The Angels are starting the season without Scot Shields and Chris Bootcheck so they will need to tread water a little bit until they are ready to return. Still, 26-year old righty Francisco Rodriguez will be back to dominate the 9th inning for the Angels this season. He pitched in 64 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 5-2 with 40 saves, a 2.81 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He also whiffed 90 hitters in only 67.1 innings which shows how dominant K-Rod really is.
32-year old righty Scot Shields will start the season on the D.L. and the Angels will miss him. He pitched in 71 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 4-5 with 2 saves, a 3.86 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Shields whiffed 77 batters in 77 innings last season for the Angels which shows what kind of stuff he has. Shields had 31 holds last season which led the American League which he has now done three years in a row.
34-year old righty Justin Speier has been very solid in the 7th inning for the Angels. He pitched in 51 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 2-3 with a 2.88 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. The Angels win most of the games that they have a lead heading into the 7th inning because of K-Rod, Shields and Speier.
37-year old lefty Darren Oliver will be the only pitcher in the Angels’ bullpen that pitches left handed. He pitched in 61 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. It will be interesting to see if Oliver is effective again in 2008 because he hasn’t been that good of a pitcher over his major league career. He has pitched in 412 games (228 starts) in his major league career and he is 94-81 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.
29-year old righty Chris Bootcheck will start the season on the D.L. Bootcheck has been the long man in the bullpen for a couple of years now and his role is an important one. He pitched in 51 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 3-3 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
29-year old righty Jason Bulger will have a bullpen job at the start of the season. He pitched in 6 games (0 starts) for the Angels last season and he was 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Bulger also pitched in 49 games in AAA ball last season and he was 5-2 with 10 saves, a 3.76 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He also whiffed an amazing 81 batters in only 52.2 innings in the minors last year.
23-year old righty Rich Thompson has made the opening day roster for the Angels. He pitched in 7 games (0 starts) for the Angels last year and he was 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA and a 1.95 WHIP. Thompson pitched in 38 games (3 starts) in A+AA+AAA ball last season and he was 5-3 with 1 save, a 2.01 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Thompson only allowed 52 hits and whiffed 85 batters in 76 innings last season in the minors.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: A-