The Angels announced Wednesday that they’ve claimed right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame off waivers from the Mets. Rhame was in the Mets’ 60-man player pool, and the Mets have already announced that his spot will be filled by right-hander Ryley Gilliam. The Angels’ pool will grow to 57 with the claim — assuming Rhame is indeed added.
Rhame, 27, was originally a sixth-round pick of the Dodgers back in 2013 but landed in the Mets organization via the trade that sent Curtis Granderson from New York to L.A. He’s spent parts of three seasons in the Mets’ bullpen but has yet to find much success. In 47 2/3 MLB innings, Rhame has worked to a 6.23 ERA and 6.06 FIP with averages of 7.6 strikeouts, 4.5 walks and 2.08 homers per nine innings pitched.
That said, Rhame also averages just under 96 mph on his fastball and, in 2018, posted impressive swinging-strike and opponents’ chase rates (13.4 percent and 35.8 percent, respectively). The spin rate on both his four-seam fastball and his curveball ranked among the game’s elite that season, so the Angels are surely hoping that with some adjustments to his approach, Rhame’s raw abilities will translate to improved bottom-line results.
Rhame underwent ulnar nerve transposition surgery last August, but MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that he’s been throwing off a mound in Summer Camp, which bodes well for his readiness to return. He’s out of minor league options, so Rhame will either need to break camp on the team’s expanded 30-man roster or else once again be exposed to waivers.
Gilliam, 23, was the Mets’ fifth-round pick just two summers ago and quickly rose through the ranks in the system, topping out in Triple-A last year. The Clemson product breezed through Class-A Advanced in 2019 and posted respectable numbers in Double-A before being torched in 9 1/3 innings of Triple-A ball. But Gilliam has punched out 87 hitters in just 56 pro innings (14.0 K/9, 35.1 percent overall strikeout rate) and ranks inside the organization’s top 30 prospects at both MLB.com and FanGraphs. He’s said to have a pair of above-average to potentially plus pitches: his heater and curveball. With no minor league season in 2020, it’s possible that Gilliam will largely skip over Triple-A and make his big league debut at some point this summer.