As Team USA prepares to begin Pool Play in the World Baseball Classic, Los Angeles Angels reliever Aaron Loup was part of a last-minute roster change in the final preparation to finalize the club.
Loup posted a decent 2022 season, his first with the Angels, carrying a 3.84 ERA across 65 outings. In 58.2 innings he notched 52 strikeouts with a 105 ERA+.
Generally known as a lefty specialist, Loup’s results were nearly identical against both sides. Without a clear-cut closer in the Angels bullpen, manager Phil Nevin could benefit from Loup’s veteran stature in a bullpen with young arms and guys set to take on roles different than their norm.
With Loup stepping away from big league Spring Training, he joins one of the most talented teams in World Baseball Classic history, and certainly the best collection of players in Team USA’s history. He was added as part of an injury replacement to New York Mets reliever Brooks Raley.
Loup has found a bit of a groove in camp, tossing two shutout innings with four strikeouts in two outings. Also in exhibition play against Team USA prior to his addition to the squad, he threw a perfect inning.
He joins fellow Angels players, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Gio Urshela, and numerous other teammates in the highly anticipated tournament making its return since Team USA won it all in 2017.
John Lackey, Adam Kenedy & Torii Hunter at Angels Spring Training
The Los Angeles Angels have already seen former first baseman Albert Pujols join spring camp to help instruct Minor League players, and with the World Baseball Classic getting underway, the club used this time as a larger learning opportunity.
After a 73-89 record in 2022, general manager Perry Minasian brought in several proven, veteran guys like Hunter Renfroe, Tyler Anderson and Brandon Drury to supplement an otherwise young group.
Fortunately for the Angels, John Lackey, Adam Kennedy and Torii Hunter were chomping at the bit to lend their knowledge to young prospects in the organization.
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