When Jaime Barria did not crack the LA Angels' starting rotation this season, he was going to have to prove himself in the pen to stay in the conversation if there was an injury at some point this season. As it turns out, however, he has been as valuable as ever in his new bullpen role.
Barria has been covering long relief duties for the Angels, and he has been nothing short of exceptional. In six outings, he's posted a 1.50 ERA while averaging three innings an appearance and just one walk per nine innings. He boasts a tremendous 0.833 WHIP on the year.
He put his talent on display particularly well on Monday, coming in after starter Noah Syndergaard had to be yanked after just two third of an inning. Pitching 4.1 innings, Barria only allowed three hits and walked just one while allowing zero runs on the day. Striking out four, he did an outstanding job in long relief.
The LA Angels have found a perfect role for Jaime Barria.
Jaime Barria clearly does not need to start for the LA Angels to play a key role with the club. Posting a 257 ERA+, Barria can't be stopped in his new job with the Halos. The least he's pitched in a game so far is two innings. He can go the distance out of the pen, and he can do it well.
Barria has shown some talent in the rotation during his career before, posting a 3.41 ERA and 123 ERA+ in 26 starts in his rookie 2018 season. He may not want to head back there, though, after all of his recent success. His 7:1 K:BB ratio is the best of his career.
The Halos made many big bullpen acquisitions this past offseason, but it also turns out that they had a diamond in the rough in Barria, who has proven himself to deserve many reps and innings with this staff. Barria may not have been picked as one of the top six starters back in spring training, but he's certainly proven his worth as a pitcher in Anaheim so far this season.