MLB Rumors: Shohei Ohtani, Angels SPs Not Expected to Throw More Than 165 Innings

Adam WellsMay 13, 2022

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11:  Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 11, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Given how much work Shohei Ohtani puts in as a two-way player and the injury volatility of their other starting pitchers, the Los Angeles Angels are reportedly going to take a conservative approach with their rotation. 

Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Angels aren't expecting any of their starters to throw more than 165 innings each this season. 

Rosenthal did note the Angels aren't seeing hard limits and "things change" over the course of a 162-game season. 

The Angels have been one of the most pleasant surprises in Major League Baseball through the first month of this season. They are one of only three teams in the American League with at least 20 wins (21-12) entering play on Friday. 

One big reason for their surprising performance thus far is the success of their rotation. Angels starters rank fifth in MLB with a 3.28 ERA and seventh with 3.1 FanGraphs wins above replacement. 

Among their five pitchers who have made at least five starts, Michael Lorenzen is the only one with an ERA above 4.00 (4.13). 

While those numbers are impressive, it's not a shock to hear the Angels want to tread carefully with this group.

Ohtani threw a career-high 130.2 innings last season after throwing a total of 53.1 innings from 2018-20. He didn't pitch at all in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2018. The reigning AL MVP has been dominant on the mound this season with a 2.78 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. 

Noah Syndergaard missed almost two full seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2020. He did make two relief appearances for the New York Mets at the end of the 2021 season. The 29-year-old has a 2.45 ERA through five starts in 2022. 

Patrick Sandoval, who threw a career-high 87 innings last year, leads Angels starters with a 2.03 ERA this season. Rookie Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, but manager Joe Maddon certainly made it sound after the game like his spot isn't going to be guaranteed. 

"Bully for him," Maddon told reporters. "I mean, that’s potentially a life-altering event for a young man, as a major league player. Hopefully, we’re gonna get a lot of residue out of that in the future because he’s capable. Of course, no-hitters don’t happen all the time. I’m just saying that’s how he should pitch. That’s what he should look like more often."

Detmers entered that start with a 5.32 ERA in his first five appearances. 

Jose Suarez was supposed to be the Angels' sixth starter, but he was demoted to Triple-A on May 1 after posting a 6.35 ERA in four starts. 

If the Angels remain in postseason contention, they might target starting pitchers before the Aug. 2 trade deadline. They could also attempt to push their top starters, including Ohtani and Syndergaard, down the stretch if they can lock up a playoff berth for the first time since 2014.