The Angels strong bullpen has been a big reason for the success the Angels have had over the years and it will be good again in 2007. 25 year old righty Francisco Rodriguez has been one of the most dominant closers in the American League over the last couple of seasons. He was 2-3 with 47 saves, a 1.73 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 69 games for the Angels in 2006. Batters only hit .197 against him last season and he whiffed 98 batters in 73 innings which really shows how nasty of a pitcher that Rodriguez is. Look for him to dominate the American League again this season.
31 year old righty Scot Shields is probably the second best set-up man in the American League (behind Joel Zumaya). He was 7-7 with 31 holds, a 2.87 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 74 games for the Angels in 2006. Batters only hit .217 against him last season and he whiffed 84 batters in 87.2 innings. The game is essentially over if Shields comes into the game with the Angels winning. Look for Shields to have another fantastic year in 2007 for the Angels.
The Angels have brought in Justin Speier as a free agent in the off season to replace the traded Brendan Donnelly as the new 7th inning man. He was 2-0 with 25 holds, a 2.98 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 58 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006. Batters only hit .235 against him and he whiffed 55 batters in 51.1 innings so he should fit right in with the Angels other late game relievers. He should have another good year in 2007.
37 year old righty Hector Carrasco had a solid season for the Angels in 2006 as he was 7-3 with 1 hold, 1 save, a 3.41 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 56 games (3 starts). Batters only hit .244 against the Angels long man in the bullpen. Carrasco is usually the first man in if a starter is having trouble and he’s a very valuable innings eater in the bullpen as he pitched 100.1 innings for the Angels last year. Batters only hit .244 against Carrasco last season so he still has good stuff. Look for Carrasco to have another good season for the Angels in 2007.
36 year old lefty Darren Oliver was signed as a free agent and he will probably be the only lefty in the Angels bullpen. He was 4-1 with 3 holds, a 3.44 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 45 games for the New York Mets. Batters only hit .231 against him (lefties .208) but he allowed a whopping 13 homers. Maybe Oliver will take to his new relief job which is pretty amazing to me because he was such a poor starting pitcher. Oliver has the potential to either pitch a lot of innings like Carrasco or the Angels might just use him as a lefty specialist this season, only time will tell.
24 year old righty Chris Resop was acquired in the trade of Kevin Gregg to the Florida Marlins. Resop is like a younger, cheaper version of Gregg. I know that doesn’t sound too good, but he does have a good arm. He was 1-2 with 2 holds, a 3.38 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in 22 games for the Florida Marlins. Batters hit .310 against him and he walked 16 batters in 21.1 innings. Look for Resop to be the new mop up man.