Angels Add Southpaw Reliever to 40-Man Roster

During the Mike Scioscia era, the Angels had a history of not keeping a left-handed specialist in their bullpen.

However, a new narrative is potentially in the works as the team added Ryan Buchter to their 40-man roster Sunday afternoon, designating Taylor Cole for assignment. A clear sign the Angels are planning on keeping Buchter when Opening Day eventually occurs for the Angels and rest of Major League Baseball. 

The addition of the 33-year-old Buchter occurs just a month after the club signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Buchter made the best of his Cactus League outings, firing five scoreless innings while surrendering three walks and striking out five.

Across five MLB seasons, Buchter has a 2.86 ERA in 257 total games while striking out 235 opponents in 214 innings pitched.

Never finishing a season with an earned run average above 2.98, as well as appearing in at least 54 games each of the past four years provides the Angels’ bullpen powerful asset this season. 

The left-handed specialists, also known as LOOGYs (Left-handed One Out Guy,) have suffered a perceived hit this offseason by the MLB instituting a new rule in 2020. The new rule forces any pitcher entering a game mid-inning must face either a minimum of three batters or complete the inning before being replaced. This will force left-handed relievers like Buchter to face more right-handed hitters, assuming opposing managers will pinch-hit more often to counter southpaws entering ballgames to face lefty hitters. 

Buchter limited left-handed hitters to .238 average and recorded a 2.51 ERA against them. as well. On the other hand, right-handers hit .274 and Buchter posted a 3.78 ERA against them during the 2019 season.

Buchter will continue to rely on his low-90’s fastball, high-80’s cutter, and high-70’s curveball to keep the opposition off balance this season. Buchter’s repertoire will complement the likes of Hansel Robles, Keynan Middleton, Cam Bedrosian, and Ty Buttrey in the late-innings for the 2020 Angels. 

Angels This Week 

Joe Maddon shared during a radio interview on The Dan Patrick Show that he’s staying in his RV in Mesa, Ariz. for the time being. Maddon’s son, daughter, and grandchildren reside in the Phoenix area and he appears to be taking the time off to connect with family. Maddon appeared at his daughter Sarah’s FitLab Fitness Training center over the weekend and will be conveniently situated whenever MLB baseball activities resume. 

Thursday, MLB announced league-wide compensation rewarded to minor-league player personnel affected by the suspension of the start of the MLB and subsequent minor league baseball seasons. Players will “receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8,” according to MLB’s official statement. 

Angels Down on the Farm 

Jose Rodriguez was missing opponents’ bats this spring before the Cactus League shut down on March 12. The 24-year-old Venezuelan right-hander made his MLB debut with the Angels last summer, posting a 2.75 ERA across 19.2 innings.

This spring, Rodriguez held opposing hitters to a .207 average in four games spanning seven innings, walking none, and striking out eight would-be hitters. Rodriguez could be a surprise candidate for a final bullpen spot when spring training resumes in the coming weeks. Rodriguez had been exclusively used as a starting pitcher 2015 through 2018 in the Angels farm system and is adapting relief role at the Triple-A and MLB-levels.   

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