Jose Quijada was ready to pitch in his first full MLB season. He had cracked the Los Angeles Angels' bullpen out of Spring Training and was going to be a pretty important piece of what was supposed to be a much-improved bullpen.
Unfortunately, things couldn't have gone worse for this left-hander right away. He threw just two pitches and retired one batter on Opening Day. He then departed with an oblique injury which knocked him out of action for almost two months.
He returned at the end of May and remained in the Angels bullpen the rest of the season.
Jose Quijada had a nice year out of the Angels bullpen.
Jose Quijada had a 3.98 ERA in 42 appearances for the Angels. He worked mostly as a middle reliever, getting important outs in the sixth and seventh innings. As the season moved along, Quijada started gaining more of Phil Nevin's trust. He was pitching most of the time in the eighth inning and even saved three games. He accumulated 12 holds, 10 of which came in the second half.
Quijada struggled a bit while pitching in high leverage, posting a 5.40 ERA in 13 September appearances. However, for the most part, he was pretty good.
Quijada is a southpaw who throws pretty hard, averaging 94.5 MPH with his fastball. He really only throws two pitches, the four-seamer and the changeup. He sprinkles in a slider 4.2% of the time but only to left-handed batters. He threw the fastball 84.9% of the time which is insane. I think he'd benefit from sprinkling in a few more changeups.
He only threw it 10.9% of the time only to right-handed hitters, but he held opponents to a .154 average with no home runs out of the 75 times he threw it. He generated whiffs 38.5% of the time with that pitch and 32.9% of the time with his fastball, both excellent marks.
Quijada is a guy who relies a lot on strikeouts as he struck out 11.5 batters per nine this season and has struck out 12.9 batters per nine in his 108 career appearances.
Quijada's issue, as is the case for a lot of relievers, is his inability to throw strikes consistently. He walked 21 batters in 40.2 innings pitched. Fortunately he only allowed 25 hits. If he limits the walks in the future the Angels might really have something here.
For 2023 I'd expect Quijada to be in a similar role he started this past season in. Let him come in earlier in games and pitch against mostly lefties if possible. He held them to a .115/.193/.250 slashline with just two home runs in 57 plate appearances. In his career he's held them to a .207/.324/.473 slashline with 11 home runs in 176 plate appearances. The issue there, of course, is the walks.
It'll be interesting to see if the 27 year old can improve in that area. If not, he's nothing more than a low-leverage arm you use as the seventh or eighth reliever in your bullpen.