3 relievers the Angels desperately need to step up in 2023

Jul 27, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Ryan Tepera (52) leaves
Jul 27, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Ryan Tepera (52) leaves / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Angels have a bullpen issue. They traded Raisel Iglesias away at the deadline right after signing him to a lucrative four-year contract last offseason. Outside of two veterans, they have a very young and inexperienced bullpen.

The 'pen ranked 18th in ERA which isn't horrible, but they were 25th in K/9 and 28th in HR/9. The Angels need to upgrade their bullpen, but also have to rely on some key pieces to step up this season.

The Angels need Aaron Loup to step up in 2023

2022 was not a good introduction made by Aaron Loup to Angels fans. He came to Anaheim after a career year with the Mets. He wasn't horrible but wasn't anything near what fans had hoped.

Loup had a 3.84 ERA in 65 appearances. He allowed too many hits (8.3 H/9) and too many walks (3.4 BB/9). He allowed more earned runs in the month of May (nine) than he allowed in the entire 2021 season (six).

It's unreasonable to expect Loup to pitch to a 0.95 ERA again, but it's reasonable to hope for better. He in all likelihood will be the primary lefty in this bullpen. He's going to be the guy the Angels go to when they need to get big left handed hitters like Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Corey Seager out.

Loup primarily has to do better with his most-used pitch, his sinker. Opponents hit .279 against that pitch this past season with a 9.5% whiff rate. They hit .188 against that pitch in 2021 with a 20.3% whiff rate. He uses it around 50% of the time, so it's crucial for that pitch to be much improved. He lost 1.2 mph on that pitch, hopefully that loss doesn't ruin the pitch completely.

The Angels need Loup to be a reliable option late in games as a primary lefty if they want to get back to the postseason.

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