The Angels struggles in the bullpen have been apparent early in the season. I'm not overly concerned about them because we struggled to start last season too and ended up fine. I believe we have 3 dependable late inning relievers in Bulger, Jepsen and Rodney. This is great when we have the lead, assuming Fuentes doesn't screw it up, which he has a propensity for. What I am concerned about is the games when it's a tie game or the Angels are down by 1 run late in the game. We're burning up our best relievers just to keep the game close and more than likely, over working them. Putting Stokes, Shields or Palmer in, when the game can still be decided is essentially a forfeit right now.
So what's a possible solution? It's unlikely one of the Rodriguez trio in AAA, they are all struggling. RIch Thompson is currently on the DL. Bobby Cassevah hasn't been terrible in early stints, but isn't really seen as a "stuff" kind of reliever, like Scioscia prefers. It is my opinion that Michael Kohn is this organizations best option. He's currently pitching in AA, but given his previous success, as well as current success and performance this Spring, I think it's time he faced some major league hitters.
So far this season, he has an ERA of 0.57. 20 K's in 15 innings opponents are batting a paltry .176 against Kohn. In 2009 with Cedar Rapids to start the year he had a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings with 60 K's. At Rancho for the second half of last season, in a hitter paradise he was even better. 0.94 ERA across 28 innings with 43 K's. Opponents hit just .143 against him.
According to RGHAN's assessment of Kohn in his annual prospect rankings, Kohn has a deceptively sneaky 94 MPH fastball and a potentially plus breaking ball and change up. Anyone who's seen Kohn's delivery (here is the link, Kohn appears around the 55 second mark) realizes he looks like more of a thrower than pitcher, which may be accurate as this is only his 3rd year as a pitcher, suggesting that he may even get better with more experience which would be insane considering how good he is already.
It's hard to imagine one of our AA players coming up to make a difference this season, but if ever there was one, it may be Michael Kohn. Kevin Jepsen, arguably our best reliever didn't even put up numbers this good before he was promoted and eventually replaced Justin Speier on the playoff roster in 2008. Kohn's made a strong case to be in the Angels bullpen right now, and if not, he's made an extremely strong case for at least a promotion to AAA.
Keep an eye on this kid.