Who is an arm’s length ahead in race for LA Angels pen?

Aug 3, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian (68) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian (68) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Angels had one of the worst bullpens last season some of it was due to injuries which plagued the whole pitching staff. The other reason was just old-fashion ineffectiveness. Can this year’s bullpen turn it around?

The 2017 LA Angels will look somewhat different than the crew that started the season last year.  Let’s look at who is doing well for the Angels this Spring and there may be a few surprises in the pen.

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Who’s Not-So Hot

Austin Adams was acquired over the Winter and he is trying to make the club out of Spring Training.  However he has had a less than stellar Spring going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP with four strikeouts.  He will most likely be sent out to Triple-A to start the season for a little more work.  This could change in the next few weeks if Adams could get it together.

Jose Alvarez is once again making a case to be a left-handed specialist in the Angels bullpen as he is having a decent Spring. Alvarez has a 3.00 ERA in three innings of work.  However if you look deeper at the numbers they aren’t as good as the seem.  Alvarez has only one strikeout and an opponent batting average of .308 with a 1.33 WHIP.

I think Alvarez’s time may have past, but it will be up to Angels manager Mike Scioscia to make the final call and he has always be known to be loyal to his veterans so we will see.

Vicente Campos is still hanging in the race for a roster spot, but barely.  He has a 22.50 ERA giving up  five runs in 2.2 innings Campos has a WHIP of 2.50 and an opponents batting average of .333,   Unless he turns it around quick he will bit make the opening day roster for the Angels.

Greg Mahle was hoping to make another Spring Training run at the Opening Day roster as a left-handed specialist, but it wasn’t in the cards this year. Mahle posted a 11.57 ERA in five appearances that totaled 2.1 innings with a 2.14 WHIP and a .333 opponents batting average.  Mahle sent outright to minor league camp this week so his chance of making the club is nada.

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Justin Miller was also trying to make the roster but he has been nothing less than a disaster almost every time he has taken the mound this Spring as evidence of his 19.29 ERA in 4.2 innings of work.  Miller has given up 10 runs and has a WHIP of 3.21 WHIP and he has an opponents batting average of .500.

Kenyan Middleton is one of the top young arms in the Angels farm system but has struggled this Spring with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in seven innings of work.  Middleton has an outside chance at making the roster, but he is probably still a year away.

Another prospect that could be heard from soon is Brooks Pounders who was acquired from Kansas City this Winter. However, Pounders has not shown to be ready to make the jump to the majors. He is 2-0 with a 7.50 ERA with a save in six innings of work.  Pounders also has a .300 opponents batting average and a 1.50 WHIP, but he could be heard from before the season ends.

Andrew Bailey who was so effective as a closer for the Angels in September has had a hard time this Spring posting a 9.82 ERA in 3.2 innings pitched posting a 2.45 WHIP as he has lost his control walking six batters in 3.2 innings.  His opponents batting average is actually much better than you might expect is at .214 which shows that Bailey is fooling batters if he can find the plate. He will most likely be the main set-up man in the Angels pen when the season starts.

Another key member in the Angels bullpen in 2016 was J.C. Ramirez who was lights out after being signed mid-season. Ramirez has now being groomed to become a starting pitcher this Spring.  That is a longshot, but he still can hope.  Ramirez should still make the team as a member of the bullpen but that will depend on if he pitches better in these last two weeks.

The final person on the not-so-hot list is a stalwart from the Angels bullpen last season which is Deolis Guerra. Guerra is not having a good Spring so far and is in danger of not making the roster this season posting a 6.00 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP.  We will see in the next ccouple of weeks in Guerra can crack the roster.

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Who’s Hot List

Heading this list is possible closer Cam Bedrosian. Bedrosian was slowed by a groin injury early this Spring.  Since he has been returned Bedrosian has been lights out in his three appearances. Bedrosian has been perfect in three outings sporting a 0.00 ERA striking out four batters while walking one in three innings.

Bedrosian has a .182 opponents batting average with a 1.00 WHIP and looks like he may be the favorite to lock down the closer’s role with Huston Street still on shelf with a right lat strain. If Street is not careful he may not get his job back if Bedrosian is effective in his new potential role.

Another pitcher who is trying to stick with the club when they break camp is left-handed specialist Cody Ege. In seven appearances Ege has yet to give up a run striking out five batters in 6.1 innings of work. Ege has an 0.79 WHIP and a .227 opponents batting average.  Ege has a good chance to make the roster if he continues to pitch well and be the lefty specialist for the Angels to boot.

Blake Parker is a longshot to make the team but he is doing everything he can to do just that.  Parker has a 1.59 ERA with one save.  He also has a less than stellar WHIP of 1.41 and an opponents batting average of .250 with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings.  We will see what happens in the next few weeks.

Another non-roster invitee who has a good chance to make the club is reliever Yusmeiro Petit. Petit has pitched in two games before heading to the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela . Petit has pitched five innings giving up no runs while striking out three. Petit has a 1.20 WHIP and a  .278 batting average against him.

Petit could be a starter or reliever when the Angels start the season. We will find out in a few weeks.

Kirby Yates is another surprise this Spring pitching six innings of nearly flawless relief sporting a 1.50 ERA.  Yates also has a 0.50 WHIP which is very impressive and what’s even more impressive is a .105 opponents batting average with seven strikeouts in six innings. Yates may  make the opening day roster especially if he could keep up his hot start.

The final pitcher worth mentioning is reliever Jose Valdez.  Valdez is 2-0 in six appearances and has a WHIP 0.83 and .150 batting average against him.  Valdez is fighting for one of the last bullpen spots. As of right now Valdez could have a roster spot almost sewn up as long as he continues to pitch effectively.

Next: A look at the Angels starting roster

We that’s my list of the hot Angels relievers and also not-so hot relievers as well. In my next segment I will talk about the Angels hitters who are hot and not-so hot.