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2020 Angels in review: Felix Peña

Swingman found a home in the Angels bullpen this year

MLB: Exhibition-Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Finding any sort of capable pitching was a chore again for the Angels in 2020, though Felix Peña was one of the bright spots in the bullpen.

After being used as a swingman in his first two years in Anaheim — 24 starts, 17 relief appearances — Peña was used solely in the bullpen in the truncated 2020 season. He proved to be one of the most trusted relievers on the staff, pitching in the second-most high-leverage spots (11, as defined by Baseball-Reference) and holding the second-highest average leverage on the staff.

Of the 25 Angels to throw a pitch in 2020, only six had a 0.5 fWAR or higher. Peña was right at 0.5 WAR, with his 3.00 FIP and career-bests in strikeout rate (25.2 percent) and ground ball rate (49.4 percent).

The Angels led MLB with 14 blown saves, with Peña contributing three. Though two of those blown leads came in situations earlier in the game. When Peña was brought in to actually close a game, he converted two of three save opportunities.

Peña had a 1.86 ERA through September 3, but faded down the stretch.

Late-season slump

through September 3 16 19⅓ 5.3% 30.7% 1.86 2.26 .200/.253/.257
after September 3 9 7⅓ 10.0% 15.0% 9.82 4.96 .361/.425/.556

2020 particulars

Age: 30

Stats: 4.05 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 29 K, 26⅔ IP

Salary: $587,500

Game of the year

Peña got his season started off on the right foot, striking out a season-high four in a season-best 2⅓ scoreless innings against the A’s.

Roster status

With three years, 79 days of service time, Peña is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. The average of the three projection models used by Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors for Peña’s 2021 salary is $966,667.