Should the LA Angels Worry About Blake Parker?
By Vincent Page
The LA Angels had major upgrades this offseason. However, the bullpen was mostly left as it was from 2017. However, with Blake Parker struggling, should the Angels start to worry?
Blake Parker had a breakout year for the LA Angels in 2017. The RV-living journeyman found his way to the Halos roster and turned in his best season yet as a reliever. Parker, along with a handful of other impressive relievers, led the Halos to not invest in their bullpen this offseason. However, they may soon regret that.
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Blake Parker turned in a huge 2017 season. His 2.54 ERA, 15 holds, and eight saves arguably made him the best Halos pitcher in 2017. He was a key cog for the Halos all season long, and arguably the most consistent player for them.
However, his Spring Training in 2018 has not been a good sign of a repeat performance. In three appearances, Parker has allowed four runs on seven hits. In just 2.2 innings. He has struck out three and walked one, which is not terrible. However, it is far from what you want your top reliever bringing to the table.
It is an extremely small sample size. However, with a pitcher like Parker it does cause worry. Outside of 2017, he only has two other seasons in which he has an ERA under 5.00. In one of those years, he finished with a 4.96 ERA, barely making that threshold. If his play continues like this, his 2017 season will begin to be questioned as just a flash in the pan.
For comparisons sake, last season Parker earned his job in Spring Training. He was truly a shutout reliever. The only evidence one needs of this is that Parker struck out 17 consecutive batters last Spring Training.
If he is unable to return to the form from last season, Parker will put the Angels in a bad position. They still have a handful of other relievers who can be solid guys, but Parker was the best bet at a true closer.
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If the Halos do start to look elsewhere for bullpen help, there are still options out there. Greg Holland, Trevor Rosenthal, Koji Uehara are all still available via free agency, and could all potentially close out games.
Unless they want to invest in a free agent reliever, the LA Angels need Blake Parker to break out of his current funk and return to his elite form from 2017.