Just to get through the 2021 season in one piece, the Los Angeles Angels had to rely on several unlikely faces to carry them through injury-prone weeks and months. Jaime Barria, Phil Gosselin, and Jack Mayfield found themselves up to the task.
At the beginning of the season, these three were nowhere near making the roster. However, by the end of the season, Barria was a fixture in the rotation, while Gosselin and Mayfield were playing almost every day.
In the absence of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton, and most of their original starting pitchers, these three carved out a solid role for themselves. Here, we’ll review their 2021 seasons and their cases for next year.
Days 1-8 can be viewed here:
Day 1: Reid Detmers, Janson Junk, Packy Naughton
Day 2: Austin Warren, Jimmy Herget, Oliver Ortega
Day 3: Kean Wong, Adam Eaton, Jose Rojas
Day 4: Andrew Wantz, Jose Quijada, Chris Rodriguez
Day 5: Tony Watson, Andrew Heaney, Jose Iglesias
Day 6: Aaron Slegers, Alex Claudio, Luis Rengifo
Day 7: Jose Quintana, Junior Guerra, Kurt Suzuki
Day 8: Taylor Ward, Juan Lagares, Steve Cishek
If games began in the second inning, then Barria would have been one of the best starters on the Angels this season. When pitching in innings 2-7, Barria had a 3.57 ERA. In first innings, his ERA ballooned to 9.00, severely hampering his season totals.
Barria started 11 games and appeared in 13 total, compiling a 4.61 ERA and a 1.571 WHIP. He pitched in 56.2 innings and was plagued by hard contact. Barria was 22nd percentile in exit velocity allowed, fifth percentile in whiff percentage, and allowed 11.1 hits per nine innings.
If the Angels are successful in their goals to bring in two frontline starters, it’s hard to see Barria being anything more than a stopgap option. However, he is just 25, meaning the potential for growth is there. Perhaps a long relief role could be his chance to see MLB playing time in 2022.
Gosselin’s first season with the Angels was his ninth in MLB and his age-32 season. When he signed with the team as a free agent, there was minimal expectation he would wind up playing in 104 games and playing at five different positions.
The super utility man batted .261 with a .676 OPS in 2021 to go along with seven home runs and 47 RBIs. His 87 wRC+ left much to be desired, but he came up with big hits when he needed to. He batted .333 with a.794 OPS with runners in scoring position on the season.
With the Angels getting healthy ahead of 2022, Gosselin may not have much of a role in Anaheim. With that, he could choose to stay in the system and play that utility role when needed, or he could find a team that needs a capable body to fill a multitude of positions.
Mayfield was not quite the utility player on defense that Gosselin is, but he provided another solid option for the Angels to turn to on the left side of the infield. Mayfield played mostly third base and shortstop in 2021, getting 75 games with the Angels despite placed on waivers twice by two different teams during the season.
Mayfield’s .696 OPS and 88 OPS with the Angels were extremely similar to Gosselin. However, defense is really what set him apart. He was 74th percentile in outs above average and built a great infield connection with David Fletcher and Jared Walsh.
Given that third base is his primary position, he won’t get much playing time in 2022 if he is back with the Angels. But, Joe Maddon and Perry Minasian are keeping their options at shortstop wide open. Perhaps Mayfield can come back to the team and prove his abilities in that role.