The trade for Raisel Iglesias gives the Angels a bonafide stud to pitch in the late innings.
Iglesias has been one of baseball’s best and most consistent relievers since he became a full-time reliever in 2016. Given the extremely volatile nature of reliever performance, it’s hard to find reliable relievers over a multi-year basis, let alone a five-year stretch that Iglesias has excelled in. In the four years leading up to the shortened 60-game season (2016-2019), Iglesias averaged 73 1/3 innings, a 2.78 ERA, and struck out 29.7 percent of hitters. He did this all while pitching high-leverage innings as the closer for the Cincinnati Reds. Since 2016, Iglesias is legitimately one of baseball’s best and most consistent relievers.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect about Iglesias is the fact that he’s continued to improve, even as he’s about to enter his age-31 season in 2021. Iglesias has not only maintained his strong fastball velocity (96 mph in 2020) and strong secondary pitches but he’s also improved his command in that time. Iglesias most recently dominated his 23-inning sample in 2020 with a 28.6 strikeout-minus-walk percentage and 176 ERA+. He has improved his strikeout and walk numbers in three consecutive seasons.
The combination of swing-and-miss stuff and strong command has made Iglesias a certifiable beast. When you see the pure stuff and his pitch characteristics, it’s easy to see why Iglesias has been such a superb reliever. With a three-pitch mix, swing-and-miss stuff, and strong command, Iglesias has a starter’s package in a relief role. Everything starts with his explosive fastball, a pitch that is above-average in every facet. Iglesias was only one of 11 pitchers in baseball in 2020 with a four-seam fastball that averaged 96+ mph, had above-average vertical and horizontal movement, and an above-average whiff rate.
His main secondary pitch is a wipeout slider that is one of the best sliders in the business. The pitch not only had ridiculous results in 2020, mainly a 48.3 percent whiff rate, but it also had unique characteristics. This past season, only three pitchers had sliders that averaged 84+ mph, had 10+ inches of horizontal movement, and generated a 40+ percent whiff rate: Paul Fry, Luis Patiño, and Iglesias.
What separates Iglesias from other relievers is the added element of a strong third pitch. Iglesias doesn’t just have a throw-in change-up, either. The pitch is a legitimately strong pitch that is a great equalizer against left-handed hitters. In 2020, just nine pitchers (min. 40 change-ups) featured a change-up with above-average vertical and horizontal movement with a whiff rate over 40 percent.
As a result of all of these strong traits, there’s no reason to believe that Iglesias won’t be a great addition to the Angels bullpen for 2021. Relievers can be incredibly volatile so there’s obvious room for risk but Iglesias has shown he is one of baseball’s uniquely reliable relievers. On the heels of a poor 2020 team performance and recent depletion of relievers via non-tenders, the Angels needed a bullpen arm like Iglesias.
The 1st major trade the new GM has done- & I like it.
The lack of a stable bullpen has kept the team from a winning record, much less from the playoffs. & the team’s not giving up much of value for him too.
If Raisel is as good with the Halos as he was with the Reds, I see him hopefully staying long term after 2021, esp after Pujols’ money goes off the books.
I just hope that Raisel remains healthy and productive for the entire 2021 season.
I was shocked when this went down, because much like the other Iglesias trade, it was a target that was nowhere on my mind before it actually happened. Then when it did, I thought, “huh, that actually makes a lot of sense”.
If Mayers is the real deal, Pena can be a good, multi-inning arm, and Buttrey can finally put it all together (he has more than enough “stuff” to be a late-inning reliever), that’s a good core. I also anticipate Sandoval coming out of the bullpen which I think could allow him to throw a bit harder (he’s averaged 93 mph on his fastball), that’s a good start. I’m sure Faria is competing for a role similar to what Andriese had this year.
Speaking of Reds relievers, I’d LOVE Bradley for a one-year deal for around what he was expected to make in arbitration.
I reserve my final thoughts on this until I have the complete info, ptbnl and how much cash? Especially ptbnl
Does he blow out his elbow? Start to suck? Trash the fans on twitter?
Falls in or down the dugout!
Key managed to do all three. Pretty incredible.
Ha. Very true
I know this is a great trade based on my friend’s reaction whose a Reds fan. When I told him the news, he said he was throwing up by how bad Perry robbed Nick Krall. Still waiting for who the PTBNL is but if it isn’t anyone significant, this is a trade that wouldn’t even be possible to execute on MLB The Show.
