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Out of Options - Predicting the Angels opening day bullpen

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The options issue really comes down to the Halo bullpen and who lands there on April 3rd

MLB: Spring Training-San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Angels Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not sure the exact total number of guys at big league camp right now, but I do know it’s definitely over 25. The biggest moves over the the the past few days were Brooks Pounders being optioned to Salt Lake (not a big surprise) and Keynan Middleton with the same fate (probably not a huge surprise but I was rooting for a bullpen spot for him). Keynan had options, some of the other guys don’t. He was fun to watch pitch (and in practice at camp), but we will see him again soon enough.

There are other guys out of options but they aren’t going anywhere. Guys like Luis Valbuena, Ben Revere, Cameron Maybin, Ricky Nolasco, and Jesse Chavez. Is it wishful thinking that Cliff Pennington (also out of options) will get DFA’d? Yes, count me among the non Pennington fans. But this options issue is the stuff the 2017 opening day bullpen is made of.

Other guys include Jesse Chavez (no options) and Alex Meyer (options left). I’m 99% certain Chavez will start in the rotation and Meyer will start in AAA. Sure Meyer could make a great long relief bullpen guy, but I don’t think the Angels have given up on him as a starter. It’s a long season and guys like Meyer, Daniel Wright, Bud Norris, Nate Smith, Troy Scribner, and Alex Blackford are bound to make at least a few big league starts this year. Note: Manny Banuelos and John Lamb are also out options so a call up for them could end in a DFA if it doesn’t go well.

Current predicted bullpen (from Roster Resource):

Cam Bedrosian (Zero options)

Bedrosian isn’t going anywhere, and in fact SHOULD be the opening day closer. We’ll see if Street can get that job back whenever/if he’s back from his injury. Anyone else seeing shades of CJ Wilson here and worried Street will have an injury plagued or poor performing year?

Andrew Bailey (Zero options)

Bailey shouldn’t be going anywhere either despite his “bad-looking” spring stats of a 7.71 ERA through 4.2 IP with a 1.93 WHIP. However, the sample size is small and outside of the.2 IP against the Cubs on March 6th (when he couldn’t find the plate), he has been pretty solid. Also, I need to point out again that Bailey got hosed when Mahle came in the game and let ALL of his inherited runners score. At what point can we start holding relievers accountable in their ERA stats for inherited runners they let score?

JC Ramirez (Zero options)

Ramirez is set to be the Angels long relief guy and spot starter. He is getting his second start today. Spring has been unkind to Ramirez who has given up 8 ER though 11.2 IP with 2 HRs allowed and a 1.54 WHIP. He’s going to need to right that ship by the time the season starts.

Mike Morin (Option left)

Morin had a pretty great rookie season back in 2014, regressed a bit his sophomore year, and had a so-so 2016. Morin has had an okay spring but is giving up a ton of hits (12 in 6 IP). He’s here to stay though and Scioscia seems to favor him in medium and low leverage situations.

Jose Alvarez (Option left)

Alvarez is the only guy aside from Morin that could be set down to Salt Lake. I’m not convinced he can be a consistent bullpen piece, but he’s also pretty much a lock for opening day. Alvarez had incredibly dramatic home vs. away splits in 2016, so maybe Scioscia can just put him in for home games? On the road in 2016, Alvarez had a 6.39 ERA, 2.211 WHIP, and .378 BAA compared to his home stats of 1.13 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, and .218 BAA. Doesn’t get much more dramatic than that.

Austin Adams (Zero options)

Adams was DFA’d by Cleveland back in February and Eppler snatched him up for some cash. Don’t you ever wonder just exactly home much cash guys like this cost? Adams has been far from impressive this spring, and I’m not sure he deserves a bullpen spot. If the powers that be see something in him, they will give him a shot but I’d rather see Middleton or Delois Geurra get a spot instead. If the Angels DFA Adams, there’s probably a good chance he ends up back in Salt Lake anyway.

Yusmeiro Petit (Zero options)

Petit has likely earned his spot and the Angels would probably lose him if they DFA’d him anyway. He’s a good multi innings guy, has had a decent spring so far and has traditionally had a pretty low walk rate along with a career 1.28 WHIP. He’s looking like a solid pickup for Eppler and though he was signed to a minor league contract, his odds are high he’ll be in the bullpen on opening day.

So there you have it - the Angels probable opening day bullpen:

  1. Cam Bedrosian (closer)
  2. Andrew Bailey (setup)
  3. JC Ramirez (swing man)
  4. Mike Morin (the low leverage guy)
  5. Jose Alvarez (the unpredictable one)
  6. Austin Adams (can haz Middleton or Guerra instead pleaze?)
  7. Yusmeiro Petit (innings eater)

Is this the stuff championships are made of?