Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ANAHEIM — Hours before the Angels began their final weekend of a disappointing 2017 season, Matt Shoemaker was in the outfield playing catch, building for 2018.A little later, Garrett Richards stood in the clubhouse and pondered the possibilities.“Everybody in our rotation has had moments where they’ve looked unbelievable,” Richards said. “We know it’s certainly possible.”The Angels’ rotation has been decimated by injuries two years in a row, most notably with Richards missing almost all of both seasons. Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs, who started Friday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners, also missed most of both seasons. Shoemaker has been out the second half of this season, after missing the final month of 2016 when he had to have brain surgery after getting hit in the head by a line drive. JC Ramirez (damaged ulnar collateral ligament) underwent stem-cell treatment last month. He has an ultrasound scheduled for Sunday to check the progress, he said. General Manager Billy Eppler said the damage to his elbow was not as serious as the injuries that Richards and Heaney had when they underwent stem-cell therapy, so there’s optimism he can bounce back without surgery.Otherwise, the Angels go into the winter healthy.“It seems like, all of the sudden, you can can flip the page to 2018, we can have some starting rotation depth, which we haven’t had in three years,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s very promising, some of these guys are getting on the right track.”A look at the 2018 starting pitching depth chart, as it stands today:Richards, 29, successfully came back from a damaged UCL, using stem-cell therapy, but then he missed five months of 2017 because of biceps nerve irritation. He returned to post a 2.74 ERA in five starts, all on a limited pitch count.“The last month the ball was coming out of my hand as good as it ever has,” Richards said. “I got to check a lot of things off the list, as far as concerns or doubts or whatever.”Heaney, 26, made it back from Tommy John surgery earlier than expected, pitching five times before shoulder inflammation knocked him out of his last three starts. Heaney is now healthy – he would have started Thursday if the Angels hadn’t been eliminated on Wednesday – and he’s turning his attention to performing better. He had a 7.06 ERA in those five starts, a far cry from the 3.49 ERA he posted the season before undergoing surgery.Skaggs, 26, missed most this season with a strained oblique. After he returned, he pitched poorly for a month. Skaggs then tweaked his delivery and reintroduced his two-seam fastball, which helped him be more successful.Parker Bridwell, 25, was the beneficiary of the opportunity provided by all the other injuries. Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations in April, Bridwell has a 3.87 ERA heading into his final start of the regular season, on Sunday. Although he pitches to contact, which some suggest might not be sustainable, the Angels believe he has the stuff, and the mentality, to do it.“He’s not afraid to go out there and compete,” Richards said. “That’s as useful as any particular tool you can have as a pitcher. I’m excited to see him build off this year.”Nick Tropeano, 27, has been rehabbing all season from Tommy John surgery performed last August. He is currently throwing extended bullpen sessions in instructional league. He is expected to face hitters in a game-like setting next month in Arizona, and then have a normal winter and be unrestricted in the spring.While it requires a good deal of optimism to think they all will be healthy next year, Richards said they’ve all come out stronger from their injuries.“Everybody has learned a lot about themselves, not only physically, but mindset wise as well,” he said. “I’m excited. We have the potential to be very very good.” “When somebody goes down, we are all like, Really? This is happening?” Richards said. “I don’t think there’s any method to the madness. It’s all just sheer bad luck.”Which is why there is hope around the Angels that, if their luck can change next season, their weakness could suddenly become a strength.“If we could have four or five guys up and healthy,” Shoemaker said, “the sky is the limit.”As they close this season, five of the top eight starting pitchers under control for next year are able to throw without restrictions. Only one — Alex Meyer, who had shoulder surgery — is out for next season.Shoemaker (radial nerve compression surgery) is throwing, with the plan of working up to extended bullpen sessions within a month. If he passes that test, he’ll be shut down and considered healthy for spring training.