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Fixing the Los Angeles Angels 2023 Bullpen


Docwaukee

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Even though the offense was fairly putrid this year, I feel like I can see a path to improvement for 2023.  It's gonna take some work for sure, but for whatever reason, I feel like it will get addressed appropriately.  

The bullpen on the other hand...

Not only has it been a hot mess for two years in a row, I am having a hard time visualizing how much it improves from this year to next.  I know we've got a few guys in the minors that will be here soon, but are they really ready to contribute at a high level from the start of next season?  

Tepera isn't very good.  Nor is Loup.  Hoping that both just suffered from typical reliever volatility and will be better next year.  Because we know they're going to be given a shot to redeem and they are unlikely to be traded considering their performances and salaries.  

Quijada is solid.  But this was a break out year and he's not exactly a guy I'm super comfortable with handing closer duties to for next year.  

Herget will likely be here again but it would surprise me if he produces at the level he did this year.  

Wantz?  maybe as a mop up guy at best

Warren?  I thought he would progress to a solid 6th/7th type but his short stint this year was ugly and his peripherals in AAA aren't good.  

Ortega?  Another guy I'm not sure I trust.  

Barria is fine as a swing guy or multi inning guy if someone leaves early for whatever reason but again.  not a guy I would consider for the late innings.  

That's maybe 4 or 5 kind of ok arms with a lot of questions otherwise and even the ok guys could turn into questions pretty quick.  

I seriously doubt that we spend on relievers again.  That was a disaster.  

So do we cross our fingers on guys currently in AA or pickups from the scrap heap or guys recovering from injury?  

I think this is going to be Minasian's toughest task this winter.  Piecing together a capable bullpen because that's about the best I see it being next year is capable.  

 

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5 hours ago, Docwaukee said:

Not only has it been a hot mess for two years in a row, I am having a hard time visualizing how much it improves from this year to next.  I know we've got a few guys in the minors that will be here soon, but are they really ready to contribute at a high level from the start of next season?  

Even if there is money, I’d think Minasian would be gun shy about FA relievers at this point.  We definitely need a closer and I agree it needs to come from the outside.  Some money could be spent but I doubt it’s much.  Waiver wire and trades, and hope for internal improvements and development I suppose.

I’d be curious to see how the team would do if there’s almost no budget.  Ohtani gets Upton’s money and that’s it aside from $5 to $10 million.  There are a few players that might step up and hopefully some of those players are in the bullpen!  It seems like if the farm had one more year to develop it might turn into a bit of a pipeline.

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The bullpen is pear-shaped: a fair number of decent options, but no elite guys who can consistently get people out without putting the ball in play. The problem is, established elite relievers are expensive, and the best way to find these guys is to develop them. While Joyce could eventually be that sort of reliever, there is no one else close (unless they convert Bachman and/or Silseth).

That said, I'd still rather roll the dice on in-house bullpen options and spend money on a decent SP, a bat, and filling out lineup depth with a couple choice bench guys. And I doubt the Angels would trade Raisel and then go out and spend the same money on someone else.

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2 hours ago, Angels 1961 said:

I really belief this will be a lame duck off season. Pitchers in minors will end up in bullpen in 2023. Big changes will not happen until sale of team is completed. Look for 2023 to be 8th straight losing season.

Maybe you should take a season long hiatus then. Call it a sabbatical.

 

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1 hour ago, eligrba said:

I wonder if Chris Rodriguez will become a bullpen option?

This is likely, as is Bachman. The best case scenario for these guys are that they are healthy, stay healthy and occupy the 5th and 6th spot in the rotation expertly. 

But as a closer, either could get some innings and build up his strength again. Bachman obviously can be in the majors all year, and honestly so could C-Rod.

 

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10 hours ago, Docwaukee said:

Even though the offense was fairly putrid this year, I feel like I can see a path to improvement for 2023.  It's gonna take some work for sure, but for whatever reason, I feel like it will get addressed appropriately.  

