The Angels announced a host of non-roster invitations to Spring Training this evening. Among the group was right-hander Fernando Romero, who returns to the affiliated ranks after two seasons in Japan.
Romero, a native of the Dominican Republic, was a highly-regarded prospect early in his professional career. Baseball America slotted him among the ten most promising talents in the Twins’ minor league system in 2017-18. He reached the majors in the latter of those two seasons, starting 11 games and posting a 4.69 ERA as a rookie. He worked exclusively out of the bullpen during his sophomore campaign but was tagged for 12 runs in 14 innings.
The Twins granted Romero his release at the start of the 2020-21 offseason. That facilitated a deal with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball. He logged parts of two seasons there, tallying 173 innings at Japan’s top level. Romero posted a 4.01 ERA with a meager 12.7% strikeout rate and average 8.5% walk percentage. That included 92 frames of 4.87 ERA ball last year, though Romero fared better with the BayStars’ minor league affiliate.
While he worked out of the bullpen for his final season in the Minnesota organization, the 28-year-old has plenty of professional experience as a starting pitcher. He can serve as a depth option for either the rotation or multi-inning relief. Romero joins players like Chris Devenski, Jonathan Holder, Gerardo Reyes, César Valdez, Nash Walters, Austin Warren and Jacob Webb as right-handed non-roster options in Halos’ camp.
Great stealth pickup
Oh goody. With such great moves, it’s hard to believe the Angels pen has stunk for the greater part of a decade.
It is not a secret. Teams that score a lot of runs tend to have good bullpens. Teams that don’t score runs tend to have bad bullpens.
The Angels were 25th in the league with 623 runs scored last year. The Angel’s bullpen was 18th in bullpen ERA at 3.95. The average bullpen ERA in baseball is 3.86. When you factor that Anaheim Stadium was the 4th most hitter friendly parks in 2022, I think it is fair to say the Angel’s bullpen was average and their offense was dreadful.
You can take Raisel Iglesias for example. He was horrible for the Angels last year. He went to a winning team that scores a lot of runs and started pitching with more confidence again. He was the same old Raisel again.
The Angels offense has a lot of moving parts. There are new faces in Renfroe, Urshela, and Drury. They have Trout, Walsh, and Rendon that were injured last year. They have a catcher in O’Hoppe that hasn’t been exposed to a lot of major league baseball. The Angels need a lot to go right in order to put a formidable lineup on the field. If things go right, they will score many more runs than last year, and the bullpen will be better without. If the team scores 623 runs again, the bullpen will be “bad” again.
ERA is not predictive or describes the value of a pen. It’s a lazy stat. Anyone who thinks the Angels bullpen was good last year is nuts.
And did you do any research on teams that score a lot of runs have good bullpen? The Angels bullpen cost the the 1979, 1982 and 1986 playoffs.
Iglesias is a great example of ERA in small sample sizes not being instructive or predictive. He allowed 1 run in April. Had back to back bad outings in late May that skewed his ERA. And the bad Phillies game where he didn’t pitch in 10 days and was asked to pitch to Bryce Harper with the bases loaded. After that first game in June allowed one more run that months. He ended his Angel career with 5 scoreless appearances.
Iglesias makes my point. Not yours.
It’s baseball, nothing is predictive. It’s why i laugh when you bring up projections like they are written in stone. ERA may not be important to you, but to most of us it is. Most of us will still use ERA as one of the things to evaluate pitchers. You seem critical of this Romero signing but he has a high ERA, that;s not predictive.
I am not sure I understand your point. . Is you point that Iglesias was good for the Angels last year? He wasn’t.
Is your point that Iglesias is good because he pitched 5 innings in a row without allowing a run? Even bad pitchers like Heaney can pitch 5 innings in a row without allowing a run.
There is a big difference between bullpens now and bullpens in the 1980s. They are ran much more efficiently now. The pitchers are better and relievers dont pitch more than 100 innings like they did back then. Its a completely different game. Besides no one is saying any reliever is infallible. Mariano Rivera blew the 2001 World Series. He is still be best closer in the game’s history.
You can look around the league. Teams that score runs, have better better bullpens than teams that don’t. I don’t know what you consider a good bullpen because a high ERA is acceptable by your standards. The bullpens I consider good have good ERAs.
