The second chapter in the career of Jake Lamb has been about carving out a role with a club because of his left-handed bat and his ability to fill multiple roles defensively. This versatility earned him a Minor League contract with the Los Angeles Angels and a current slot on the big league roster.
After a successful first half of 2022 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners to fill the same need many teams have, a lefty bench bat who can play numerous spots. Although the transition wasn’t as positive, it proved he is still valued even in his age 32-season, which is what the Angels used as the driving force behind his signing.
Looking back to Lamb’s 2021 season and he made some changes to his game that he felt were turning points that signaled he had turned the page on his old self as a player, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“When you’re trying to get back to something — when you’re chasing something like that, that can help, and it can hurt you,” Lamb said. “And I think mentally, it hurt me.”
Lamb hasn’t been overwhelmingly productive, but in the perfect situation for his skillset, he’s a great addition to Angels manager Phil Nevin’s roster that was in need of a platoon bat of his prowess:
“He’s put a lot of work in,” Nevin said. “I can equate it a little bit to what (Matt) Carpenter did last year with the Yankees. Made a little adjustment with his swing. A little bit with his posture. He’s leaned out a little bit. It’s been really impressive. I’m excited to see what he does.
Through 36 at-bats entering play on April 20, Lamb has posted a .222/.282/.250 slash, with one double, two RBI, and three walks. But he’s still hitting the ball hard, grading out in the 77th percentile in hard-hit rate:
“I feel like my hands are getting to the position where I want to fire from,” Lamb said of his present-day swing. “Where I’ve fired from in the past. It all comes from trying to simplify. I’m never trying to be someone I was in the past.
“But I’m at a position where I feel comfortable with my swing. I feel like I can repeat it.”
The expectation bar for Lamb isn’t high, he just needs to perform when called upon to justify his slot. However, he’s been a part of some high-leverage moments at the plate in recent seasons while with the Dodgers and Mariners, so it wouldn’t be surprising for him to have some big swings this year.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian has a positive outlook on the bullpen
Prioritizing both free-agent signings and keeping the best arms in the bullpen are exactly what was needed, and entering play on Wednesday, the Angels possess a top-10 bullpen. From Opening Day through April 18 of last season, their reliever group had a 5.32 FIP, the second-worst in baseball.
But Carlos Estévez, José Quijada, Jimmy Herget, Matt Moore, Aaron Loup, Jaime Barría, Ryan Tepera, Tucker Davidson, and Andrew Wantz have all contributed to their 3.42 FIP, which is sixth-best in Major League Baseball.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!