Dane De La Rosa: Quietly Becoming the Angels Best Relief Pitcher

By Saxon Baird

Prior to the 2013 season the Los Angeles Angels made a small move that was barely noticed. Dane De La Rosa was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league pitcher Steven Geltz. At the time, the trade seemed to be basically a wash. Both are relievers, both are right-handed, both had limited big league experience.

July 23, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Dane De La Rosa (65) pitches during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

However, as the 2013 comes to a close, Dane De La Rosa has become possibly the most reliable part of the Angels bullpen despite its struggles. And that reliability has only increased over the past month.

Since August 1st, De La Rosa has pitched 17 innings and allowed just a single run. During that stretch he’s held opposing batters to a .161 batting average and allowed only nine hits in addition to notching his first two big league saves along with 7 holds. Currently, De La Rosa has posted just under 1 WAR this season according to Fangraphs. Not a bad run for a 30-year old relief pitcher who prior to 2013 was a minor league journeyman.

While De La Rosa’s success on the mound has increased over the past month and a half, he’s also been a reliable bullpen arm who can log innings and keep the ball in the park for the entirety of 2013. De La Rosa currently leads all Angels relievers in innings out of the bullpen with 67 1/3 innings logged. He also leads all Angels pitchers (starters included) in the least amount of home runs allowed per nine innings having given up just three home runs this season for an average of 0.4 home runs allowed per nine. De La Rosa is also second on the Angels team in least amount of hits allowed per nine, averaging 7.2 hits (Michael Kohn leads the Angels team with 6.2).

One of the biggest problems with the 2013 Angels has been their unreliable bullpen. The Angels bullpen ERA is 5th worst in all of major league baseball and the fifth worst strikeout to walk ratio as well. This coming off-season, strengthening the bullpen will be one of the top priorities for the the Los Angeles front office. Fortunately, if Dane De La Rosa’s 2013 season isn’t a fluke, it seems he is one pitcher in the Angels bullpen that they can rely on heavily again next year.