ANAHEIM -- After a brief experiment in a relief role this season, rookie right-hander Chase Silseth excelled when moved to the rotation in mid-July and has put himself firmly on the club’s radar for 2024.
Silseth, who was activated from the 7-day injured list on Thursday after missing 28 games with a concussion, finished his season on a high note with a solid showing in a 5-1 win over the A’s on Friday night at Angel Stadium. Silseth was on a limited pitch count but went four innings, allowing one run on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He didn't factor into the decision and ends his year with a 3.96 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.
“It was good to be back out there and compete again,” Silseth said. “It feels awesome. The injury was unfortunate, but I tried to make the best of it. I wanted to fight and get out there one more time and I was able to do that, so I’m happy about that.”
Silseth was at his best as a starter in the second half, as he posted a 3.21 ERA over his final seven starts with 41 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings. But the 23-year-old also suffered an injury scare when he was struck in the back of the head on a throw from first to third on Aug. 26. Silseth sustained a concussion and made two rehab starts with Triple-A Salt Lake before he was deemed ready to return.
Silseth had to shake off some rust early, as he walked three straight batters with one out in the first before he got Aledmys Díaz to ground into a double play to escape the jam. Silseth bounced back with a 1-2-3 second inning and got two quick outs in the third before he plunked Zack Gelof with a pitch. He then gave up his lone run on an RBI double from Brent Rooker.
“Things kinda sped up on me,” Silseth said of the opening frame. “When you can’t do something for a month, it can take a toll on you. But my breathing really helped me slow things down. So that’ll be another priority in the offseason, just working on my conditioning and slowing things down.”
Silseth ended his outing with a second double play, getting the speedy Esteury Ruiz to ground into one to end the fourth. The righty was expected to have a pitch count of roughly 60 pitches and threw 61.
“It was good to see him get back out healthy and feeling good,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “I thought he threw the ball well. His tempo was good and he set the tone for the game.”
Silseth, an 11th-round pick in 2021, was the first player from his Draft class to reach the Majors last season. He showed some flashes of potential, but posted a 6.59 ERA in seven starts and came into Spring Training competing for a spot in the rotation.
But he ultimately opened the year in Triple-A Salt Lake’s rotation before the Angels brought him up to be part of the bullpen in late April. Silseth, though, had trouble over that stretch in that role, posting a 5.30 ERA with 13 walks in 18 2/3 innings, and he was sent back down to get stretched out in the Minors.
Silseth returned in mid-July and registered a strong outing against the Yankees on July 19, allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. He seemed to ride the momentum of that start and his confidence grew with each outing.
“I think my stuff is there and I competed really well,” Silseth said. “In August, I felt great. My conditioning was great. My pitches were great. Now the goal is to get back to that mentality of what I did in August and hopefully hold that throughout a season.”
He’s put himself in a good position heading into next year, while lefty Reid Detmers and right-hander Griffin Canning also finished their seasons strong. Left-hander Patrick Sandoval was inconsistent down the stretch, but has the best track record of the group. The Angels still have a glaring need for more starting pitching help next year, but are hopeful to build on that core.
“He's got a chance to be a very good pitcher in this league -- he already is,” Nevin said. “We know what he has. But you hear from other coaches and managers, like ‘Wow,’ and players talk and you overhear that. He has the stuff and makeup to be very, very good.”