Last offseason the Los Angeles Angels really tried to improve their bullpen. They re-signed Raisel Iglesias to a massive four-year contract. They signed Ryan Tepera. They also signed Aaron Loup to a two-year $17 million dollar deal. The contract also includes a club option for the 2024 season worth $7.5 million dollars with a $2 million dollar buyout.
Loup was expected to be one of the key relievers in a much improved Angels bullpen. Things did not work out as well as Perry Minasian hoped.
Aaron Loup had a disappointing debut season with the Angels.
It would have been unrealistic to assume Aaron Loup would repeat the season he had with the Mets in 2021, or even come close to doing so. He went 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA for the Mets in 65 appearances. He allowed just six earned runs in 56.2 innings pitched including just one run in 34 second-half appearances.
For much of his career, Loup was just an average to below-average left-handed reliever. He broke out in 2021 and turned it into a nice payday. The contract the Angels gave Loup wasn't horrible as it only guaranteed two years, but they had to have hoped for better.
Loup went 0-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 65 appearances and 58.2 innings pitched. After a very promising April, Loup allowed more runs in May (9) than he allowed all season with the Mets in 2021.
He really struggled with the pitch he uses the most, his sinker. Loup held hitters to a .188 batting average and a 20.3% whiff rate. This season, hitters hit .279 against that pitch with a 9.5% whiff rate. He used that pitch 48.7% of the time which was a big reason why he struggled. For Loup to be successful he has to execute with his best pitch.
His second pitch, his cutter, generated a .200 opponent's batting average and a 37.7% whiff rate. He'd probably be more successful next season if he used that pitch more than 36% of the time.
Most relievers outside of the truly elite ones are inconsistent. You never really know what you're going to get each season which is why it's such a risk to pay them. Just look at Raisel Iglesias' season. He was not pitching well as an Angel and once they traded him he reverted back to being the lockdown guy Angels fans liked to watch.
I hope Loup bounces back but he's turning 35 next month. I still think he's a solid reliever who will be better than he was in 2022 if he uses his cutter more. There wasn't a drastic change in velocity or a major injury. Relievers are just incredibly inconsistent. If the Angels want to go anywhere this season they'll need more from their