The bullpen on the other hand...

Not only has it been a hot mess for two years in a row, I am having a hard time visualizing how much it improves from this year to next.  I know we've got a few guys in the minors that will be here soon, but are they really ready to contribute at a high level from the start of next season?  

Tepera isn't very good.  Nor is Loup.  Hoping that both just suffered from typical reliever volatility and will be better next year.  Because we know they're going to be given a shot to redeem and they are unlikely to be traded considering their performances and salaries.  

Quijada is solid.  But this was a break out year and he's not exactly a guy I'm super comfortable with handing closer duties to for next year.  

Herget will likely be here again but it would surprise me if he produces at the level he did this year.  

Wantz?  maybe as a mop up guy at best

Warren?  I thought he would progress to a solid 6th/7th type but his short stint this year was ugly and his peripherals in AAA aren't good.  

Ortega?  Another guy I'm not sure I trust.  

Barria is fine as a swing guy or multi inning guy if someone leaves early for whatever reason but again.  not a guy I would consider for the late innings.  

That's maybe 4 or 5 kind of ok arms with a lot of questions otherwise and even the ok guys could turn into questions pretty quick.  

I seriously doubt that we spend on relievers again.  That was a disaster.  

So do we cross our fingers on guys currently in AA or pickups from the scrap heap or guys recovering from injury?  

I think this is going to be Minasian's toughest task this winter.  Piecing together a capable bullpen because that's about the best I see it being next year is capable.  

 

Loup and Tepera actually have been mediocre, not horrific. They need to be moved down in the pecking order, and hopefully they regain their swagger next year. Both these guys were good in 2021, so it could be coaching, it could be that since the offensive production has been so low, they have been pitching without any margin for error and have been far from perfect.

I expect both back next year, but not as the designated late inning guys. Quijada, Ortega, Barria and Herget are all likely back and will be used in similar roles.

That's 6 guys in a 8 man pen. They can use Ortega or Quijada as the closer, or they can promote Bachman or hope Rodriguez can take the role.

I think they may sign a pitcher, but maybe just Bradley comes back. 

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I caught a bit of the last couple innings of the Nats and Braves game. It was weird seeing Cishek on the Nats (guy still sucks)—but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Iglesias. He was pretty solid last night for ATL. We’re probably fine without him and his ridiculous contract, but when he’s good, he’s good.

At this point the only way to address the BP is to avoid big name FAs (Like the terrible Loup)—just look at other teams who have poured money into signing big name BP free agents like the Rockies. These guys are too inconsistent to warrant such a high asking price, so it’s more pragmatic to build a BP by developing prospects or signing international players for cheap. That way the team can allocate its money to fill much more pressing deficiencies like offense and depth.

I like Herget (long relief and high leverage situations), Barria (sometimes), and Quijada (sometimes, but he’s still developing into his role).

I’d wager that there are some Trash Pandas that could become excellent relievers given the recent hoarding of pitching from the 2021 draft—but that should be reserved for pitchers who have logged in at least 1 season of AA since rushing prospect development/COVID has been a major impediment to this organization.

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8 minutes ago, Hubs said:

Loup and Tepera actually have been mediocre, not horrific. They need to be moved down in the pecking order, and hopefully they regain their swagger next year. Both these guys were good in 2021, so it could be coaching, it could be that since the offensive production has been so low, they have been pitching without any margin for error and have been far from perfect.

I expect both back next year, but not as the designated late inning guys. Quijada, Ortega, Barria and Herget are all likely back and will be used in similar roles.

That's 6 guys in a 8 man pen. They can use Ortega or Quijada as the closer, or they can promote Bachman or hope Rodriguez can take the role.

I think they may sign a pitcher, but maybe just Bradley comes back. 

Loup is horrific. And while I knew he’d never replicate his performance from last season, I never thought he’d be this bad. I’d be thrilled if I never saw his fat face and shitty country music walk up music again.

With him it’s either he completely sucks or does well—zero consistency.

