With opening day three weeks away, let's look at the Halo Bullpen ahead of the 2015 season...
The best two things to happen to the 2015 Angels bullpen happened a long time ago - the Angels acquired last offseason and in a midseason trade. Once an area of concern, the pen was a strength down the stretch. How does it all shake out? Let's see:
Closer - Huston Street
He had 41 Saves between the Halos and the Padres over 2014. Despite a Spring Training flu bug he looks to be on track to close games. He is negotiating a contract extension with the team - look for this to perhaps make him press in situations early in the season if a new agreement is not signed by opening day. Otherwise, full speed, or in Huston's case off-speed, ahead.
Setup Man - Joe Smith
The best in baseball in the eighth inning last season, Smith is this decade's Scot Shields. He has had some stiffness throughout his legs this Spring but insists that he only needs a handful of appearances to get ready for the season. His mechanics border on the circus-like so there can be times he is out of synch, but his "out of synch" would have been Ernesto Frieri's "in the groove" so let's embrace greatness where and when we have it.
Seventh Inning Man - Mike Morin
Despite the reputation of the Halo farm for producing zilch, boom, out of nowhere came a guy who impressed and will now have a greater role. At least I hope he is higher up the chart than...
Man Debacle - Fernando Salas
This is Jerry Dipoto's blind spot - a guy who had five good weeks and stunk before and after. He made Kevin Jepsen look great. It is not looking great if he is the option for Scioscia late in the game. He was, however, the reason the Angels acquired...
LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY) - Cesar Ramos
Acquired from the Rays, Ramos will hopefully have a role that only sees him facing lefty hitters. How long will Scioscia try him in another role - like "Sixth Inning Guy" or "Eighth Inning Behind Guy"? Who knows. I do know it will not work. Ramos gets lefties out. He is like Reagan that way. Sorry, no politics, just keep this guy as a specialist and let the other guys take care of business.
Behind But Close Guy - Cory Rasmus
A great story in 2015, Rasmus is good for 45 pitches when we are down 3-1 in the sixth inning. However, Rasmus can still be sent down to the minors so he might start the season there because of...
Intriguing Option - Vinnie Pestano
Acquired late in the season, Scioscia seemed to like him immediately. Crowded pen here but expect him to get some innings.
Longman - Hector Santiago
His heart is in the rotation but his butt will likely be in the bullpen
Cam Bedrosian still has the big league jitters. Jeremy McBryde has shown this Spring that he does too.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Salas pitches in low leverage situations, Smith and Street repeat, repeat, repeat.
Worst Case Scenario: The flat Frieri fastball was actually a Poltergesit and will haunt high leverage situations until exorcised.
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Complete Halos Heaven 2015 Season Previews:
The Infield (LINK)
The Outfield (LINK)
The Starting Pitchers (LINK)
The Bullpen (LINK)
The DH & Bench (LINK)