It's been a long two years, but the signs are there for Garrett Richards to get his career back on track, provided he escapes injury for the first time since 2015. In 2016, Richards was diagnosed with a torn UCL, which he rehabbed with plasma and stem-cell injections in lieu of Tommy John surgery. Last season, Richards had to leave his initial start due to nerve irritation in his biceps and remained sidelined until early September. After he returned, Richards impressed, finishing his abbreviated campaign with a 2.28 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 27.2 innings, fanning 27. More encouraging than the small-sample success was Richards was sitting at 96 mph, where he was a couple years ago when he was tabbed as an emerging ace. With just 62.1 frames under his belt since 2015, Richards will have his innings monitored, which is one reason the Halos are considering using a six-man rotation. Where to draft Richards is up to your own weighing of risk versus reward. His upside is an SP3 in mixed formats.
Richards agreed to a one-year, $7.3 million deal with the Angels on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group reports, Richards missed the first five months of the 2017 season after leaving his initial start due to nerve irritation in his biceps. The 29-year-old was able to provide five promising, yet abbreviated, starts in September, and posted a 2.28 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with 27 strikeouts over 27.2 innings on the year. He will head into 2018 injury-free and ready to take over as a front-end starter in the Angels' rotation, although it's expected that his innings will be monitored to begin the year.
Richards was charged with three runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 3.2 innings Wednesday. He didn't factor into the decision in an extra-inning loss to the White Sox. Richards breezed through the first three innings, but he failed to escape the fourth after allowing five batters to reach base and three to cross home plate before getting an early hook. It was a sour end to the 29-year-old's season after he posted a 1.69 ERA over his previous three starts since returning from the 60-day DL. Richards bypassed Tommy John surgery following a UCL tear that limited him to six starts in 2016, opting to go with an unorthodox treatment using stem cells. While he made the same number of appearances this year, his lengthy absence was due to a biceps injury, ruling out what would have been another disastrous elbow issue. Richards should be considered an injury risk at this point of his career, but if he can return at full strength following an offseason of rest, the hard-throwing righty would regain fantasy appeal thanks to his previous success on the mound.
Richards pitched six scoreless innings with just a single hit and walk allowed while striking out six batters during Friday's loss to Houston. He didn't factor in the decision. Richards has now allowed just four runs over 19.1 innings through four starts since returning from a five-month stint on the disabled list, and he now sports a 1.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 for the season. A road date with the White Sox projects to be Richards' final start of the regular season, which is a nice matchup to post another strong fantasy showing.
Richards (0-2) took the loss Sunday, allowing two earned runs on two hits across five innings to the Rangers, who won 4-2. He also walked one and struck out seven. Richards remains winless this season -- although he's only made four starts thanks to long-term injury issues. He's only allowed four earned runs and two walks across his three September outings (while also striking out 14), so he might be worth plugging into your lineup for one of his last few starts of 2017.
Richards (0-1) suffered a loss Tuesday against the Astros despite allowing just a single run on four hits over five innings. He struck out four without a walk. Thanks to Richards' persistent injury issues, this marks his first decision of any sort since he beat the Royals back on April 25, 2016. The loss is unfortunate, but Richards notably lasted much longer in this game than he did in his first start off the DL (3.1 innings), and he's looked effective both times out. As long as his arm holds up, Richards could offer fantasy owners a few more effective starts down the stretch.