Last night the LA Angels pulled another stunner, sending the maligned veteran Ian Kinsler to the Red Sox for a pair of near-MLB ready relief pitching. Kinsler was moved to the Red Sox to cover for the injured Dustin Pedroia after a rough half-season manning 2nd base for the Angels. In return the Angels have received 26-year-old LHP Williams Jerez and 25-year-old RHP Ty Buttrey.
The LA Angels have been stocking up on young talent recently in relatively cheap ways. Just a few days ago, the Angels sent catcher Martin Maldonado to the Astros for the 21-year-old strikeout wizard, Patrick Sandoval, whom just dominated in his Angels MiLB debut. Billy Eppler, Angels GM, has further expressed his ability to move veteran pieces on expiring contracts for actual talent. That’s not something we see with the Halos very often, and now we get two similar moves in the same week; both moves seeing higher value returning than going.
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With the trade of Ian Kinsler to the Red Sox, the Angels have now aquired the talents of two relief pitchers knocking on the MLB door from Triple A, pitchers Williams Jerez and Ty Buttrey. Both players have been working on successful Triple A campaigns with the Red Sox affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, and with the move to Anaheim they’ll be looking to finish the 2018 season off in the Majors.
Given that information, Buttrey has shown a talent for growth time and time again. In 2014, in his first go-around in A ball, Buttrey pitched to a 6.85 ERA in 46 IP. After being demoted and returning to A ball the following year, his aged 22 season in 2015, Buttrey collected a 2.45 ERA in 22 IP before seeing a quick call up to the next level. It’s a similar story regarding his Triple A time; his first trip (2017; his first full season out of the bullpen) seeing him pitch in 10 games to a 7.64 ERA in 17.2 IP while his current full-season stay in Triple A has seen a major maturation with his 2.25 ERA in 44 IP. From this we can see infer Buttrey’s ability to adjust to a talent curve and learn how to pitch well in new levels competition.
Buttrey commands three pitches in his repertoire; a fastball, change-up, and curveball. His fastball is by far his best pitch, the 6’6 reliever throwing for “plus-plus” power, though he displays both command and mechanical issues at times. His fastball strangely ranges from the mid 90’s all the way to triple digits given an inconsistent release point, yet his time this season has shown that’s nothing he can’t get his head around. Buttrey has been noted as a potential “mid-level” closer in the Majors. He’s also recently come into form with his strikeout ability, notching a 13.1 k/9 rate on the season thus far with 64 K’s in his 44 IP.
Developmentally, Jerez is not as close to MLB ready as Buttrey, but still stands just moments away from being so. Buttrey is practically MLB ready while Jerez still has a few more hoops to jump through. There’s still the necessity to improve his command, as his walk rate stands at a troublesome 4.2 BB/9, and regardless of how good his 11.9 K/9 rate is his walk issues can force him into plenty of danger. Buttrey, however, has come around on his command issues this season, given his 2.9 BB/9 rate.
With Ian Kinsler expendable given his expiring contract and the high-energy talents of rookie infielder David Fletcher this practically comes off as a “no-cost” move. Both players show MLB talents, with Buttrey offering a bit more staying potential long-term.
Williams Jerez currently holds hitters to a .382 slugging in Triple A, though he allows hitters on base at a .324 clip. Meanwhile Buttrey limits hitters to a sub .300 OBP alongside a .610 OPS.