Nothing is predictive. Are you nuts?
You miss bats, you throw strikes, you have a high ground ball ratio, and you have at least two good pitches, you have a much, much, much, better chance of being an plus reliever than someone who doesn’t.
The Angels don’t have a single one of those RPs. Not one, Not even one that’s close. And that is the kind of stuff that is predictive.
So, if you throw a bunch of mud on the wall, one or two might be effective. But you have no way of knowing which one or two and you have no one of knowing which one or two will be good the following year. Which has been the Angels’ problem for a long long time.
It’s shocking you haven’t noticed.
Again, none of those things are predictive. You should probably look up Ryan Tepera’s SO9 rate the years prior to joining the Angels, so much for being predictive. There goes your point out the window. All can change year to year, so can their ERA. By your standards, Andrew Heaney is better than Jered Weaver. Heck, you probably believe Heaney is better than Greg Maddux.
You said previously that Bachman is a wasted draft pick, but now you say you need 2 pitches to be good. Bachman has the best slider and change up in the Angels farm system.. He also possesses 2nd best fastball next to Bard.
The Angel’s problems is more than just the bullpen, way more. To name a few…
1. Some of the worst FA signings in all of baseball
2. Combine #1 with limiting the payroll to 185M
3. In large part ignoring the international FA market
4. Complete neglect of pitchers via draft and free agency
5. Lack of player development
6. Lack of scouting
Most of these can be traced back to Mr Unfinished Business himself, Arte Moreno. I see Chafin is going to Diamondbacks. It appears Arte is back to his penny pinching ways. The Angels have done nothing since Arte decided to not sell the team.
Tepera last year. Let’s see what boxes he checks as far as being above average.
Does he strike batters out. No,
Can he throw strikes, without having the ball hit. No.
Can he fool batters and have them swing at pitches outside the strike zone and miss. Yes.
Does he have control. Yes.
Does he keep the ball on the ground. No.
And since he doesn’t keep the ball on the ground. HC rate is more important. Does he avoid contact. No.
If those indicators don’t change, He’s unlikely to be good.
The good RPs check those boxes and that’s why he wasn’t good last year.
Do you know how many of those boxes Estevez checks? Zero. If he checks Zero of those boxes next year, he’ll very likely suck.
Those are predictive stats, and since it’s based on pitches, the sample size is not so small as to be misleading at best and worthless at least.
By the way, people who create strawmen to make a point, typically don’t have a point.
Tepera is primarily a fastball, slider pitcher. He is not a primary sinker ball or other GB inducing pitchers like a change up. He does throw the sinker but in limited volume. If you think more along the line of Aroldis Chapman, Ryne Stanic, or Paul Sewald. These guys will never have 50% GB rate like a good sinker ball type pitcher.
Tepera actually does avoid hard contact. Actually in the top 1%.of the league in hard hit %..
Ryan Tepera has been a slider/fastball pitcher the last two seasons, though he threw a sinker or change-up 25.6% of the time in 2022 (54+ Putaway% with those two pitches). From ’17-’20 he was a sinker/cutter guy first and foremost. His career GB% is 14% higher than Sewald and 9% higher than Stanek.
Tepera was in the 99th percentile in Hard Hit% in ’22 but that appears to be a career anomaly
2021: 78th percentile…still pretty good
2020: 47th percentile…uh oh
2019: no statcast data, 42..0% via fan graphs which is…bad.
2018: 8th percentile
2017: 70th percentile…hey look at that.
It’s weird. Tepera wasn’t all that far off from his career GB% in 2022, compensated by being measurably excellent at avoiding hard hit balls, but it wasn’t enough to mitigate the damage that 3.5 drop in his k/9 and 68% LOB wrought.
@Ontarigro My point was Tepera’s ground ball rate is fine based on the type of pitcher he is. Stanek and Sewald don’t mix in a sinker so it is understandable that they GB rate is less.
It is a bit odd that someone else referenced his hard contact rate as being bad when he was in the top 1% last year.
