The Angels’ offense was tremendous in 2014 (see our outfield and infield previews), finishing with a position player crop that ranked second in the majors in WAR and wRC+. However, it was the Angels’ performance on the mound that led to a 98-win season, and 20-win improvement. Rotational success was at the forefront of the turnaround, as a group that ranked near the bottom of many statistical categories in 2013 (including 23rd in WAR and 24th in FIP) moved into the upper-half of baseball (14th in WAR, 11th in FIP), a shift that was good enough to bring the club back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Entering 2015 with another offensive group that figures to be quite productive, the Angels will need their rotation to keep up its performance from last season in order to overtake the likes of Seattle and Oakland in the AL West.
Salary: $18 million
Free Agent: 2017
Even with Weaver’s production dropoff in recent years, the decision to sign him to a fairly discounted extension in August of 2011 remains one of Tony Reagin’s most astute moves. Weaver has just two years remaining on that five-year, $85 million extension, and with Garrett Richards’ status to start the season still somewhat uncertain, Weaver remains the staff’s de facto ace.
Despite the title, Weaver hasn’t exactly pitched like an ace in a few years. After a third place Cy Young finish for a 2012 season in which he led the league with 20 wins and posted a 2.81 ERA, 135 ERA+, 1.018 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, and 3.16 K/BB in 188.2 innings, Weaver missed time with a fractured elbow in 2013, limiting his innings total to 154.1 frames. When on the field, he was still productive, putting up a 3.27 ERA and 2.3 WAR.
2014 was somewhat of a revival for Weaver, as he was able to eclipse the 200 innings mark (he threw 213.1) for the first time since 2011. However, he saw both his ERA (3.59) and FIP (4.19) climb for the fourth consecutive season, and it was clearly his least successful season on a per-inning basis.