The Angels bullpen finished 12th in the Majors by measure of FIP in 2020 and 21st by ERA, but the most gaudy failures came at the end of games. The Angels blew 14 saves, the most in the Majors. New GM Perry Minasian acted decisively to address their bullpen woes this winter. Raisel Iglesias was the big get coming over from Cincinnati, but he’s not the only new face: Alex Claudio signed early in December, Junior Guerra in January, and Aaron Slegers was acquired via trade from the much-vaunted Tampa bullpen.
They continued to tinker with their bullpen mix with a pair of moves today. In a surprising development, the club optioned Ty Buttrey to Triple-A, the team announced. After joining the Angels from Boston along with Williams Jerez as part of the Ian Kinsler deadline deal in 2018, Buttrey posted a 1.4 fWAR season in 2019 in 72 appearances covering 72 1/3 innings. He earned his 3.98 ERA/3.58 SIERA while striking out 27.2 percent of hitters and walking just 7.4 percent. Entering 2020, Buttrey was a key variable in the Angels’ run-prevention equation.
Over 27 games in 2020, however, Buttrey’s strikeout rate fell to a concerning 16.1 percent. His ERA- saw a year-over-year spike from 87 to 132. He was responsible for four of the Angels’ 14 blown saves while notching just a pair of holds. The North Carolina native converted 26 holds the year prior. His velocity fell from 97.1 mph to 96.1 mph, and while that still ranked in the 88th percentile for fastball velocity, his whiff rate with the offering fell from 25.5 percent to 16.8 percent. Perhaps more to the point, his slider suffered significantly diminished side-to-side break. He recorded just one strikeout with his slider while opponents hammered it for a .511 expected slugging mark. He’ll now begin the 2021 season at the Angels’ alternate site looking “to regain the consistency that eluded the right-handed in his third major-league season,” writes Kevin Modesti of the Orange County Register.
The Angels also moved quickly today to bring right-hander Noe Ramirez back to the organization after he was released by the Reds. Terms of the deal haven’t yet been released, but it’s not believed to be a Major League deal. Ramirez, of course, was the primary Major League piece sent to Cincinnati in exchange for Iglesias. Like Buttrey, he also began his career with the Red Sox before the Angels claimed him off waivers in 2017. From 2018 to 2020, Ramirez logged 172 innings over 141 appearances out of the Angels’ pen with a 4.13 ERA/3.63 SIERA. Ramirez’s strikeout rate also fell alarmingly in 2020, though a favorable HR/FB rate helped produce a 3.00 ERA despite the uninspiring peripherals.
On the whole, Ramirez has been much more effective against same-handed hitters. That trend was amplified in 2020 as righties hit just .173/.267/.269 off Ramirez compared to lefties, who successfully produced a .273/.360/.455 line. Against the 60 right-handed hitters he faced, Ramirez logged a 23.3 percent strikeout rate, which isn’t all that far off his career 28.8 percent mark. He failed to strike out any of the 25 left-handed hitters he faced, however, compared to a 19.7 percent strikeout rate against lefties for his career. He has long been more effective against righties, but if the properties of his work continue as seen in 2020, he’ll require heavily-scripted usage to be an effective piece of manager Joe Maddon’s pen.
Leo Rivas (bum) for raisel Iglesias. Angels rare w
It was a salary dump
It was a Reds dump. If shedding salary was the goal they did a poor job this offseason of accomplishing that. Absolute W for the Angels even if Iglesias is bad.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Rivas and Buttrey. Heh heh heh heh
Wow, they got Iglesias and also got back Ramirez. Definitely a nice move by Anaheim!
*Enter Noe Ramirez*
Perry Minisian: “I call him… the boomerang.”
Wow. Tough for Ty but he’d be the first to tell you he’s not results right now.
In late June of 19 his brother in law unexpectedly died. A week or so later Tyler Skaggs died. I really thought his struggles down the stretch that year were mental burnout to go along with physically wearing down after a lot of appearances early in the year.
But he’s simply never bounced back. Great guy, I hope he does.
The Angels better hope they find something because they don’t have anyone to pitch the late innings of baseball games.
This is the Angels most unexplainable off-season move since the Vernon Wells trade.
