After finishing off the sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Angels sit at a record of 28-23. Five games over .500 is tied for their high water mark of the season, as they were 19-14 earlier this month. The Halos have won four games in a row and are probably playing their best baseball of the season.
There are always preconceived expectations attached to teams and players before Opening Day, and the Angels are no exception. Getting to the postseason is always the goal, and while the Angels are a little short of that right now, things are definitely looking up.
There're some Angels players playing extremely well and helping the team stay competitive while others have held them back from reaching their true potential.
LA Angels closer Carlos Estevez has exceeded expectations
What more can be said that hasn't already been said? We saw how awful the Angels' bullpen was last season, and how mediocre to bad the free agent signings were. Ryan Tepera had an up-and-down free-agent year in 2022 and has since been DFA'd. Aaron Loup is on the same trajectory, and it feels like a matter of when, not if, he'll be gone too.
This gave Angels fans some cause to pause when Perry Minasian inked Carlos Estevez on a two-year deal this offseason. Some believed a change of scenery would do wonders for the former Rockie, as it has for so many who get out of the altitude, while others needed a bit more convincing.
What else is there to say now? Estevez has been nothing short of brilliant for the Angels and is a huge reason the team is where they are.
Through the first 51 games of this Angels season, Estevez has a 1.23 ERA in 22 appearances. He's allowed just three earned runs in 22 innings of work. He's been used a ton, and taking an outing or two out of the equation, has been dominant.
Estevez is tied for second in the AL with 12 saves in 12 opportunities. The 12 saves set a career high already for this new closer, and he looks primed to compete for his first all-star appearance.