Angels have yet another relief pitcher ready to pitch in the ninth inning and his name is Keynan Middleton.
The Los Angeles Angels were one of a few teams to cycle through closers like they’re underwear last season. It didn’t take them long to pull the same tricks this season. After starting the year with Blake Parker as the expected closer, management pulled the plug on that. Keynan Middleton, not Cam Bedrosian, is expected to get more save chances.
Middleton has the best ERA and WHIP of the three. In six innings, he has four strikeouts, two walks, 0.00 ERA, 0.833 WHIP and a save. Parker’s line is 6.35 ERA/1.588 WHIP/6 K/3 BB/1 SV in 5.2 innings Bedrosian has a 7.71 ERA, 1.929 WHIP, three strikeouts, one walk and two home runs in 4.2 innings.
The Angels also have veteran Jim Johnson but I don’t expect him to get a save chance this early in the season. Then again, I didn’t expect Parker to lose his job this early in the season.
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This is only Middleton’s second season. He posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.337 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and three saves last year. He also recorded 10 holds. Though, unless you played in deep AL-only or holds leagues, he wasn’t someone most fantasy owners had on their radar.
Middleton throws a high 90s fastball with a high 80s slider and changeup. That mix will contribute to a high strikeout rate and limit the number of baserunners in the process.
The 24-year-old was a little erratic in the minors, averaging a 5.27 ERA and 1.445 WHIP in 300.1 innings of work throughout all levels of the minors. He wasn’t used as a closer and did spend 2014 and 2015 in the starting rotation of rookie and Single-A, respectively.
He is the newest name to the closer carousel Angels manager Mike Scioscia loves to torture fantasy owners with. While he may not be named the official team closer, he will get more action in the ninth inning.
Fantasy owners who didn’t draft saves early are jumping on the Middleton bandwagon. He’s been added in 12.3 percent of ESPN leagues and 23 percent of CBS Sports leagues over the last week. The Angels look to be competitive so far, which will give Middleton plenty of save chances of his own.