With the struggling Joel Pineiro banished to the bullpen, the Angels have an open spot in their starting rotation that needs to be filled Wednesday night. The Angels are in New York to battle the Yankees for three games, and have yet to officially announce Wednesday's starting pitcher. But it appears Garrett Richards will fill that role.
Keith Law of ESPN on Monday night tweeted that he heard Richards was getting called up to the big leagues. The 23-year old right-hander was a supplemental first round pick by the Angels in 2009, a compensation pick for losing free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez. Richards has enjoyed a fine season with Double A Arkansas this season, going 12-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 3.54 FIP in 21 starts.
John Sickels at MinorLeagueBall.com analyzed Richards last week and registered some concern that the right-hander has been helped by his home park:
His current home park in Arkansas is very pitcher-friendly, and his home/road splits are pretty sharp right now: he has a 1.65 ERA, a .190 batting average-against, and just one homer allowed in 71 innings at home, but on the road he has a 4.57 ERA, a .258 average-against, and seven homers coughed up in 65 innings. Hitter-friendly Salt Lake and the PCL will require him to make more adjustments.
Sickels also noted that Richards' main weapon was his fastball, a 91-94 MPH pitch with sink, maxing out at 95-96. Richards was rated as the Angels' seventh-ranked prospect before this season by Baseball America, and was rated sixth in the organization by Law. Richards last pitched on Thursday in Arkansas, putting him in line to pitch in The Bronx on Wednesday on six days rest.
For more news on Garret Richards and the Angels, be sure to read Halos Heaven.