Chase Silseth continues to grow in starting role

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Chase Silseth started the 2023 season in the bullpen, but when the Angels needed him, he stepped up as a starter.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chase Silseth’s major league career has seen its fair share of ups and downs since his 2022 MLB debut, but he’s taken it all in stride to become one of the team’s stronger starting arms at this point in the season. 

Since July 19, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Against the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 6, he set a new career-high with 12 punchouts.

Following a string of impressive starts in August, here’s a look back at Silseth’s development over the course of his career and the growth that has led to his much-improved record in 2023.

Before he was signed by the Angels in the 11th round of the 2021 draft, the Farmington, New Mexico native played for the University of Arizona Wildcats. He made 18 starts with the 2021 Pac-12 Champion team and earned Pac-12 All Conference honors. He went 8-1 throughout his college career with Arizona and struck out a team-high 105 batters, earning him recognition as one the top pitching prospects.

Last year on May 13, Silseth became the first player from the 2021 Draft class to make it to the show. In his first big league start, the young righty threw six innings, allowing just one hit in a 2-0 victory over the Oakland A’s at the Coliseum. 

The Angels have earned recognition over the years for their aggressiveness in calling up young draftees not long after they’ve been signed. In addition to Silseth, the Angels have also called up Reid Detmers (1st round, 2020), Zach Neto (1st round, 2022) and most recently, Nolan Schanuel (1st round, 2023) who made his MLB debut on Friday night. 

“That’s a young pitcher trying to find his way. He’s two years out of college and you do this every single day. It’s a little bit different than what you’re used to, so that’s the biggest adjustment that most players have when they get into professional baseball and get right to the major leagues right away,” said Angels manager, Phil Nevin. 

Throughout a 7-game stint in the majors last season, the 23-year-old pitched to the tune of 6.59 ERA with a 1-3 record. Going into Cactus League Play this year, Silseth focused on improving his pitch arsenal, which now includes a mix of his four-seam fastball, slider, splitter, sinker, cutter and curveball. 

He successfully added a cutter to his repertoire this year and began landing his slider and splitter more consistently — significant developments that even launched his name into earlier conversations about whether he should be the Angels sixth starter at the beginning of season. 

Nevin said he’s been impressed by Silseth’s improvements over the past year and the development he’s made toward becoming a reliable starting arm. 

“He’s really worked on his body and his endurance and understanding how to pace himself through a baseball game and it’s paid off for him,” said Nevin. “You know, that adjustment becomes a little bit harder, but stuff-wise, he’s been good.”

By opening day, Silseth was transitioned to the Angels bullpen as a utility pitcher that could possibly be moved into a starting role if the Angels needed another arm. Eventually, they did need him.

Silseth made his first start of this season on May 16 after José Suarez was moved to the IL due to a strained shoulder. He allowed four runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts through 3.1 innings in a 7-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles. 

Struggling with consistency and control, he was optioned to the Salt Lake Bees in June where he continued to hone his skills as a starter. In nine starts for Salt Lake, he secured a 4-1 record with a 2.79 ERA and 44 strikeouts.

His run in Triple-A didn’t last long as he returned to the majors on July 19 to complete the team’s sweep of the New York Yankees. Silseth pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts, securing the team a 7-3 win at home. 

When the Angels acquired 29-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito ahead of the trade deadline, Silseth was told he was being moved back to the bullpen, but not long after that conversation, they needed him again. With Griffin Canning experiencing soreness and needing a day off in Atlanta, Silseth was called on once more. This time — to take on the best team in baseball. 

His five-inning performance against the Atlanta Braves, which yielded just one run on three hits with four strikeouts, not only earned the team a 4-1 victory against the NL East leaders, but it also earned Silseth more opportunities to prove his abilities as a starter.

In the first game of a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, Silseth didn’t have as strong of an outing as he’s proven he’s capable of, but the Angels were still able to lock in a 7-6 victory. 

In his first career appearance against the Rays, Silseth tossed 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks and recording four strikeouts. 

“It’s a learning experience for him. It’s nice to get a win. I know he didn’t get the win, but like I said he’s done so well lately. You’re going to have a hiccup once in a while. You’re not going to have your best stuff sometimes, and it was a grind for him and it’s one he’s going to learn from,” said Nevin after the game. 

Silseth said after the game that he didn’t feel like he was using his lower half very well and his fastball was hitting the upper part of the zone, which are hard mechanics to correct mid-game. He said his focus after today’s outing, like always, is to keep moving forward and getting better with each start.

“You got to trust your preparation and I didn’t trust my preparation today. I kind of got in my head a little bit,” he said. “At the end of the day, we got a win, but in the future-wise, I just gotta go in and look at what was wrong and just fix it and just continue to move forward.”