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 Angels need Ryan Tepera to bounce back

The Angels focused heavily on their bullpen last offseason, signing Loup and Ryan Tepera to two-year deals. Tepera signed a two-year $14 million dollar deal with the Halos after pitching really well for both Chicago teams in 2021.

Tepera had a 3.61 ERA in 59 appearances which isn't so bad but he had a 4.21 FIP which suggests he got a little lucky with that ERA.

Tepera allowed just about as many hits, home runs, and walks as he has in his career, but saw a noticeable dip in strikeouts. He struck out just 7.4 batters per nine this season, well below his career mark of 9.0 and his 2021 mark of 10.9.

Tepera saw big drops in whiff rate against his two best pitches, his slider and four-seam fastball. After whiffing at 50.6% of the sliders Tepera threw in 2021, opponents whiffed at 42.1% of them this past season. After whiffing at 18.2% of his fastballs thrown in 2021, opponents whiffed at 13.1% of them this season. There wasn't a noticeable decline in velocity or movement, it's just about location and keeping hitters off balance.

Tepera used his slider as a put-away pitch (a pitch that results in a strikeout) 31.5% of the time in 2021. That number shrunk down to 21.1% this past season. His fastball was a put-away pitch 19.1% of the time in 2021, and just 8.8% of the time this past season. His two best pitches just didn't get the results they did in the past.

Tepera has to be a good late-inning arm as well. He's making $7 million dollars this season and is one of the few veterans this Angels bullpen has. He has to show the Angels why they signed him with a good performance this season.

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