Who is the Los Angeles Angels Closer?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Cam Bedrosian
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Cam Bedrosian /

The 2017 LA Angels closer role has been a rollercoaster this season.

By Opening Day the Los Angeles Angels had decided on Cam Bedrosian to be their closer. Bedrosian seemed to have owned the role after a solid Spring coupled with his break out 2016 campaign. Huston Street began the year on the disabled list while Andrew Bailey spent one week on the roster before hitting the DL himself.

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Bedrosian assumed the responsibility, however after accumulating three saves in the first three weeks he himself hit the DL for two months, leaving the Angels in a pickle.

The bullpen should’ve been shattered, but instead an unlikely group of arms stepped up. In the first half of the season the Angels bullpen ranked 3rd in ERA for all of the majors.

Former starter-turned-reliever Bud Norris became the closer, locking down save after save to at one point lower his ERA down to 2.43 in mid-June.

Journeyman and RV-dweller Blake Parker emerged as a go to option in high leverage situations.  With runners in scoring position, Parker, thanks to his ridiculous 11.3 K/9 and 2.39 ERA over 57 games, was one of the best in the MLB.

Yusmeiro Petit blossomed into arguably the most consistent reliever on the staff with his 2.36 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.

From the Angels farm system, No.5 prospect Keynan Middleton came on to provide another power arm to the mix. While Middleton’s stats aren’t the best (4.12 ERA)  he’s displayed tremendous flashes of closer potential.  Middleton has tremendous stuff and seems to be able use them in high leverage situations a small was evident last week.  Last week Middleton picked up his first two big league saves and got two wins during the Angrls current six-game winning streak.

The reason for Middleton’s increased role is the Angels closer Bud Norris has fallen on hard times. Norris blew three saves in a two-week period including two walk-off grand slams so he hasn’t been demoted.

Deservingly so, Manager Mike Scioscia demoted the 32-year old to set-up where he continued to struggle. After the August 10th game (Norris’ third blown save), the Angels skipper had this to say.

That leaves us to the situation at hand: The Angels are currently right in the middle of the playoff picture, so how will they handle their closer situation – which is a vital part to a successful playoff team.

In rummaging through the five candidates, quite frankly there’s no going wrong with any of the potential closer options. All are capable, and have proven to be reliable in a save situation. That being said, Mike Scioscia could opt for a revolving door of freshest arms available, or the term he prefers to use: “closer by committee”.

The issue is that plan is usually implemented early in the season and with a weaker staff as opposed to a stronger one.

In my eyes the clear solution is Cam Bedrosian. Cam excelled in 2016, finally elevating to the potential Halo scouts saw when they drafted the son of a former closer in the first round in 2014. Bedrosian has also done nothing to lose the role on his own merits, as injuries and an understandable reliance on the then-hot-hand Bud Norris. Both lights have since faded, so the time is now.

Not only is this the short-term play but the move for the future. At 25 years old, Bedrosian represents the closer for the future so garnering him high leverage, high intensity spots that come with the playoff push.

Parker’s special knack for escaping inherited runners must continue to be used in those spots, so a closer role isn’t quite for him. The same applies to Petit, as even though Jesse Chavez has joined the bullpen as the new long man, Petit has hardly been used in high leverage spots until very recently.

As for Middleton, he possesses the same “closer of the future” niche. However, his inconsistency can’t be relied upon during this playoff push.

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Hopefully Mike Scioscia will choose wisely and the Angels will continue to climb in the standing and lock down a playoff berth.