so it will be interesting to see if he takes a step forward in 2008.
28-year old righty Jon Garland will be the #2 starter for the Angels at the start of the season. He should benefit from his new home park and his improved defense that will be behind him. Garland started 32 games last season for the White Sox and he was 10-13 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Garland was a combined 36-17 in the 2005+2006 seasons which shows that he has plenty of upside.
25-year old righty Ervin Santana should be so much better than he is because of his stuff. It appears that he gets rattled very easily when things don’t go his way. He pitched in 28 games (26 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 7-14 with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. In his previous two season for the Angels Santana was 28-16 so the potential is there for a rebound.
27-year old lefty Joe Saunders will be the #4 starter for the Angels this season. He started 18 games for the Angels last season and he was 8-5 with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Saunders now has a career record of 15-8 in 33 major league starts so look for him to take advantage of his big chance.
26-year old righty Dustin Moseley did a little bit of everything for the Angels last season but he will be in the rotation until Lackey returns. He pitched in 46 games (8 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
21-year old righty Nick Adenhart is the top prospect in the Angels system from the pitching side and he will likely be the first callup if the Angels need a starting pitcher. He started in 26 games in AA ball last season and he was 10-8 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: C+