The Angels announced today that they have designated righty Oliver Drake for assignment. His roster spot was needed for a series of other moves.
The Halos have made two additions to their active roster, activating veteran slugger Albert Pujols and recalling young starter Jaime Barria. In addition to dropping the out-of-options Drake, the club optioned right-hander Deck McGuire.
Drake, 31, has mostly sported strong K/BB numbers in the majors, but has continued to struggle to get outs. In 8 2/3 innings this year with the Angels, his third organization of the season, Drake recorded eight strikeouts while issuing just one walk but also coughed up five earned runs on 15 hits.
It’s certainly possible that Drake will end up staying in the Los Angeles organization if he clears waivers. But he has landed on another 40-man roster two of the prior times he was designated for assignment this year. (Drake also once ended up being outrighted by the Angels.)
There are certainly some positives for the right-hander. Drake has a solid 13.7% swinging-strike rate in his 25 2/3 total MLB innings this year and is averaging a career-best 93.4 mph with his fastball. He has likely been hurt by some poor batted-ball fortune: opposing hitters carry a .425 batting average on balls in play as well as a .377 wOBA that’s well over the .331 xwOBA that Statcast tracking suggests.
At the same time, it’s tough to dismiss completely that Drake carries a 7.01 ERA this season. Indeed, despite generally promising assessments from ERA estimators (3.35 FIP / 3.67 xFIP / 3.69 SIERA) over his 115 1/3 career frames, Drake has allowed 4.84 earned runs to cross the plate for every nine innings he has pitched in the majors.