I don’t use LOB%. It is such a big difference coming in with a runner on first with 2 outs and bases loaded with no outs and a runner on first with 2 outs. This is why I prefer RE24. People on these forums don’t seem to know what it is, but it is such a great tool to know if you are doing your job as a hitter or pitcher. The situations are weighted with RE24. The run expectancy with bases loaded with no outs is 2.3. The run expectancy with nobody on with about 0.2. A RE24 of 0 is average. A good reliever will get you 10 or more. Tepera RE24 last year was 1.5 so slightly above average. The year prior he was 15.4. Iglesias was negative for the Angels last year. Herget was the Angels best with a 15.0 RE24 last year.
The correlation with pitcher confidence and offensive run production also seems to works the other direction when bats go silent after the batters lose confidence in the pen to hold leads. June 5 in Philly was an example: the Angels took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th only for Phils to tie it. Then after the Halos scored in the top of the 9th to retake the lead, the pen blows a second save in bottom of the 9th and loses. That game was pivotal in that it marked the 10th consecutive loss, getting swept for the 3rd time in a row, and going under .500 for the first time since April 15. Injuries to key offensive players contibuted to the disappointing production for sure. I also think their spirit and mental focus was challnged by a poor performing pen that consistently let them down for a continuous stretch of games that derailed their season.
That was more Maddon than the pen, and I’m pretty sure that game led to his dismissals. Iglesias didn’t pitch in ten or twelve games. Comes in with the bases loaded and pitches to Bryce Harper. It was the first time all year he was asked to pitch in two innings, and he did it without pitching in close to two weeks.
Nevin made similar mistakes at the end of season. Every time a pitcher was asked to pitch the second inning, they failed. Most of your RPs, come out of the pen, finish the inning, and that’s it. Those guys, and there are not too many, who can be effective pitching in two innings are worth their weight in gold.
Nevin obviously doesn’t know this and obviously doesn’t know who those guys are. And Perry has not helped him.
This pen stinks, combine with Nevin not knowing how to manage the pen is once again going to be the Achilles heel of this team.
Anyone else read this as “Fernando Rodney” at first and do a double-take?
Seems like as good of a lottery ticket as any. Welcome aboard.
And with seemingly half the team playing in the WBC, there will be more chances than usual for these guys.
Why does it seem like a good lottery ticket? He was so bad in Japan they sent him to the minor leagues.
Worst case scenario, he pitches well in AAA, the Angels cut someone from their 4o man roster. He comes up to Anaheim and he blows two or three games. Best case scenario, you’ll never hear from him again.
Just add someone good!!!
He’s a camp body.
I didn’t say he’s actually good, just as good as any lottery ticket that’s still unsigned as camp opens.
Halo11 I know you are constantly on about the bullpen and have been for years. I’d like to know who the angels would have to go get right NOW, that would satisfy you in regards to the pen?
Really good question. I hope you read my post. It’s an important one. I was happy last year. Loup, Tepera and Iglesias were coming off good indicators, and great years.
This year. Loup and Tepera are 35, coming off mediocre years and indicators. The Angels are hoping they pitch like they did when they were 33.
Estevez throws one pitch, doesn’t throw it by batters, allows hard contact, doesn’t have good command, doesn’t prevent hard contact and is a fly ball pitcher. The Angels are hoping it’s all because of Coors.
Quijada, doesn’t have command and is a fly ball pitcher and only throws a fastball. That’s a bad combination, the Angels are hoping he keeps the ball in the park.
Herget, allows hard contact, doesn’t miss bats, and is a fly ball pitcher. The Angels are hoping baters hit the ball at fielders and he can keep the ball in the park.
Weiss is a 30 year old pitcher who has almost no track record. I’m not sure what the Angels hope he becomes.
Rodriguez hasn’t pitched in a year, I guess the Angels are hoping he pitches well this year.
And Finally, Wantz, He doesn’t throw strikes and is a fly ball pitcher They are hoping he keeps the ball in the park. Since he avoids hard contract, that’s a realistic hope.
There is a reason why no prognosticators like this pen.
That’s a lot of hoping.
Absolutely, I agree with your assessment. But my question was who the angels could go get right now before opening day that would make you feel confident in their pen?
Just another body for Spring Training and a possible AAA rotation piece. Gotta love that 12.1 K rate. He would probably get hit around in Little League. He can pitch to guys in a slump to help them feel good about themselves.
You sign guys to minor league contracts hoping they will be major contributors at the big league level.
Fangraphs just did their projections and part of the criteria was bullpen. They ranked their bullpen 27th, tied with the Nationals. The only pens worse were the Tigers and Pirates.
