It’s the little things that count
The Angels GM Billy Eppler, despite starting pitching woes, is celebrated for his skill at working the under-the-radar trade. 2018 saw Eppler fleece both the Astros and Red Sox by sending two-months of Martin Maldonado for pitching prospect Patrick Sandoval, who has now made two starts with the big league Angels.
After that move we saw Eppler work the Red Soc over by sending the (then) 36-year-old Ian Kinsler for two top Red Sox prospects, Williams Jerez and Ty Buttrey. Jerez is no longer with the Angels, but Ty Buttrey has pitched his way into a leading role in the Angels bullpen.
Buttrey may have had some late season struggles, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is the most talented pitcher in the Angels bullpen. We’ve seen Eppler flip veteran players for youth prospects and his trades have generally been major upgrades for the Angels.
Another such trade Eppler made was for the 26-year-old starting pitcher Dillon Peters from the Miami Marlins. Dillon Peters has been a surprise to many Angel fans as he currently has pitched 31.1 innings of 3.45 ERA baseball. Peters was brought on board as starting depth and is currently living up to his role at the highest degree.
Los Angeles Angels
No other Angels depth starter has provided as many quality innings, both in the bullpen and in the starting rotation, as Dillon Peters. Peters has not allowed more than 3 runs in any appearance of his, in fact his “worst” outing came in his start against Baltimore in which he allowed 2 runs across 4 IP off of 72 pitches thrown. In that outing he walked 2 while striking out just two as the Angels worked their way to an eventual 7-8 loss.
The only thing that makes this trade a bit more difficult to swallow than it should be was the quality the Angels gave up in return for Peters. The Angels sent over prospective pitcher, and future bullpen piece (probably closer) Tyler Stevens.
Stevens threw 71.1 innings across High A, Double A, and Triple A for the Angels in 2018 and ended the year with 5.43 ERA before being traded for Peters. Stevens was hit around in 28 Triple A IP for an overall 10.93 ERA, though he did maintain his 11.9 K/9 rate with Triple A.
However, that year in High A Stevens threw 23.2 innings of 2.28 ERA while spending 19.2 innings in Double A while holding down a 1.37 ERA with a 13.7 K/9.
Tyler Stevens, a power pitcher with a crushingly imposing mound presence and an absolute tank for a body, is currently pitching with the Marlins Triple A squad with 9 innings of 2.00 ERA baseball uner his belt.
The Angels traded someone who could help their ballclub in the future for someone who can help now in Dillon Peters, and it should be noted that Peters has been better than expected for the Angels this season.
Should Peters continue to provide quality outings in the back-end of the rotation or as long relief this trade will be a big win for the Angels, especially if Peters spends 2020 fulfilling the same role with the same quality he’s providing now.