Looking at the Potential 2017 25-man Roster For the LA Angels
The Angels bullpen was a major weakness in 2016 as it only converted 29 of 50 save opportunities which was 27th overall in the majors. The were many reasons for this. Injuries played a key part in the bullpen woes as did ineffectiveness, and losing a few key pieces to trades.
The closer – This role is up in the air with three potential candidates vying for the spot. Huston Street has been the Angels closer for the past 2.5 season and has been pretty consistent converting 67 of 76 save opportunities. However, Street struggled mightily in 2016 mostly due to injuries sporting a 3-2 record with a 6.45 ERA converting none of 12 saves. Street missed the last two and a half months of the season with a knee injury, but with Mike Scioscia’s loyalty he has been known to show to veterans, Street will likely get first crack at the role.
Cam Bedrosian is the young buck who has finally reached his potential in 2016 going 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Bedrosian moved from the sixth inning guy all the way into the closer spot in 2016 before a blood clot in his arm sidelined him in early August. If Bedrosian can show the same consistency as he did in 2016 he could unseat Street as the closer. At the very least he will probably be the primary set-up man provided he is healthy.
The darkhorse candidate is veteran Andrew Bailey. Bailey cam up in September and closed out six games in six opportunities. Bailey had an ERA of 2.38 a 0.97 WHIP in 12 appearances for the Angels. If both Street and Bedrosian are not ready to start the season Bailey could sneak in and snatch the role.
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Rather repeat myself I will just say that Bedrosian and Bailey as well as Street will most likely fill the 7th and 8th inning set-up roles depending on who gets the closers job. The only likely pitcher that could sneak in and grab one of these two roles could be J.C. Ramirez who filled both roles during the second half of the 2016 season. The Angels are trying to convert Ramirez to a starting pitcher, but it remains to be seen if that will actually be the spot where Ramirez ends up.
This spot was an abomination for the Angels as Jose Alvarez, Greg Mahle, and Cody Ege were the three pitchers who held the spot for a time. Ege was already designated for assignment and Mahle ended the season in Triple-A so Alvarez may be the favorite. However it is also likely that the Angels may still try to acquire someone for this role or not have a lefty out of the bullpen to the start of the season.
The Best of the Rest
The Angels will fill out the bullpen with Mike Morin, Deolis Guerra and Jesse Chavez probably having the best opportunity to make the Opening Day roster in 2017. Brooks Pounders acquired from the Royals could also be in the mix as could either Eduardo Paredes and hard throwing Keynan Middleton who both pitched in the minors throughout 2016. It’s hard to speculate at this early point in time, but these are the likely candidates.