No GM with a clue, who wants to compete goes into the year with so little bullpen talent.
By the way. 6th in wRC+ and 24th in fielding. Rengifo at short? Seriously?
Fernando Romero and Kennys Vargas in the same week? Twins cast off prospects I never thought I’d see again seem to be following the dream.
Fernando Romero was extremely highly regarded in the Twins’ system, but he never lived up to the billing which was 100mph fastball, dominant closer/ace starter. While the scouts talked about the fastball and wipe out slider with a decent change up, Romero was never able to generate strikeouts. Good article on the early hype.
Romero was turned away at US customs in 2020 before Spring Training just before COVID madness because of visa issues and wasn’t able to get them addressed in time for the shortened season so the Twins just totally cut bait on him. It was seen as a pretty bold statement so there were quite a few questions in regard to what was really going on.
He didn’t pitch well in Japan and was sent to the Japan minor leagues. Unless there was an injury that is now healed, that’s pretty much all I need know.
Some people have a slow Saturday and like random info. Just posting for funsies, but hey, you could also apparently try to pick a fight to entertain yourself.
Wanting to find out if an injury occurred is annoying to you? He stunk in Japan. If you don’t know a reason why he stunk in Japan, then posting he was a highly regarded prospect is worthless information.
Dude couldn’t pitch in Japan. So let’s sign him to the Angels.
Moreno keeps the team and suddenly it’s business as usual with signing guys who don’t factor in to helping the Major League club. It seems to me Moreno told Minasian to shut down the spending. We are not there yet and if this is our 2023 team, especially the BP, we will be losing Ohtani.
In the meantime Chafin is signed by the Diamondbacks.
I never expected the Angels trying to build a rotation through free agency. I understand why people criticized them, but with it came years of risk and financial obligation. But Chafin just signed for 6.5 million guarantee.
There is absolutely no excuse to go into the season with this kind of a bullpen. The Angels need to bring in a GM who has a clue.
We need a SS too.
The GM is where we disagree. I blame Moreno.
I don’t blame Moreno. Perry showed me his bullpen acumen when he signed Claudio and Guerra his first few months on the job. He doesn’t have a clue.
Braves fans would disagree.
…and who’s to blame doesn’t really matter. We need a BP and a SS and I say a catcher too.
The Braves are doing fine without Perry. After his 2+ years here, he’s made mistake after mistake. He’s blown 2 seasons. And unless this pen amazingly over performs along with limiting Rengifo’s time as middle infield, he’s going to screw up this season. This is all on him.
Has he made a move that worked? Iglesias might have been one, but the Angels got rid of him for nobody.
Maybe there are moves that may work in the future, but so far two seasons have been wasted.
Welp, I hope the 20 pitchers he drafted a couple years ago might spawn some talent.
Pick number one already looks like a bust. Silseth has potential. I think drafting 20 pitchers was more of a gimmick than a sound strategy.
Halo11 – I think it was a great strategy going so heavy on pitching that year. Not just because that was a need, but because that was where the value was. The other teams that almost did the same thing are the teams that have a strong track record like the Dodgers, Guardians and so on. That # 1 is reportedly already throwing bullpens at 97-98.
I honestly don’t know much about the minor leagues other than what I read on websites. I thought Adell was going to be good, so what do I know. I defer.
But I can look at major league data of major league players that goes way beyond simple stats. And it’s pretty clear which players are much more likely to be successful. Not adding Chafin was a huge mistake. He checks the boxes. No Angel RP, comes close to checking all the boxes.
With all of these bargain Basement additions to the Bullpen is Perry creating a Bullpen with depth or creating the death of a Bullpen?
Since this has been a constant problem for well over a decade, he’s not creating it, but he isn’t doing anything to solve it. Which is too bad, it’s actually the one position you can do a very good job of supplementing in the free agent market for a reasonable price and very little risk. M
You should follow the team more. Clearly he is doing something about it. He has built a successful pen in the minor leagues, which hasn’t happened since the early 2000’s
He signed several bullpen arms last year, which hasn’t happened in a long time. You can play 2nd guesser and complain that they were as good as their previous year, but most Angel fans were happy with the signings.
Just because your not aware of his recent drafts and free agent signings, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Clearly he is trying to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time.