Angels 2023 Opening Day roster predictions: Bullpen (8)
Carlos Estevez, Jimmy Herget, Matt Moore, Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, Jose Quijada, Jaime Barria, Andrew Wantz
The first six spots of this bullpen are locked up completely. Even with Jose Quijada's disastrous outing against the Rockies he'll still start the year on the roster, he's too talented not to and is out of options.
The question about those six is who will be the closer? Estevez is probably the front runner still, as despite a rough spring he has looked better and feels the most suited for that role.
This bullpen is deeper than it has been in a long time, especially if Loup and Tepera can have bounce-back seasons. Loup has looked excellent this spring and pitched really well when called upon for Team USA in the WBC.
Onto the last two. I don't think Jaime Barria is an absolute lock, but he's like 95% on the roster. He was good in his role last season and again, is out of options. The Angels likely wouldn't have tendered him a contract if they felt he'd have a shot at being DFA'd.
The last spot is where things get interesting. It's really between Andrew Wantz and Ben Joyce. As much as I want to say Ben Joyce because he truly has been awesome, we saw him struggle a bit in his last outing and I just can't see the Angels taking this kind of risk.
Joyce is an unbelievable story being drafted in the third round in 2022 and even having a shot at an Opening Day spot, I just think Wantz has been really good in the spring as well and was good in the MLB last season. That combined with Joyce having 13 innings of professional experience makes it hard to justify rostering him.
This, once again, is a god problem to have, The Angels could have more than eight options to turn to for relievers which is something they couldn't realistically say for years.
Joyce will get his shot, and I bet it's sooner than later. That right arm of his is special, and I can't wait to see it in Anaheim when the time comes. I just don't see that time being Opening Day.