By Vincent Page (@VincentPage74)
In terms of a player to break out this year for the LA Angels, perhaps the most intriguing candidates lie within the rotation or batting order. However, one name to watch is relief pitcher Williams Jerez.
Jerez came to the Angels last season as part of the package for Ian Kinsler. The left-handed pitcher had yet to make his major league debut, and immediately became a Top 30 prospect for the Halos.Jerez got the chance to make his debut in 2018, and in 17 games posted a 6.00 ERA. He had 15 strikeouts while allowed eight walks and three home runs.
However, if not for a bad three game stretch to end August, Jerez’s numbers look a lot more promising. He allowed six runs (and two of his three homers) in those starts, and without them his season-long ERA drops to 2.77.
While I’m not predicting an ERA south of three this season for Jerez, he is a player to keep an eye on as the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen for the Halos. The team shipped off lefty specialist Jose Alvarez this winter, and part of that could be their confidence in Jerez to mature into the same role.
The Angels’ bullpen has the chance to be elite this season after some offseason additions. And while the new players in Anaheim will be important, a breakout season from Jerez may be just what the unit needs to join the most elite bullpens in the MLB.