Angels who would excel in a shortened season: Hansel Robles
Wouldn’t it just be appropriate if the fate of the 2020 season for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell on a former waiver claim?
Picked up after wearing out his welcome with the New York Mets, Hansel Robles was somewhat of an enigma when he came to the Angels. He was known for having an electric arm, but his struggles with control had limited his potential and ultimately cost him his job in New York.
After taking some baby steps forward upon being picked up by Anaheim, Robles posted a 2.97 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, and an 8.9 K/9 mark over his final 37 appearances for the Angels in 2018. That including a slight improvement in his walk rates, going down from a 4.6 BB/9 with the Mets to 3.7 with the Angels.
Whatever he did to fix things in 2018, ultimately made him the team’s closer in 2019. In 71 appearances, Robles saved 23 games with a 2.48 ERA, a 2.88 FIP, and a 9.3 K/9. His walk rate also continued to shrink, going to a career-best 2.0 per nine innings of work.
With his previous struggles in mind, and in context with this conversation, it is important to look at Robles’ first-half performances, not from a career standpoint, but from what he brought to the club a season ago.
In the opening months of 2019, Robles held opposing hitters to .229/.278/.338 batting line. His on-base against was down nearly 60 points from the year prior and down 40+ from his career norms. In that time, he worked to a 2.32 ERA, a 2.93 FIP, a 3.82 K/BB ratio, and stranded 79.4% of baserunners against him.
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If there is one role that could become increasingly important during a short-season run, it could very well come down the closer. Luckily, the Angels have found a good one.