As a number of Los Angeles Angels starters are away from the team as they compete in the World Baseball Classic, younger players are taking their opportunity to showcase themselves as a pseudo-audition to contribute to the big league roster in 2023.
Angels manager Phil Nevin reiterated that the club intends to shift towards a six-man rotation for the upcoming season, which opens the door for Chris Rodriguez, Griffin Canning and Chase Silseth at the backend.
Although he’s made just two starts in camp, Silseth has punched out nine hitters in just six innings of work. Continuing the trend he had of very solid strikeouts per nine numbers is important in his young career and this spring speaks of his ongoing maturation within the organization, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
He’s added a new pitch to his arsenal this year — a cutter — which he believes will especially help him against left-handed hitters. Last year, he held righties to a .722 OPS, but lefties had a 1.117 OPS against him.
“Last year, when the split wasn’t on, it tended to be a pretty bad outing,” Silseth said. “This is just another weapon. With six weapons, and if I can get ahead, it can be lethal, in my opinion.”
His new cutter has produced some ugly swings and is likely to become a staple pitch to go alongside his splitter, slider, and four-seam mix:
“It’s actually turned into a very, very good pitch,” Nevin said. “He’s used it a few times to get Major League hitters out. I don’t care what time of year it is. The pitch recognition and stuff is there for the hitters. When you see big league hitters taking swings like they have on that pitch, which is something he’s just incorporated, you know it’s a good one.”
Silseth is still just 22 years old, and the former first-round pick out of Arizona is chomping at the bit to get a piece of big-league action. With injuries to Major League arms a game of Russian roulette, his time could be sooner rather than later:
“I’m just motivated because I love the game so much,” Silseth said. “Goals are just goals. I just come in and just do my work. And if I get that sixth spot, I get that sixth spot. But I’m just trying to have fun and be the best version of myself.”
MLB.com has Silseth as the club’s No. 7 prospect and remains second behind fellow right-hander Sam Bachman, who could see time in MLB later in the year when rosters expand.
Sam Bachman beginning to feel like old self with Angels after a run of injuries
Early on in his big-league career, Bachman dealt with multiple injuries which ultimately brought his development to a halt. But after a positive offseason, the 23-year-old is prepared to take another step forward.
Drafted in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of Miami (OH), Bachman joined the Angels for big league Spring Training, tossing a flawless inning in his debut on Feb. 26. His outing against the White Sox was special on a few fronts, he collected three punchouts, and did so on just nine pitches.
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