The Los Angeles Angels protected Kolton Ingram from the Rule 5 Draft this past November, and so far this Spring, he’s proving what he can potentially add in the bullpen.
A former 37th-round draft pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers, Ingram’s path with the franchise that selected him seemed to run its course after he was released midway through the 2020 season. He was picked up by the Angels prior to the 2021 season and has since established himself as a Major League option despite being an older prospect.
Ingram spent this past year with the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, posting a terrific 2.67 ERA with 73 strikeouts across 60.2 innings pitched. The Angels decided he’d earned the right to join the club for MLB Spring Training in 2023 with his postive strides, via Sarah Valenzuela of the L.A. Times:
“It’s definitely different than minor league camp,” Ingram said Thursday of what the experience of being there for the first time has been like so far.
Ingram has endured some peaks and valleys since his time with the Tigers, mainly because they outright cut him before he had a chance to really get a firm grasp of pro ball:
“It was really the first time that I felt like I’d failed,” Ingram recalled of getting released by the Tigers…
“I sulked for a few hours, it was kind of like a shock,” Ingram said. “Then the competitiveness in me just burst and I got back in action.”
The Angels have multiple established veteran relief options for their bullpen, but there’s still a definite shot he can make a run as an option from the left hand side. His inclusion in Angels camp means a lot to the 26-year-old, as if a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders:
“Getting put on the 40-man was a sense of relief almost,” Ingram said. “You kind of start to see the hard work paying off and all the hours and countless repetitions just finally pay off. You just can kind of sit back and look, but you can’t sit back for too long.”
He’s currently in pre-arbitration and has plenty of team control, one huge factor if he continues to progress and take his game to the next step. Ingram could certainly see time in MLB this season and with how prevalent injuries are among pitchers, his MLB debut might not be far off.
Fellow Angels left-hander Tucker Davidson had important offseaosn
Tucker Davidson endured about as bad of a season a starting pitcher can have in MLB, posting a 6.75 ERA, 5.79 FIP, and a 14.4% walk rate across 12 appearances (11 starts). Between both the Atlanta Braves and the Angels, the left-hander graded out in the bottom 1% in both walk rate and strikeout rate.
But the Angels decided to invest in him still and helped him learn a new variation of his slider using the grip Shohei Ohtani has found to be successful.
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