The Los Angeles Angels selected Kenny Rosenberg from the Tampa Bay Rays organization in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason looking to increase their pitching depth, but it’s unlikely they expected to call upon him this soon into the season.
The 26-year-old had a career ERA of 3.90 in the Minors, however, 2021 was one of his best seasons. In 41.2 innings — mostly out of the bullpen in Triple-A — Rosenberg posted a 2.81 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and 59 strikeouts compared to 16 walks.
The Angels selected his contract from the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees on April 18 before their game against the Houston Astros, and later called him into the game to make his debut.
Rosenberg only pitched one inning and allowed one run before being optioned back to Triple-A the following day, but it completed a goal he has been working his entire life for, he said via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s something I was looking forward to pretty much my entire life,” Rosenberg said Tuesday. “You always wonder how it’s gonna go. You visualize that moment. You never know what it’s gonna be like until it happens.”
While Rosenberg waited and dreamed about the moment for his entire life, spending six years playing Minor League Baseball and two years playing college ball, nothing could have prepared him for the actual moment.
The southpaw expected his nerves to kick in, but in reality he was just more excited that he was so close to fulfilling his dream, and it didn’t really hit him until the heard his name called in the bullpen:
“I thought I would be nervous, but I don’t think nervous is the right word” Rosenberg said. “I think it’s just so much anticipation. Years’ worth of anticipation really. When you finally know that it’s close, and then they call your name in the bullpen, that’s when it hits.”
The Rays originally drafted Rosenberg in the eighth round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of California State University, Northridge (CSUN), a school that has not produced many Major League players, but was the college playing grounds of former Angels infielder Adam Kennedy, current Minnesota Twins pitcher Joe Ryan, Oakland Athletics prospect Denzel Clarke and St. Louis Cardinals farmhand Justin Toerner.
In his sophomore season at CSUN in 2016, he was named to the Big West Conference All-Academic Team after posting a a 3.21 ERA and led the Big West Conference with 118 strikeouts in 109 innings, ahead of eventual Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, and held batters to a .198 batting average.
Angels bench coach brings a different eye to the dugout
The Angels made multiple coaching changes in the offseason, including one that was a bit perplexing: the addition of Ray Montgomery as the bench coach.
Montgomery spent the last few years in the Angels’ front office as the director of player personnel for the 2021 season, but has never managed or coached at any level. The relationship between the team on the field and the execs in the front office has grown stronger as information is key in this age of baseball.
Even so, Montgomery believes his eye for the game from where he has been seeing it for years can provide valuable perspective while in the dugout.
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