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33 minutes ago, failos said:

Loup is horrific. And while I knew he’d never replicate his performance from last season, I never thought he’d be this bad. I’d be thrilled if I never saw his fat face and shitty country music walk up music again.

With him it’s either he completely sucks or does well—zero consistency.

His FIP isn't as bad as his ERA. He was so good last year, mainly because people just weren't scoring when they got on base. His WHIP was lower, at 0.935 versus this seasons 1.299...

He allowed 9 runs (6 ER) last year on 37 hits and 16 walks in 56.1 IP in 65 Games.

He has allowed 36 runs (23 ER) this year on 48 hits and 20 walks in 52 IP over 58 games. Is his poor 0-5 record due to the Angels terrible defense? 13 Unearned runs? Wow.

 

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9 minutes ago, jsnpritchett said:

Watch them do something like sign Jansen to a 1-year, $15M deal.

Of the four "closers" available, he's the most likely to be brought in. Kimbrel has been awful for most of the year with the Dodgers, and the Mets will absolutely re-sign Diaz. David Robertson is 38.

They could also bring in Chapman I guess, but he hasn't been good in NY this year. I could see someone more on the line of Brad Hand. 

 

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Dodgers' top relievers by IP:

Bickford: waiver claim

Kimbrel: trade: bad contract for bad contract

Phillips (337 ERA+): waiver claim

Vesia: trade for another middle reliever

Big trade deadline pickup: Martin (226 ERA+), for a utilityman

Treinen is the only guy they spent millions on ... and specifically not as a closer

 

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1 hour ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Fun experiment…

Pick a random team with a good bullpen, and then go look at where each of the relievers came from. Big money free agents? Big trades? Hot prospects?

I venture to say most of them are none of the above 

Case in point:

The Angels' best relievers this season, excluding Iglesias, have been Jimmy Herget and Jose Quijada.

Herget was a minor league signee after he was let go by the Rangers and Quijada was a waiver claim from the Marlins.

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Honestly, I'm not too concerned about the bullpen.

I'm more concerned about the offensive depth.


As far as the bullpen is concerned:

Locks: Herget, Quijada, Tepera, and Loup.

The rest of the spots are up in the air and can be filled cheaply, whether it's through:

- Internal development from relievers already in the organization. (Barria, Marte, Ortega, Peguero, Walters, Wantz, Warren, Weiss, Zastryzny) (Hernandez, Ingram, Jones, Joyce, Murphy, Torres)

- Starters turned to relievers. (Canning, Daniel, Davidson, Diaz, Junk, Rodriguez, Rosenberg, Silseth, Toussaint) (Bachman, Crow, Erla, Lee, Pina)

- Waiver claims.

- Minor league free agent signings.

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2 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Fun experiment…

Pick a random team with a good bullpen, and then go look at where each of the relievers came from. Big money free agents? Big trades? Hot prospects?

I venture to say most of them are none of the above 

I agree, but the next question is: How do teams assemble good bullpens? Mediocre to solid pitchers are common enough, but it comes down to high leverage/elite arms - guys who can get batters out without relying upon the defense. There have been teams who have even won the World Series without a good bullpen, like the Nationals in 2019, but they made up for it by having a great rotation (Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin in peak years, and a solid Anibal Sanchez). But the archetype is having two really good relievers, which traditionally have been the closer and set-up guy. Excellent bullpens might have a third or even fourth guy, but I think GMs in the team-building phase focus on locking down those two, and then cobbling together the rest.

Without researching the matter all that much, I think a fair number of good relievers are former starters who didn't pan out; maybe guys with two good pitches but a mediocre third, sort of like what some feel about Silseth. Actually, Silseth is exactly the type of guy that becomes an elite reliever - as is Bachman. But plenty of top relievers were drafted as such, and just developed well: Craig Kimbrel was drafted in the 3rd round (like Joyce!), and Kenley Jansen was an international signing (those damn Dodgers).

