The Los Angeles Angels will look to break their long postseason drought starting tonight in Oakland. Aside from a victory, there're many things Angels fans will want to see, one of which is a good effort from the bullpen.
This bullpen looks better than the bullpen the Angels ran out last season and much better than the seasons before that, but it's far from perfect.
LA Angels bullpen strength: Quality depth
The Angels have eight guys they can turn to and expect to turn in a clean inning. They lack a dominant presence late in games, but every reliever on the Opening Day roster has been good in the past.
Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera, despite rocky debut seasons with the Angels, have had a ton of success at the MLB level. Betting on a bounceback isn't a bad idea.
The rest of the bullpen is full of pitchers who had successful 2022 campaigns. Matt Moore and Carlos Estevez both had career years while pitching for other teams, but should be quality arms in this Angels bullpen.
Jaime Barria had his best MLB season in 2022 in a long relief role. He should remain in this role and could easily do what he did again. Andrew Wantz was quite good last season pitching in low leverage spots.
LA Angels bullpen weakness: No bonafide closer
I think the Angels have a ton of solid arms to turn to out of the bullpen, but they lack that one dominant reliever.
The Angels will likely turn to Carlos Estevez as their closer (even with Phil Nevin not officially naming a closer). Estevez has electric stuff and is a solid reliever no doubt, but he doesn't have the track record of an established closer.
A guy this bullpen could use is Raisel Iglesias who, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, excelled in Atlanta down the stretch. He was slated to take over as the Braves closer this season but is on the IL.
The Angels have plenty of guys who have closed periodically in the past. Jimmy Herget closed to end the season in 2022. Ryan Tepera had six saves last season. Estevez has 25 saves in his career.
I think the Angels have a bunch of pitchers they can rely on for the sixth, seventh, or even eighth inning, but lack that big-time closer.
Fortunately, relievers are moved all the time at the trade deadline. If the bullpen is an issue and the Angels are competing, it won't be impossible to land a reliever.