The bullpen was supposed to be where the Los Angeles Angels struggled in 2023. The starting rotation was great last year and appeared to be better on paper. That hasn't been the case at all. The lineup appeared to be much better as well. That has been the case, but the Angels offense has been inconsistent all season long.
The bullpen started out poorly, but once Ryan Tepera was DFA'd and the Angels focused on adding more youth and velocity, it's really turned around. Thanks to an all-star closer, some rookies, and minor league signings, the Angels bullpen has been much better than expected.
Like we did with the starting pitchers, we're going to grade the first halves of each Angels reliever with at least 14 innings pitched.
LA Angels relief pitcher first half grade: Carlos Estevez
Boy, has Carlos Estevez been anything you could've possibly hoped for or what? The former Rockie came to Anaheim with some questions as he had never been a closer before in his career and struggled mightily in Spring Training.
He's quieted each and every critic he had, with one of the best halves an Angels reliever has ever had. 1.80 ERA in 36 appearances and 35 innings pitched. 29.3% K-rate, only three home runs allowed, and a perfect 21-for-21 in his save opportunities. He has the Angels record for consecutive saves to begin a season, and has the chance to add on to it in the second half.
The year after the Angels signed two expensive relievers and saw both of their performances drop off, it's been nice to see them sign one who's breaking out wearing Angels red. He's been one of the stars of the team, and was a very deserving American League all-star.