LA Angels' RP Raisel Iglesias is the most unlucky closer in baseball

Cleveland Guardians v Los Angeles Angels; Raisel Iglesias
Cleveland Guardians v Los Angeles Angels; Raisel Iglesias / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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Raisel Iglesias
Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Angels; Raisel Iglesias / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The LA Angels have a massive problem with their outfield, so much so that it is starting to have a serious impact on how pitchers like Raisel Iglesias perform.

With a better outfield defense from the LA Angels, Raisel Iglesias would be performing much better in 2022.

In a year when the LA Angels finally have a good infield defense, Raisel Iglesias just so happens to be allowing the lowest groundball rate and the highest fly ball rate of his career.

On one hand, Brandon Marsh has been fantastic defensively and Mike Trout is having one of his best defensive seasons in years. On the other hand, Jo Adell, Taylor Ward, Juan Lagares, and all of the infielders that have been thrown into the outfield have mostly been awful.

According to Fangraphs, Marsh and Trout combine for 854 innings, six DRS, 0.6 UZR and 6.4 UZR/150. Everyone else who has played in the outfield for the Angels combines for 792 innings, -5 DRS, -9.7 UZR, and -95.1 UZR/150.

While allowing home runs still falls squarely on Iglesias’ shoulders, the extra men getting on base and outfield miscues are mostly out of his control. For a prime example of this, look no further than in the Angels 6-5 win at the White Sox on May 1.

Though the Angels managed to stop the White Sox one run short in their five-run ninth inning rally, Iglesias was tagged for two runs and was taken out early. Looking beyond the stat sheet, however, shows that the first run was almost entirely Adell’s fault.

With a man on second, Iglesias got Josh Harrison to hit a weak fly ball to shallow left field that Adell completely misread, causing him to stumble at the jump and fail to make the diving catch, ultimately allowing the ball to get past him to give Harrison the RBI double and prolong the inning. Oh, and the pitch that Harrison hit, it was a pretty decent slider a few inches off the plate.

If Adell makes what should have been a routine play, that’s out number three, meaning two less earned runs and one less double for Iglesias, as well as one less XBH against his slider.

While not every run or hit against Iglesias can be blamed on the defense, the fact that there are examples as egregious as this show clear evidence of just how unlucky he’s been this year. He may not be as sharp overall this season compared to 2021, but he isn’t anywhere near as bad as his ERA makes him out to look.

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In the end there’s still a lot of season left to play and Iglesias should figure to pitch at least another 50 innings. Who knows, maybe his luck will finally begin to turn.