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Shattering Expectations

The Angels’ bullpen isn’t normally talked about or called one of the better bullpens in baseball today. Think about the pitchers in the bullpen too, there are guys that Billy Eppler took a shot on before Spring Training in Blake Parker and Yusmeiro Petit. Andrew Bailey’s injured, Huston Street hasn’t pitched all year because of injury, and Cam Bedrosian is coming off of a recent injury. In other words, this bullpen in its current state doesn’t hold many “big name” bullpen arms.

However, the current active bullpen of Jose Alvarez, Yusmeiro Petit, Huston Street (very recently activated), David Hernandez, Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker, and Keynan Middleton has actually done very well for itself. In fact, this bullpen ranks 8th in baseball, 5th in the AL, and 1st in the AL West in ERA. This of course is largely due to many of these “bullpen fillers” that Eppler took a shot on stepping up.

  1. Yusmeiro Petit: In 29 games, 46.2 innings, this guy has pitched to a 2.31 ERA after finishing last year with a 4.50 ERA for the Nationals. This is a guy who didn’t have a job till days before Spring Training and fought his way for a spot on the Major League roster and it’s panned out for him and the Angels.

  2. David Hernandez: A career 4.00 ERA pitcher was claimed off waivers by Eppler earlier this season and in 28 games has impressed with a 2.10 ERA.

  3. Blake Parker: Arguably one of the better stories in baseball, Parker is in his age 32 season without really ever having a consistent role in the big leagues. Before catching on with the Angels his previous season ERAs were 6.00, 2.72, 5.14, 4.67, and 4.96. He earned an Opening Day roster spot out of Spring Training and the rest is history from there. The RV living right hander has a 2.06 ERA in 38 games with a 1.1 WAR.

  4. Keynan Middleton: If you’re looking for a future closer type of pitcher with a live arm, look no further. This guy came up this season and in his 23 innings pitched he has struck out 24 hitters with a 3.13 ERA. His energy and 100 MPH fastball make him a legitimate option as closer for the Angels in the near future.

  5. Bud Norris: Much like the guys stated before him, he was a pitcher Billy Eppler took a shot on before Spring Training. In over 1000 innings as a Starter, he had a 4.51 ERA and a 6.54 ERA last season with the Dodgers. So when he was signed with an invitation to Spring Training, not much was expected from him. This season, after Cam Bedrosian and Andrew Bailey went down with injury, he was asked to close and has done so gracefully. In 34 games he has 11 saves in 33.1 innings pitched with 42 strikeouts.

There are of course more guys than these five. However these five had the most minimal expectations from them coming into the season and have thoroughly shattered the expectations. Huston Street has been recently activated, though not put into the closer spot. This team catches the injury bug every year, so it will be interesting what they do with this bullpen when guys like Andrew Bailey are healthy and ready to join the bullpen.

Going into the 2015 and 2016 season, the Angels had Cam Bedrosian, Joe Smith, and Huston Street as their "go-to" 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys. This season, Smith is not an Angel, and Bedrosian and Street have been on the DL. So this bullpen is impressing without really having their previous top guys ready.

This bullpen is a big reason this Angels team with FIVE starting pitchers and the best player in baseball on the DL is still hovering around .500.

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