Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian has a history of stacking bullpens as opposed to starting rotations. With Spring Training set to begin Friday, Minasian spent the week doing just that for the Angels, making two impact relief signings.
The first was to bring in volatile, but quality veteran Archie Bradley. Spending 2021 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bradley was the quintessential pitch-to-contact reliever, struggling with swing-and-miss but forcing all kinds of bas contact. ‘
Now, in what could be argued as an even bigger signing, the Angels are reportedly bringing in free agent reliever Ryan Tepera on a two-year, $14 million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 17, 2022
In Tepera — who is 34 years old — the Angels are getting one of the more underrated relievers of the 2021 season, and a player who has been as consistent as any bullpen arm in the Majors over the past seven years.
2021 was a strong year for Tepera, appearing in 65 games and tossing 61.1 innings between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. In that time, he had a 2.79 ERA, a 0.880 WHIP, a 3.89 K-to-BB ratio, and struck out 74 batters on the year.
His advanced numbers look even better, as he ranked in the 88th percentile for strikeout rate, the 85th percentile for chase rate, and the 96th percentile for whiff percentage. This means he forces plenty of swings and misses, and his 80th percentile exit velocity against shows that when he does allow contact, it’s not good contact.
Normally, the volatility for relievers means that this type of performance is not repeatable. Except, Tepera is a rare reliever that has actually been consistent throughout his career.
In seven MLB seasons, Tepera has only had one season with an ERA above 4.00. Four of his seven seasons saw him amass a WHIP below 1.250, and he has struck out at least one batter per inning in five of seven seasons.
This is an extremely high-quality signing for the Angels, and creates a bullpen that — on paper — looks to be one of the best in the Majors. Of course, Angels fans have been burned before by the promise of improved pitching, but for the first time in several years, the Halos have a bullpen worth celebrating.
Angels among teams showing interest in Tyler Anderson
If the Angels are going to make additions to their starting rotation, it likely won’t be with an expensive ace. Instead, they may look for some depth pieces in the middle of the rotation.
One option could be Tyler Anderson, the former Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners pitcher. The Angels are one team showing interest in the left-handed pitcher, and he could help to provide reliable innings in a six-man rotation.