The glory days
Before the 2012 season Richards was considered a Top 100 prospect by most outlets after posting a 3.15 ERA in 2011 at Double-A with 103 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.14 in 143 innings.
He made his debut in that 2011 season with the Angels throwing just 14 innings.
Richards didn’t become a full-time big leaguer until 2013 when he threw 145 innings for the Angels with a 4.16 ERA.
But in 2014 he really put himself on the map as a top of the rotation pitcher with a 2.61 ERA in 168.2 innings with with a K/9 of 8.75.
That was his best season of his career with 4.3 WAR, according to FanGraphs.
In 2015 he threw over 200 innings for the first time with a 3.65 ERA in 207.1 innings for a WAR of 2.8.
Since then he’s thrown just 147.1 innings combined in the big leagues because of injuries. But when he has been on the mound during that time he’s been very good with a 3.36 ERA, which is even better if you throw out the 8.2 innings he pitched for the Padres at the end of 2019.
His fastball didn’t have any decline after coming back from Tommy John as he averaged 95.1 MPH in 2019 and his slider was actually the fastest it has ever been at around 89.2 MPH. And his curveball had good life as well.
It was a short sample size with the Padres in 2019, but everything looked just the same for Richards.
Location was the only issue I saw, and that’s to be expected coming back from TJ.