Emphasis on bullpen velocity remains prevalent with Gerardo Reyes promotion

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels delivered news we expected yet still did not want to hear with Ben Joyce being placed on the 15-day IL. Joyce departed Friday's game after throwing just eight pitches against two batters with numbness in his fingers.

With Joyce out of the fold, I expected one of the familiar names to come back up. A guy like Andrew Wantz, Jimmy Herget, or Zack Weiss could've easily been called up. All three relievers are on the Angels 40-man roster and all three have had some sort of success at the MLB level.

Instead, Perry Minasian opted to search outside of the 40-man roster and find another fireballer to replace the ultimate fireballer. Gerardo Reyes has been promoted, and after looking at the recent moves the Angels have made in their bullpen, it does make sense.

LA Angels continue to prioritize hard-throwing relievers with Gerardo Reyes promotion

Gerardo Reyes' MLB numbers don't inspire a ton of confidence. In 2019 he made 27 appearances for the Padres and posted a 7.62 ERA in 26 innings of work. He didn't make it back to the majors until last season when he made two appearances for the Angels, allowing one run in two innings.

Reyes is a hard-thrower. He averaged 96.6 mph with his fastball last season, and can hit the upper 90's with that pitch. He's got good stuff which shows with his high strikeout rate, but control has always been an issue.

This season for AAA Salt Lake Reyes has a 4.64 ERA in 19 appearances and 21.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 13.5 batters per nine this season while he's walked 4.8/9. He's been bitten by the home run ball (1.7 HR/9) but that can be taken with a grain of salt considering the fact that he played in the PCL.

Reyes is just the latest hard-thrower we've seen the Angels promote. Sam Bachman, Jose Soriano, Joyce, and Reyes are four right-handed pitchers who can hit the upper 90's with their fastballs.

This shift in identity has worked wonders for the Angels as their bullpen has been extremely effective in the month of June thanks in large part to the newcomers.

With Reyes, just like these other hard-throwers, it all comes down to command. If he can throw strikes, he has the stuff to get outs. It's all about how consistent he can be in that regard.