It seems like Perry has a plan for how to improve the team in the run prevention segment. I’m excited to see what his next moves are, especially how he improves the starting rotation.
Great reference and great show
If it lasts over 4 hours, please find a reliever.
If it lasts more than 4 hours, I’m calling everyone I know, holding a news conference and doing an AMA on Reddit.
Raisel will cost us less than a 2019 Cody Allen did on a 1-yr deal. Let that news nugget dangle a bit in your brain.
Those teams who are downsizing their payrolls and those that are on the cheap are the teams to prey on. Reds, Phillies, Pirates, Rocks, Cubbies in the NL and Indians, O’s, Tigers (?) in the AL. Definitely think there are more dumpers in the NL which is good because Perry is very familiar with them. I need another acquisition Perry, I need my fix!!
I think the Cubs or Rockies are next. Darvish, Hendricks, or Marquez would all be phenomenal additions to the rotation.
I’d absolutely love Marquez, but he’ll cost a fortunate to acquire.
Darvish seems more realistic in terms of a trade target. We can probably acquire him without including either Adell or Marsh.
Acquiring Darvish on a 3/60 deal might be more palatable to Minasian than signing Bauer at like a 6/150 deal. Just depends on which prospects we’d need to give up.
I’m really stoked by this move. Having Iglesias, Mayers, Pena, and Buttrey should be a solid framework for high-leverage innings. I’d like to see Sandoval converted into a multi-inning reliever, because I think he’d thrive in that role.
We still need another lefty in the pen, but after that, I’d just look for some guys we can take flyers on (players with options), and let the best ones emerge in spring training and make the team.
I really like Sandoval out of the pen. There are ingredients for a good starter in there but I’m not sure the command will ever be good enough to make it work. In the pen, he can let it loose by sitting 94-97 on the fastball and tossing in his two strong secondary pitches (slider and change-up).
Agreed. I think Sandoval could be a decent SP5 type starter, but I feel he’d have far more value as a multi-inning weapon out of the pen. In that sense, getting another SP can further help our bullpen, as it’d kick Sandoval to the pen.
And so far the best Perry Minasian is the real Perry Minasian, but he still needs to get some starters or he’ll quickly drop down the list to the worst.
Still have plenty of time (and options) but it goes without saying that neglecting the rotation would be unwise.
It would be hard to imagine Perry is not going to address the rotation. Whether that be signing a big name like Bauer or trading for one like Marquez, Snell. Obviously those are pipe dreams but regardless I would be shocked if Perry does not improve the rotation given that is all he has talked about since the moment he got here. That and run prevention which so far he has been addressing with the addition of the churches.
Great work as always.
Having that third pitch is key, as mentioned by Greatjake. If a hitter can sit on a certain pitch, you are toast. When a normal reliever is having trouble with one pitch, that’s what happens. Iglesias can still keep hitters off balance even if one pitch isn’t working well.
Thanks, Jeff. Definitely think his strong three-pitch mix has played a big role in his sustained success.
I follow the Reds, watch some of their games. Honestly, Iglesias is more fun to watch than Aroldis Chapman. We are gonna love watching this guy and I’d be down if we extended him. We haven’t had a closer that just ices a line up like this guy that I can remember. No two walks and three Ks with this guy, just fast innings.
I think an extension makes too much sense (if he produces, obviously). I think he’s going to age quite well for a reliever and the club is about to shed a ton of $$$ after next season.
Graduate level work Mr. BMags, thank you.
I think Inglesias’ three pitch repertoire greatly limits his reliever volitility and is the main reason for his consistency. Most RPs have at best a two pitch mix (sometimes only one) so if a weapon is off their proverbial goose is cooked.
Exactly. Factor in the command improvements and he’s about as safe of a bet to produce as any top reliever in the sport.
Probably the factor that allows him to pitch two innings if need be.
It’s been so long since the Angels bullpen has been able to consistently hold leads. A shut down closer was such a necessary improvement. Really excited to maybe feel a bit more comfortable when up 5-3 in the 8th.
It’s a huge improvement. I checked the Fangraphs depth charts and swapping Ramirez out for Iglesias moved the Angels bullpen up from #20 to #8. Having one big lockdown arm is huge.