Among the select solid performers on the Los Angeles Angels roster in 2022 was that of Jaime Barría and his play. The former starting pitcher transitioned to the bullpen and has become a bit of a pioneer with how he’s approaching his usage.
In 2021 he pitched in 13 games (11 starts), carrying a 2-4 record with a 4.61 ERA, 4.88 FIP, and averaged just 5.56 strikeouts per nine innings. The Angels recognized their need for bullpen arms, and the natural progression for many struggling starters with slider-heavy arsenals is best suited for the bullpen.
The only concerning part of Barría’s game remains his inability to miss bats and barrels. But still, Barría improved in the second half of the season, posting a 2.04 ERA in 35.1 innings and a .203 batting average allowed.
Chris Gilligan of FanGraphs highlighted Barría and his incredible slider usage on the first pitch of an at-bat and how he used it to more of an advantage than anyone else in Major League Baseball. His primary pitch was used 57.6 percent of the time, 182 of 316 total first pitches, were sliders.
He wasn’t spectacular from a metric-based standpoint with a 14th percentile strikeout rate, a 27th percentile whiff rate, and he allowed a bottom-tier ninth percentile barrel rate. But his results spoke for themselves as he posted a 2.61 ERA in 79.1 innings.
Barría will hopefully continue to expand upon his success in the bullpen.
Jaime Barría 2022 highlight
His entire season was a solid highlight considering his conversion from starter to reliever. Barría found a way to make it work without stellar strikeout and home runs allowed numbers.
His best performance of the season by win probability added saw him pick up a blown save, but still earned the win. Barría pitched three innings and allowed just one run, which was unearned, on one hit with one strikeout to no walks. The Angels ended up defeating the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 10 by a score of 5-4 in 12 innings.
Entering his first year of arbitration, the Angels locked him up on a one-year deal worth $1.05 million. This is a solid contract for the club and Barría, who continues to work his way into a key role in the pen. He should find himself pitching in more high-leverage situations and his ability to go multiple innings is valuable for the club.
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