They are hoping and I’m am praying they find late innings answers.
They don’t have anyone? That Iglesias guy is pretty good and Mayer was great last season
Really Cook? I thought you understood what I was saying. You even said… and I’m quoting… “I know”.
Well Cook, obviously you don’t know. Every Angel fan on the planet, except you, realizes I was talking about the 7th and 8th inning.
And that Mayers was such a small sample size, it’s meaningless. Going into today, his ERA this spring was over 7. He’s a fly ball pitcher who didn’t allow many home runs, and if you know anything about stat cast, the average exit velocity against was scary high 89 MPH. I don’t know if you can find a guy on the A’s whose average exit velocity was that high and Mayers and he is our setup man.
You know what happens when fly ball pitchers give up hard contact… I bet you don’t. But it’s not a HR per nine of 0.6. His odds of being good are really small. With that exit velocity and ground ball rate, it’s practically impossible.
One thing I know is you don’t know much about baseball.
Pretty sure Mayers will end up being just fine. Also, you talk about how small sample sizes shouldn’t mean anything then bring up his spring training ERA? That’s pretty laughable. Try not being a jerk in all your comments. Even if you’re right, it’s offputting.
Honestly… from what you said it definitely wasn’t clear you were talking about the 7th and 8th innings… no need to go so hard at cook… he was just pointing out you do indeed have a pretty solid closer at the back end. Don’t think he was trying to get you all hot and bothered.
also what’s wrong with Claudio, Slegers and Guerera? I realize they aren’t elite-elite level RPs but they are decent pen arms. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of them wind pitching well enough to solidify the 8th, or at least 7th inning
Mayer’s success last year was due to the implementation of a new pitch. It was filthy.
However the league now has tape on it and many guys have faced it. We’ll have to see if his cutter stays filthy now that guys can prepare for it.
That said, his fastball was garbage the spring. Hopefully he’s been working on something that he’ll scrap now that it matters. I’ve been hopeful for him. But if his FB is this bad no new pitch can help him.
Why worstthrow.? He’s a fly ball pitcher, he has the highest average exit velocity of all RPs on the team, he has a spring 7+ ERA facing lower than AA competition (see baseball reference for details).. It is inexcusable he’s the 8th inning guy,
What sample size should I use? How about 29 years old with a lifetime negative WAR.?
Heaven and yet has the hardest hit average velocity of all Angel RPs. He still is a fly ball pitcher that had an unsustainably low HR rate. This Spring against sub AA competition he has a post 7 ERA.
He’s the 8th inning guy.
Jeff, I’ve been writing it since December and Cook has been attacking me since December.
Jeff which one of those guys do you want to depend on late in games? TB didn’t want Sledgers, Guerra could sign a guaranteed major league deal and Claudio can’t get RH out.
Iglesias is very good. Other than that, who would you depend on? Not those three.
LOL, calls 2020 a small sample size and than cites ST stats. You’re being emotional. Mayer was good last year amd there is reason to believe that Iglesias and Claudio are big improvements. Also, the people in the pen would have a hard time being worse than last year.
Dude you don’t need to make insulting comments to people expressing their opinions and wanting to talk about baseball And if you are so up on things you know that Mayer’s Spring ERA is essentially tied to one game and a poor outing where he gave up 5 ER. Over 7.1 innings he has 12 Ks and excluding that game his ERA is sub 2 and his WHIP is sub 1.
Still not sure why the Angels wanted Wells that badly but a sincere thank you. Wells gave us some good years but that contract was killer.
Getzlaf's Bald Spot
Whoa, that was a comparison I was NOT expecting hahaha. Resigning Noe or sending Ty down is unexplainable? I don’t find either very surprising, personally, but I just hope Noe doesn’t get plugged right in. I could hit a HR off his slider after 5 looks.
Getzlaf. Are you a LH hitter? The problem with Noe is the same as with Claudio. You don’t want them facing the wrong hitters.
No Way Ramirez is not the answer.
This guy slings the ball and if his arm slot is off he gets hammered.
I am tired of seeing him hanging around; honks this is not good.
Buttrey is better…
I hope they don’t bring him in high pressure situations. He gives up too many walks and homers when put in those situations. I was happy to have him gone.
