Jaime Barria was considered to be one of the LA Angels top pitching prospects coming into 2018. However, he was not expected to up in the big leagues except for a September call-up or maybe a spot start.
As the saying goes “the best laid plans” seems to always apply to the LA Angels pitching staff, at least over the past three seasons. The Angels starting rotation went into 2018 with nine pitchers vying for six spots and this did not even include Barria. But things happen.
First the Angels lost Alex Meyer to a torn labrum. Then after only one start Matt Shoemaker went down and has yet to return. After only two starts J.C. Ramirez tore his UCL in his elbow. This created at least a part-time role for Jaime Barria as a 6th starter when needed. Barria performed admirably in this role going 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his first seven starts.
Sometimes Barria would make a start and then get sent down the following day. Unfortunately this role would again have to change as the Angels lost Shohei Ohtani in early June. When this happened Barria finally had a permanent spot in the rotation and he would not be making anymore trips to Salt Lake City.
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Barria has continued to perform well no matter what role he has been used in and has shown why he was rated as one of the Angels top pitching prospects. So far through the All-Star Break Barria is 5-6 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 66 innings of work. He has given up two runs or less in 11 of his 13 starts and has lasted at least five innings in 11 of 13 starts as well.
In his last five starts he has seen his ERA jump a full run mostly due to his worst start of his career against the Arizona Diamondbacks in mid-June which saw Barria last only four innings allowing six runs on six hits.
However, Barria is in the midst of a five-game losing streak not getting a win since June 1st against Texas. While this does not sound good for Barria he has not pitched badly, but rather has been the product of lack of support. His ERA in those five starts has been 3.50 which is very respectable. Barria given the Angels a reliable arm they can send to the mound every five days and know that he will keep them in the ball game.
Mid-Season Report Card Grade: B+
Jaime Barria gets high marks for coming in at almost a moments notice and pitching well. He has given the Angels a reliable 4th/5th/6th starter throughout this season and he will only get better. When the Angels have needed a lift Barria has delivered and does not seem to be intimidated in any situation.
Hopefully he will blossom into a reliable number two or number three starter over the next couple of seasons.