Arredondo: Spanish for Awesome

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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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

One Response to “Arredondo: Spanish for Awesome”

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  1. Paul F. says:

    It’s been a fun year for following relievers as many young arms (and some not so young) who have been waiting for a chance or to finally find their form have performed very well, when healthy. Andrew Brown has toiled in the minors for years with numbers suggesting solid middle man at the league minimum without getting a sniff. When healthy, he has been effective in Oakland this year. Likewise, in Oakland, Joey Devine had been dogged by his underachiever label when he couldn’t command his pitches after his nearly straight to the majors debut and subsequent chances in Atlanta. This year, he has been lights out when healthy. Rounding out the Oakland contingent is Ziegler, about whom enough has been said.

    In Tampa, all of the talk has been about the resurgent Percival, but JP Howell and Grant Balfour have been shutting them down. Balfour is a particularly nice story after recovering from elbow and shoulder surgery after his star faded in Minnesota.

    In Toronto, Scott Downs has continued to dominate since his conversion from mediocre to poor starting pitcher and shown enough dominance in short stints to face the occasional right, but, of course, Toronto has been manufacturing effective relievers for the last three years, one bright spot of the Ricciardi regime.

    Again, the White Sox can credit a portion of their success to a bullpen, beyond Dotel and Linebrink, put together with cast offs and spare parts like Bobby Jenks (Rule 5), Matt Thornton (waiver claim), and Boone Logan (home grown).

    All this to say that it appears Beane was right, a solid to spectacular pen should be possible for little or no cost and far too many talented youngsters are prevented from performing at or above the league average by overpaid veterans and specialists.

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