Anaheim Has Angered Someone

Heading into the season, the Angels were the favorites to win the AL West, but they were overwhelmed by a tide of bad fortune. Half their pitching staff is on the disabled list, they’re mourning a fallen teammate, Vladimir Guerrero got injured… even top prospect Jordan Walden hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug. It’s crazy how much adversity they’ve had to face in a single month.

So, it’s understandable that they sit at 9-12, in third place and 3 1/2 games out of first in the AL West. Given the losses they’ve sustained, that they’ve been able to stay afloat is a minor miracle. But if you’re an Angels fan looking for hope, I’ve got some goods news – your bullpen is going to get a lot better.

So far, the Angels bullpen has been the worst in the American League, posting a -2.30 WPA and a 7.07 ERA. Only the Nationals have cost their team more wins, and they aren’t exactly the standard you want to compare yourself to. The Angels pen has always been a source of strength for them, and they had reasons to believe that their high leverage group (Brian Fuentes, Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo, and Justin Speier) would again be an advantage in close games.

So far, all four of those guys have been giving up runs in bunches. However, take a look at the respective ERA/FIP for those four.

Fuentes: 5.63 ERA, 3.68 FIP
Arredondo: 5.40 ERA, 1.18 FIP
Speier: 5.00 ERA, 3.29 FIP
Shields: 8.64 ERA, 5.82 FIP

Shields is the only on who has pitched in a way that should be concerning to his future. He’s struggled mightily with his command early in the season, but has shown signs of improvement in his last four outings. The other four just have to be going nuts as balls continue to find holes. Fuentes’ BABIP is .460. Arredondo’s is .441. Speier’s is “only” .328, but that’s still 50 points above his career mark. The Angels defense isn’t good, but it’s not that bad.

You just have to chalk some of it up to a total fluke. The Angels bullpen has a 4.19 FIP, 8th best in all of baseball. There’s just no way that they keep giving up runs at this rate. I guess it wouldn’t be the 2009 season in Anaheim if even the relatively healthy portion of the team wasn’t the victim of bad luck, however.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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alskor
Guest
alskor

Im convinced Gary Matthews is trying to sabotage Fuentes. He’s made at least two major boneheaded bad reads that Ive seen – didnt go as errors – that would have gotten Fuentes out of the inning (and less 5 runs or so) if he had just made the routine play.

Fuentes’ periphs are solid and he’s looked good every time Ive seen him. Its been bad luck, bad fielding and broken bat bloopers, etc…

Nick
Guest
Nick

What’s scary is Fuentes is having this bad luck, even though he’s striking guys out at a rate he can’t sustain. And batters are making better contact on all his types of pitches thrown so far this year. Just wait until his K rate drops, and even more balls get put into play for that defense to field.

alskor
Guest
alskor

Why the hell would his K rate drop? I think its more likely the defense behind him stops sucking and he stops giving up these unlucky weak contact hits.

alskor
Guest
alskor

I realize his K rate so far this year (13/9 or something) will drop, but his career is around 10. Im saying it way more likely his hit rate comes back down to his career norms. The hit rate is what is badly out of whack, not the fact he’s gotten one or two extra Ks so far.

Evan
Guest
Evan

More Ks plus more solid contact?

Sounds like Ryan Franklin. Some guys just have hittable stuff, so if they’re throwing a lot of strikes they’re going to get hit.

alskor
Guest
alskor

But he’s not giving up more solid contact – that’s the whole point. His stuff looks very good, too.

Uh, no
Guest
Uh, no

Hitters are making contact 75.7% of the time (73% last year and 73% for his career). That’s down from 78% just a few days ago.

Moral of the post: Small sample size.

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