Huston Street Is Everything Angels Asked For
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Right out the gate, the Los Angeles Angels and Huston Street sounded like a match made in heaven. Pardon the pun; you’ll be seeing a few of them here.
The Angels needed a closer after rotating between Ernesto Frieri and Joe Smith, before ultimately demoting and then trading Frieri to the Pittsburgh Pirates for fellow deposed closer Jason Grilli.
Street wanted to play for a winning team and needed an environment where he could get more save opportunities because the San Diego Padres weren’t cutting it (though they have made a surprising resurgence post-trade deadline).
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On July 18th, both parties’ prayers were answered when the Angels obtained Street while sending four prospects to San Diego: second baseman Taylor Lindsey, shortstop Jose Rondon, and righty pitchers R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris.
Many writers, including ESPN’s Keith Law and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, pronounced it an overpay for the Halos. No matter how good Street was, he was ultimately just a reliever.
Critics didn’t seem to consider that for Los Angeles, a team with championship aspirations, Street wasn’t a menial acquisition, but a chance to turn the team’s biggest weakness into a strength.
The right-hander is tied for third in runs allowed in the Majors with six for the whole season. Smith, while putting up a strong season himself, still allowed nearly three times as many runs with 16. And Frieri had 22 as an Angel, with 12 more as a Pirate before getting designated for assignment.
Street has converted 34 of 36 save opportunities for the season and his 94.4% save rate is the second highest in the MLB. He ranks eighth in saves, third in leaving runners stranded with an astonishing 95.1 LOB%, fourth in ERA at 1.13, and eighth in WHIP at 0.83.
As a result, FanGraphs advanced metrics has Street ranked #1 in WPA (Win Probability Added) at 4.07. Prior to the trade, the Angels bullpen had 13 blown saves. They’ve only had two since.
Huston… you’ve solved their problem.
Street has a club option for next season, which played a part in Angels surrendering a generous sum of prospects. The term “club option” is typically music to any GM’s ears, no matter how effective the player is.
But with the closer making a reasonable $7 million and performing at an elite level, it’s hard to imagine Los Angeles not exercising his option. After all, the two-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year arguably looks better than he ever has, posting his career best in ERA, and a second best in LOB%, K/9 (9.00), and FIP (2.60).
Huston runs these streets. He saved the team. Sorry, I guess now would be a good time to close this one out.