Garrett Richards 2015 Projections

Aug 15, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards (43) throws during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 season saw many top fantasy players go down with injuries. This hurts not only their team, but your fantasy team as well. One of those players was just cleared to begin pitching off of a mound. His name is Garrett Richards. With question marks around his status for Opening Day, what are Richards’ projections for this season?

After tearing his patellar tendon while covering first base on Aug. 20, going under the knife for surgery and rehabbing, Richards is now cleared to begin full baseball activities.

Richards was one of the Los Angeles Angels best pitchers last season. He led all starters in ERA and WHIP. He finished his season with a 13-4 record, 164 strikeouts, 2.61 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in 26 starts. After three unsuccessful seasons, this was Richards’ coming out party.

The injury put Richards behind his teammates as far as readiness for the 2015 season. However, the Angels’s General Manager Jerry Dipoto seems excited for Richards’ return this season. The fact he’s gone so quickly and had no setbacks is fantastic,” Dipoto said. “I couldn’t be any happier.” If he can make it through the preseason without any setbacks, Richards will be a top 20 starting pitcher this year.

As the No. 2 starting pitcher, behind Jered Weaver, Richards will be relied on heavily throughout the 2015 season. Experts dropped Richards in rankings, but the recent good news could see an upward movement on the charts.

Rotochamp.com has Richards ranked as the No. 83 overall player. ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft has him at No. 139 overall, No. 40 starting pitcher. He has, however, yet to update his rankings following the news. He should move up to within the Top 100 by next week.

Richards has all the makings to be a top pitcher in the league. He strikes out a ton, walks few and doesn’t allow many home runs. With a dominant fastball and the ability to keep the ball on the ground, Richards is a pitcher you need to have.

Projections: 13-7, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 145 strike outs. Drafted in Round 7.