Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Angels signed/drafted/traded for a pitcher who has not yet lived up to his potential due to a history with injuries. It’s a theme that has played out over and over and over - even with the recent signing of Shohei Ohtani.
The Twins lost two prospects in the Rule 5 Draft this year and the Eppler and crew were on the receiving end of the 12th round pick when they snagged the 27 year old righty.
Luke Bard was a 16th round pick by the Red Sox in 2009 out of high school but it was the Twins who signed him by picking him up in the supplemental portion of the 1st round in the 2012 draft.
Bard has had some issues in the past, including a few surgeries in 2013.
Bard had a couple surgeries during 2013. In mid-May this year he had another surgery. According to Bard, he had a “latisimus reattachment and a teres major reattachment.” Basically the muscles between his scapula and his humerus were completely detached. Once in, doctors wondered how he was able to throw at all. He will likely be out until mid-2015.
Bard came back in 2015 to pitch in A ball with a 2.41 ERA and 1.146 WHIP in 52.1 innings. He sure didn’t miss a beat with all that time off. Last year, Bard spent most of his time in AA with 13 innings thrown at the AAA level. Overall he had a 2.76 ERA, 1.332 WHIP, and a blistering 99 Ks over 65.1 innings. In AAA his K/9 rate was 14.5 and over the past 2 seasons in AA he managed a 12.1 K/9 rate. His walk rate has been a bit high, but it has declined as he’s moved up. In rookie ball it was 7.9 BB/9 and in AAA it was down to 3.5. Last year in AAA (small sample size), it was only 2.8 BB/9.
According to MLB Pipeline, Bard slots in as the #19 prospect on the team - just ahead of Cole Duensing and right behind Brennon Lund. He’s said to have a 60 grade fastball in the mid 90’s and he also has a plus slider.
Bard just might the 2018 diamond in the rough that the Angels need in their bullpen. Former 1st round pick anyone? Yep. The Angels are stocked full of them.