This MLB lockout unfortunately appears to be long from over right now, and I can't help but wonder how this will all affect the LA Angels. The pitching staff has experienced a lot of turbulence in recent years with a sudden pitching coach change, injuries up and down the staff, and failed one-year signings.
It's all led to extremely little continuity within the staff in general, and it's led to poor performance. A lockout gives the Angels even less continuity and even more change to deal with.
The bullpen was arguably worse than the starting rotation last season, and will be under perhaps the most detailed microscope out of all the positions on this roster. Two pitchers from that bullpen will be negatively affected by this lockout in particular, and that's Chris Rodriguez and Aaron Loup.
Chris Rodriguez and Aaron Loup are going through career changes with the LA Angels.
Chris Rodriguez and Aaron Loup may have a tougher time dealing with this lockout than other relievers on the LA Angels' staff. Rodriguez is dealing with a serious injury, and the lockout prevents pitchers from working out with their teams and working with those trainers and the medical staff that are hired to help with these injuries. There ARE ways to work around this, but it's still more challenging than it needs to be.
Rodriguez was quietly lights out for the Angels in the 15 games he pitched (two starts), posting a 2-1 record with a 3.64 ERA and 3.14 FIP. He did not allow a single home run in 29.2 innings pitched. He does not need this level of sudden adversity in his career. If he wants to come back as early as possible this summer, his recovery has to go through the normal process he started last season. The lockout puts that in jeopardy.
As for Loup, he's changing teams and leagues. Preparation will be key for him this season. This is going to be his sixth team in five years, and the last thing Loup needs is more change in his offseason plans and routine. And that's what the lockout could give him, as again, he's not allowed to work with the team right now.
Sure, many pitchers have their own arm programs to get ready, but being locked out of a player's team is obviously a huge disadvantage. Even if the games that get canceled don't add up to too many, spring training is certainly likely to be compromised (and perhaps even canceled altogether). This is not what a pitcher who's trying to get used to a new team would like to go through.
If Loup can overcome this adversity, however, he will be dominant. In the last three years, he's pitched 93 times (he was hurt for most of 2019) and recorded a 1.38 ERA. Posting an 0.906 WHIP in that time, he also sported an absurd 296 ERA+. There still is hope for a shortened, but not too shortened season, however. If the lockout can end in the next week or so, we may not have to worry about this too much. The earlier the lockout can end, the better prospects Loup and Rodriguez will have for 2022.