Janson Junk was most recently included in a deal that sent him to the Milwaukee Brewers and brought veteran outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Los Angeles Angels. The move sparked the beginning of a rather busy offseason for general manager Perry Minasian and his staff.
Junk will turn 27 prior to the 2023 regular season, and this past season didn’t come with much game action. As an older prospect, Junk is running out of time to prove he can pitch at the Major League level.
A midseason trade in 2021 for left-hander Andrew Heaney introduced Junk to the Angels, and from there he was assigned to their Triple-A club, the Salt Lake Bees. After multiple stops between the Minors and in Major League Baseball, he carried a 3.86 ERA through 16.1 innings pitched at the big league level.
However, he was plagued by a home run problem, including five in his 20 hits allowed.
Junk made his 2022 regular season debut with the Angels on May 28 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium. He tossed a scoreless inning, allowing just one hit and one strikeout, but was optioned back to Triple-A following the game.
His ability to pitch in relief and work as a starter increases his value to the staff, but in Triple-A, he struggled mightily. Through 15 starts, Junk held a 4.64 ERA, with a record of 1-7 over 73.2 innings.
Janson Junk 2022 highlight
On July 27, the Angels recalled Junk for a spot-start against the Kansas City Royals in which he provided five scoreless innings, including eight strikeouts, issuing just one walk, with just four hits allowed.
It would be one of just three appearances for the Angels on the year, but it showed a glimpse of what he can produce when all things click.
There is some upside with Junk, and going from the Angels to a highly-respected organization in terms of pitcher development with the Brewers, he’s in great hands. Milwaukee has been known to turn struggling players into gold, and they hope to do the same with Junk.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Junk take a leap forward with the Brewers, but to secure a much-needed right-handed bat in the heart of the Angels lineup, it was worth the trade.
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