Will LA Angels Rule 5 pick Luke Bard see MLB time?

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Closer Yusmeiro Petit
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Closer Yusmeiro Petit /

The LA Angels picked up Twins prospect Luke Bard from the Rule 5 Draft on December 14th. Bard is very strong prospect coming off a breakout 2017 season across AA/AAA, and at the age of 27 he may have the experience to find success with the Angels in 2018.

Billy Eppler has done it again for the LA Angels.

Many have wondered what kind of upgrades to the bullpen Eppler would bring heading into the 2018 season. The Angels GM already stated his aversion to pricey pitching from the free agent class this offseason. The LA Angels will hope to find the same success as they did when pulling stand-out reliever and future closer Blake Parker from the waiver wire in 2016.

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While the Angels selected three players in the Rule 5 Draft, Luke Bard is the ballplayer closest to seeing major league time. At the age of 27, Luke Bard has spent 5 seasons pitching for multiple Twins minor league affiliations. Bard, a right-handed reliever, is a former first round draft pick who began his career in 2011 and pitched his first 50+ IP season in 2015.

During Bard’s 2015 season, in the 52.1 IP, the guy gave up one HR. That isn’t an an anomaly, because in the following two seasons (2016/2017) Bard gave up 6 home runs throughout 130.1 IP. Statistically speaking, it would take 3 games of 9 IP for Bard to give up a home run with his career HR/9 rate of 0.3.

As good as his ability to keep the ball in the park looks, that isn’t his biggest weapon. His killer instinct thrives on his incredible strikeout ability with his career SO/9 of 9.8; his 2017 season seeing him collect K’s to a whopping rate of 13.6.

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As much as I’d like to hold reservations regarding Luke Bard I just can’t help but get excited. Look at that strikeout rate, his ability to limit home runs. They look pretty incredible, and given his 1st round draft status and age (27) it isn’t hard to believe this is within his development track. No flukes, just natural ability progressing as it should.

Bard’s career ERA throughout the minors is a standout 3.07, and in 2017 he put up a 2.58 ERA in 33 games in AA. Don’t be surprised if he wins a job out of Spring Training, if the Angels don’t have him on the 25 man roster for the full 2018 season the Angels must offer him back to the Twins. That doesn’t mean the Twins would pick him back up, but he must be offered, so it’s he’ll get plenty of time to showcase his skills in Spring Training and earn a spot in the pen.

Luke Bard, the younger brother of MLB pitcher Daniel Bard, is now the 39th man on the Angels 40 man roster.