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2021 Angels Player Review: Steve Cishek

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The reliever’s first season with the Angels saw him became one of Joe Maddon’s go-to relievers and one of Angels Twitter’s favorite pitchers to discuss

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The thirty-five year old reliever became a free agent on November 3 after spending his first season with the Angels. He was drafted by the Marlins in the fifth round of the 2007 draft and made his MLB debut on September 20, 2010. He spent time with the Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, White Sox, and Astros before requesting his release from Houston and then being signed by the Angels on March 29, 2021 for a $1 million dollar contract for one season.

Cishek is primarily a sinkerballer, utilizing the pitch 44.2% of the time while mixing in a slider (38.9%), 4-seam fastball (16.6%), and changeup (.2%). Working from a sidearm delivery, he was slightly better away (3.34 ERA in 35.0 IP) than at home (3.51 ERA in 33.1 IP).

Cishek was available for the majority of the year, avoiding injuries, except for a brief stint on the bereavement list from August 6- August 12. Despite the break in August, and though it is a slightly smaller sample size, it was his most effective month as a reliever. He appeared in 10 games posting a 0.75 ERA.

Cishek was a hot topic on Angels Twitter too, with various discussions regarding his performance. Many particularly pointed out how he struggled with inherited runners and looking at the numbers, he had 61 inherited runners and allowed 26 to score which is roughly 43% of runners he inherited coming home.

2021 Stats:

0 Wins / 2 Losses / 3.42 ERA / 74 Games / 0 Games Started / 68.1 Innings Pitched / 64 Strikeouts / 31 Walks / 1.49 WHIP / 1.2 WAR / 59 Hits Allowed / 32 Runs Allowed / 7 Home Runs Allowed

Best Performance of the Year:

Cishek’s best performance of the year came on May 23rd against the Oakland Athletics at home. Cishek threw 2 ⅓ shutout innings in a tight 6-5 win against their AL West rivals. The bullpen had to enter the game early after Bundy lasted just 2.1 innings and held on for the win. Cishek went the longest in relief and struck out four.

Roster Status:

Steve Cishek became a free agent on November 3rd along with eight other players who were on the Angels roster. He did not sign a deal with a team prior to the lockout so it is currently uncertain where he will land when the new CBA is reached. Whether or not the Angels will bring him back and how he could fit into their pitching plans going forward, especially with some of the moves they have already made, remains uncertain and will be figured out after the lockout.

2021 Overall Grade: C