#5 LA Angels pitcher who will contribute in 2022: Jhonathan Diaz
Towards the end of the 2021 season, the LA Angels called up a whole bunch of young pitching prospects to see if any of them could potentially see some success in the bullpen. Headlining this group were Jose Marte, Elvis Peguero, Jhonathan Diaz, and Oliver Ortega. Unfortunately, none of them proved they were developed enough to truly make it in the big leagues just yet.
Realistically, each of these guys will see time in the majors this year, though, most will likely only stick around for a couple appearances before being sent back down or DFA'd.
Having said that, with another year of experience and fine tuning, one of them is bound to prove useful at the major league level this year. Take your pick, but I'm going with Diaz.
In addition to being the only lefty of the group, Diaz is the most likely to remain a starting pitcher, hence why he was the only one to actually, well, start for the Angels in 2021. If Junk is the first person to be called up for an emergency start, Diaz is right after him.
Though his two starts last year were less than ideal (2 ER in 1.2 IP vs. Oakland, 3 ER in 4.1 IP vs. Seattle), it was his brilliant extended relief outing against the Mariners on September 25 that really turned heads.
Pitching the final seven innings against a red-hot rival team that had won its previous six games, Diaz came out on top after almost completely shutting down the M's offense. Allowing just one run on three hits against a team that scored 28 runs during its win streak is impressive anyway you slice it.
Like the rest of the guys on this list, Diaz is part of a bright future for this team. Not just because he's young, but because with pitchers like him waiting in the wings, the Angels will actually remain competitive if any of their top players hit the IL.
For a team with serious playoff aspirations, these pitchers may very well be the difference makers in 2022.