The Angels really should have tried to get an 8th inning guy. In this market it would have been easy.
Looks like it’s Mike Mayer’s right now. Shane Greene must be asking for the moon because he would be perfect on this team. Often when things make too much sense they never happen I guess. I need to stop thinking.
Reds are so incompetent.
Basically the Angels lost site years ago of the importance of a deep bullpen. Today champions plan for at least the 7-9 innings to shorten the game.
Back when the Angels had the playoff run their bullpen was Percy, K rod, Shields, and more.
Look at the Dodgers, Rays, Yankees, Astros, and the other playoff teams from last year and compare to the Angels. For some of you it may open eyes.
I remember that well. They had Donnelly as well. When Donnelly is your #4 out of the BP, you are going to win almost all the games in which you have the lead.
And Ben Weber…that was one hell of a bullpen.
Solid move for the Angels bringing back Ramirez for essentially nothing. I realize his secondary numbers were significantly down across the board last season and his spring hasn’t exactly gone as he probably would’ve liked. But still… he’s been a solid relief arm for almost 3 years now and he’s obviously familiar with the organization… I was surprised the Reds gave up on him so quickly and think it’s a shrewd move by the Angels to bring him back in the fold on a minors contract.
MLB Reference has Iglesias “projected” to have a 4.00 ERA and just 14 saves… why!?!? haha… what would indicate an ERA that high and so few saves? It’s not like they’re planning for am injury or anything. They have him throwing 60+ IP… just seems weird.
That’s a bit odd. Even his ERA estimators like xFIP and SIERA like him. Plus he even gained nearly a whole 1 MPH on his fastball in 2020. For a guy whose played half of his games at a hitter friendly park, he’s sure been pretty good at keeping the ball in the park.
I think you mean Baseball-Reference.com, which does have Iglesias down for a 4.00 ERA, but 16 saves.
They don’t use an advanced projections, just the very basic Marcels, which, if you click on the “Proj” link in the Projections section, are described like this:
“it is the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible…It uses 3 years of MLB data, with the most recent data weighted heavier. It regresses towards the mean. And it has an age factor.”
If you’re looking for “real” projections, there are lots of other places doing much more involved work. The various forecasts at FanGraphs have him posting an ERA around 3.50 with 29-30 saves.
Ya I understand the lost confidence in the bullpen – mostly untrustworthy guys. I guess its to save money, for now and then they make moves as the season progresses. But the time to act is now when the division got a little weaker. Hopefully they get another good arm from the outside.
The angels are working to get better. Don’t have any trading parts. I mean they could get 10 players for Trout, but he’s the face of team bd MLB. But the money they have tied up with him, just like Pulios deal. You tie up that kind of money, you can’t do anything else. It has hurt them for 10 years now and Trout’s deal will hurt them again. But hey all fans will be happy.
They got Raisel Iglesias for free. Nice.
I rarely compliment the Angels FO, but I thought this was pretty good.
With health keeping out Pena, Buttrey being optioned and Barria having the 4th option of being sent down to start the season, looks as though the Angels bullpen will start with Iglesias, Mayers, Guerra, Rodriguez (taking Pena’s spot possibly), Claudio, Sandoval and Slegers. With pitchers like Greene and other veteran’s being released recently (Watson, Cishek) the Angels should sign at least one proven veteran. Swapping out Robles for Iglesias is a win but not sure if having this group is a cheaper option than keeping Bedrosian and Middletown.
I would catch any of these pitchers, let’s be honest. Gooo Angels!
Ron, Rodriguez and Sandoval are the best bet to bridge the gap to Iglesias. I worry about Rodriguez getting up and down everyday.
The Angels should have addressed this in the off-season, but unlike the other guys, Sandoval and Rodriguez have a reasonable chance to step up.
Well glad Perry read my comments. Wonder if Sandoval makes the team now with Watson and Cishek on boars. I’m sure Rodriguez get some starts in the minors before we se him. Goo Angels
So then, who did the Angels actually sign if that player was………………………………………………………………………….
NO RAMIREZ ???
Ramirez: “Let’s see, Orange County or Cincinnati? OK, I’m good.”