While the free agent market this offseason was quite robust for position players and starters, there were quite a few notable relievers that did not have home entering the month of February. One such name was LHP Matt Moore, who has signed a one-year deal to remain in the AL West. Moore will head to the Angels, a team looking to make it into the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Anaheim will need a strong bullpen to do that, and Moore should be able to help if last year was any indication.
A Look at Moore
One year after a difficult campaign out of the starting rotation with the Phillies, LHP Matt Moore turned into one of the league’s best relievers in Texas. Last season with the Rangers, Moore posted a very impressive 1.95 ERA, and struck out 83 over 74 innings. The 33-year-old’s ERA was the 15th-best among relievers (153) who threw at least 50 IP in 2022.
Just from looking at the numbers, Moore’s arsenal played up much better out the pen. The ex-Ranger used his fastball less last season, but recorded a higher Whiff% (26.6%) and unsurprisingly saw the velocity jump on the pitch. But arguably the most notable change from 2022 was Moore’s increased usage of his breaking ball. Moore used it 38.2% of the time last year, a sharp change from the 15.3% from 2021. It paid off, as Moore used it very effectively to get swing and misses.
If there was one issue with Moore last season, it was the control. Moore posted a 4.6 BB/9 rate in 2022, just about the same from 2021. However, control and command has been a problem throughout much of his career. The 33-year-old owns a career BB/9 rate of 3.8.
The increased use of his offspeed and breaking stuff turned Moore into a valuable reliever. But despite that turnaround, the lefty sat on the market until the start of Spring Training. Moore wasn’t the only notable lefty to be without a home entering February, however. Andrew Chafin just signed with the Diamondbacks, while veteran Zack Britton still does not have a home as of yet.
A Look at the Angels Bullpen
With Matt Moore in tow, here’s a look at how the Angels bullpen could shake out in 2023:
- LHP Jaime Barría
- LHP Aaron Loup
- LHP Matt Moore
- RHP Carlos Estévez
- RHP Jimmy Herget
- RHP Ryan Tepera
- RHP Andrew Wantz
- RHP José Quijada
Last season was a peculiar one for the Angels bullpen. Sure, Jimmy Herget proved to be a reliable arm for Anaheim and the team did receive solid results from Aaron Loup, Andrew Wantz, Jaime Barría and Ryan Tepera. However, the good did not outweigh the bad for Los Angeles, as the Angels bullpen recorded the seventh-worst ERA (4.59) in 2022.
Ex-closer Raisel Iglesias struck out plenty of batters but did falter at times before being moved to Atlanta. Former Angel relievers Mike Mayers (5.68 ERA), Elvis Peguero (6.75 ERA) and Archie Bradley (4.82 ERA) also had issues for Anaheim in 2022.
In the place of those arms are new Angels Carlos Estévez and Matt Moore. Estévez was a steady hand in the Rockies bullpen last season, thanks to a hard fastball and two change of pace pitches in a slider and change. If Estévez and Moore can bring added stability to the Angels bullpen, this group should be a solid unit.