With Brad Ziegler putting up zeros in Oakland, most of the conversations this year about A.L. West rookie relievers have been centered on the bay area, and rightfully so. However, don’t let Jose Arredondo get lost in the shuffle – he’s having a pretty tremendous debut season himself.
Arredondo, a converted outfielder who has been climbing through the minors as a pitcher since 2005, has impressed the Angels enough to become the primary 8th inning setup guy for LAnaheim. He’s done it with a power fastball (93.6 MPH average velocity) that induces ground balls at a significant clip (56% GB%), but also working in a change-up and a split-finger to keep left-handed hitters off balance. In fact, Arredondo’s two off-speed pitches have been so effective, he’s actually be better against LHBs than RHBs.
vs RHB: .219/.313/.288, 83 PA, 9 BB, 12 K
vs LHB: .147/.194/.206, 72 PA, 4 BB, 20 K
His ability to blow left-handed hitters away with a variety of soft stuff, while pounding right-handed hitters with a groundball inducing fastball, makes him a perfect high leverage reliever. He has different weapons for different scenarios, and unlike a lot of converted position players, he’s not just trying to get batters out on arm strength.
Now, he’s not as good as his 0.92 ERA suggests – the 3.17 FIP is closer to his real talent level, but since relievers post a below average BABIP as a group, FIP will underrate him a little bit. But it seems clear that with his ability to throw strikes, miss bats, and control hitters from both sides of the plate, the Angels have a pretty terrific young relief ace waiting in the wings should Francisco Rodriguez choose to leave via free agency this winter.
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