The Angels are officially ready for spring training. All of their players are under contract. The last piece of it was agreeing to a deal with pitcher Kevin Jepsen. The Angels did that yesterday, avoiding arbitration with the right-handed reliever on a one year deal worth $1.18 million dollars.
Jepsen reemerged as an important part of the Angels bullpen. After going 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA (with a WHIP of 2.30!) in 2011, Jepsen’s numbers came back down to earth in 2012. Jepsen went 3-2 with a career low 3.02 ERA. Jepsen struck out 38 batters in 44.2 innings pitched last season and brought his WHIP back down to a career low 1.14
Jepsen is going to play a very important role in the bullpen for the Angels in 2013. With Ryan Madson as the closer, Jepsen is going to be a part of getting the ball to him to shut the door. The Angels will have Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri from the right side, and Scott Downs and Sean Burnett from the left. If Madson can’t close due to his recovery from Tommy John, Jepsen’s role becomes more important, because then he becomes the chief right-handed setup man.
Jepsen also has to prove himself. 2012 in a lot of ways was a career best season. Is he the kind of player that we saw last year and in 2010. Is he more of the 2011 pitcher? Is it somewhere in between? We will find out as 2013 begins to unfold.