The best Angels bullpen in my memory was the 00s, especially the first half. Key players were Troy Percival, Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields, and Brendan Donnelly, plus a rotating cast of guys who had a good year or two like Gregg, Oliver, Weber, Jepsen, Arredondo, etc. But the bullpen's arguably best year, 2004, only had three relievers over 1 WAR: Francisco Rodriguez (ridiculous at 3.7), Scot Shields (2.1), and Kevin Gregg (1.4). Donnelly was also good (0.7), but Percy was in decline but still solid (0.1 WAR due to a 4.88 FIP, but a 2.90 ERA), and the bullpen was filled out with decent guys like Ramon Ortiz filling in and Matt Hensley. But they also only had one truly awful relief performance that year (Ben Weber, -0.5 WAR in 22.1 IP), and perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of their relief innings were pitched by just their best guys: F Rod, Shields, and Gregg pitched about 270 IP between them, more than half of their total relief innings (about 490); add in solid performances from Donnelly, Percy, and Ortiz, that's 80% of relief innings from good or better performers. The rest are just mop-up.

Meaning, you really only need two or three good relievers and two or three solid guys. Or maybe just two really good guys and a bunch of solid guys, and hope that one or more of the solid guys has an excellent season (like Gregg in 2004, at least according to fWAR).

But that was in 2004. Part of the problem is that bullpens have to take on more of a burden now than they did 20 years ago, with starters pitching fewer innings. In 2004, Angels relievers accounted for about one-third (or 33%) of all pitcher innings, whereas last year it was 45%. The difference is over 150 IP, so basically 2-3 relievers.

But even so, my point, again, is that you can get by with just a couple very good relievers for high leverage situations, and a handful solid guys. I think that was Minasian's hope in Iglesias, Loup, and Tepera, but it didn't work out. 

Assuming Minasian doesn't do more than sign depth for the bullpen, the Angels would be entering 2023 without a "guaranteed" top reliever - just a bunch of solid guys, plus a lot of depth in the high minors. Maybe it does make sense to sign one elite guy, but then not only does that kind of negate the Raisel trade, but there isn't exactly a good track record of spending money on relievers. So my guess is that the Angels are going to, at most, sign a clean peanut or two, and try to work with the pieces they have and hope that one or more of the prospects becomes "that guy" by the stretch run.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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2 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Fun experiment…

Pick a random team with a good bullpen, and then go look at where each of the relievers came from. Big money free agents? Big trades? Hot prospects?

I venture to say most of them are none of the above 

Seems like this team has been horrible at identifying potential solid relievers?

Will that be changing in the off-season?

Very few MLB teams have been as bad at it as this one!

Edited by Angel Oracle
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1 hour ago, Trendon said:

Honestly, I'm not too concerned about the bullpen.

I'm more concerned about the offensive depth.


As far as the bullpen is concerned:

Locks: Herget, Quijada, Tepera, and Loup.

The rest of the spots are up in the air and can be filled cheaply, whether it's through:

- Internal development from relievers already in the organization. (Barria, Marte, Ortega, Peguero, Walters, Wantz, Warren, Weiss, Zastryzny) (Hernandez, Ingram, Jones, Joyce, Murphy, Torres)

- Starters turned to relievers. (Canning, Daniel, Davidson, Diaz, Junk, Rodriguez, Rosenberg, Silseth, Toussaint) (Bachman, Crow, Erla, Lee, Pina)

- Waiver claims.

- Minor league free agent signings.

This is terrifying to me.  

I'm not convinced any of the 4 locks are safe bets to be reliable next year.  

None of those guys on your internal development list give me confidence

All of the relievers already in the org are in AA

Starters turned relievers are either coming off injury or have been horribly inconsistent in their careers.  Or they've had almost zero development as a reliever.  

Then it's minor league FA's/Waiver claims.  

This is just wrought with uncertainty.  We had less going into this year and even with that, the pen was brutal.  

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  • Chuckster70 changed the title to Fixing the Los Angeles Angels 2023 Bullpen

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