I’m usually not one to put much stock in spring training performances, but rather like to look for certain aspects that might be noteworthy or potentially important. Julio Teheran checked the latter box on Monday in his spring debut, a sign of promise for an Angels pitching staff in need of quality innings.
Teheran retired all six batters he faced against the Cubs in Mesa, striking out two while allowing only one batted ball to reach the outfield. That Teheran was perfect in his outing was fine, but doesn’t necessarily tell us much about what’s coming in the regular season. However, that Teheran’s velocity was up was a pleasant surprise, still 3½ weeks from opening day.
On Monday, Teheran was clocked as high as 93 mph and was reportedly sitting 91-92 mph. This is important because his four-seam fastball has been trending steadily downward in recent years:
Teheran averaged 89.93 mph on his 4-seam fastball per Brooks Baseball, while Baseball Savant had the pitch at 89.7 mph. Either way, it’s been getting slower, so any uptick in velocity is a plus.
“I’ve been working hard on my fastball, my spin rate and getting my arm in the right position and after that, I know my slider is going to be there,” Teheran told reporters, per Doug Padilla of the Orange County Register.
The Angels last season had almost no stability in their starting rotation for a variety of reasons, and nobody made more than 18 starts. They had just six pitchers reach even 80 innings in 2019, and the lowest ERA among the group was 4.58 (Felix Peña and Griffin Canning, the latter currently dealing with elbow discomfort that will likely make him unavailable at the start of the season).
For them to contend in 2020 they’ll need bulk innings of any reasonable quality wherever they can get them. Teheran has started at least 30 games in seven straight seasons, and his lowest inning total in that stretch (174⅔ in 2019) has been reached only three times by an Angels pitcher in the last four seasons. An uptick in velocity would go a long way in making those innings quality.
- It was a big 24 hours for golf. The morning after Mike Trout had everyone abuzz by hitting a golf ball to the moon, basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was in Tempe, playing closest to the pin in Angels camp. Aside from appreciating the two-way talents of Shohei Ohtani — just don’t compare Ohtani to Bo Jackson — Barkley is a big fan of Mike Trout, whom he only met once before Monday. From Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I think I didn’t get the words out I wanted to say last time,” Barkley said. “I was so excited to meet him. And it was just quick. It was in L.A. at the ESPYs. I just bumped into him in the elevator and told him it was an honor. Being from Philadelphia, we know a lot about him. So I’m a fan. I just said hello to him really quickly. I was kinda fanboy on him, a little bit.”
- Brent Maguire reviewed the Angels’ offseason at Crashing The Pearly Gates.
- Speaking of Mike Trout, he and his wife shared other news on Monday:
Baby Trout due August 2020!!— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) March 3, 2020
I don’t even know where to begin....from seeing your heartbeat for the first time to seeing you dance around in mommy’s belly... we are truly blessed and this is only the beginning!! pic.twitter.com/e0gbiK8K5Y
- Jo Adell (ranked 6th overall in baseball) and Brandon Marsh (No. 79) were rated the two best prospects from the Angels’ top 30 on MLB.com.
- Keith Law ranked all 30 farm systems in MLB for The Athletic, with the Angels checking in at No. 18.
- This is a few days old, but Joe Posnanski is writing about his top 100 players in baseball history for The Athletic, and here is his essay on Mike Trout.