Drafted out of the University of North Carolina in the 7th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, Andrew Wantz played his largest role with the Los Angeles Angels during the 2022 season.
Wantz excelled at Triple-A in 2021, posting a 1.78 ERA in 30.1 innings with the Bees, which earned him a cup of coffee in MLB that same year. Aside from his 4.94 ERA in 21 games (27.1 innings) with the Angels, he made positive strides in his development that he carried into this past season.
His 9.8 strikeouts per nine this year prior carried over after the Angels called him up in late April and again in early June.
Wantz became one of the first arms out of the bullpen for manager Phil Nevin through his first two months in MLB after his second call-up. Unfortunately, he struggled to limit walks against lefties with a 14.6% walk rate, whereas he had a 7.4% versus right-handed hitters.
He primarily features a three-pitch mix with a heavy dose of four-seam fastballs, a slider, a cutter, and a seldom-used changeup. In 2022, Wantz excelled when leaning on his four-seam and slider, but surrendered a .593 slugging percentage on his cutter, a pitch he should drop altogether.
Going forward, Wantz could become a valuable piece to the Angels’ pitching staff once he refines his usage and is able to figure out how to limit free passes against opposite-handed hitters.
He finished the 2022 season with a 3.22 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP across 50.1 innings, including 52 strikeouts and seven holds.
Andrew Wantz 2022 highlight
On Sept. 20 against the Texas Rangers, Wantz had his most dominant and impactful performance of the season. Nevin called upon him after Patrick Sandoval tossed five innings, giving way to the bullpen.
Wantz would go on to log two perfect innings with four strikeouts, contributing to a 5-2 Angels win.
The good news for the Angels and general manager Perry Minasian is that Wantz is still a pre-arbitration player and is incredibly cost controlled for the foreseeable future. There will be a spot for him in the bullpen and if he displays a change in usage, he could be headed for an increased role in higher-leverage outings.
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