3 biggest losers of Angels Spring Training so far
3. LA Angels pitcher Jaime Barria's role is now unclear
Jaime Barria came in this spring as part of the sixth starter competition. I made the argument he should've been the leader based on how Phil Nevin wanted the spot to be used and his success last season. My opinion has changed with how Tucker Davidson has pitched, and also slightly with how Barria has pitched.
In his one appearance with the Angels this spring, he allowed four runs in two innings out of the bullpen. While it's unfair to base any decision off of one outing, Barria allowed six base runners (but only one run) in 2.2 innings of work in his lone WBC start.
Barria had a 2.61 ERA last season, but his FIP was 4.39, as was his xERA. He struck out just 54 batters in 79.1 innings pitched and ranked in the ninth percentile in barrel rate according to baseball savant.
Barria had a really good year based on his ERA, but every advanced metric you look at suggested he wasn't quite as good as the ERA stated. This makes Barria's struggles, albeit just two outings, just a bit concerning.
With the emergence of Tucker Davidson, I don't think Barria will be the sixth starter. He'll still be on the team, but with Davidson not being used as often as Angels sixth starters were being used in the past, he might take some of Barria's long relief appearances.
Barria is out of options which makes it highly unlikely he doesn't make the team, but what's his role? He's not good enough to be a high-leverage guy, and might not even be the optimal long man. His spot seemed secure to begin the season but especially with the increased likelihood that Ben Joyce will make the roster, he appears to be the seventh or eighth reliever on the roster right now which doesn't bode well for his future with the team.