Ernesto Frieri is heading into his second full season as the Los Angeles Angels‘ closer, and this time around he is looking to be dominant force in the back end of the bullpen.
Frieri is pitching lights out this spring as he has thrown five scoreless innings of work with five strikeouts, two walks and one hit allowed that accounts for an impressive .067 opponent batting average and a 0.60 WHIP. The fact that the 28-year-old has been an effective pitcher on the mound is great sign for the Angels. Their bullpen struggled mightily last season as they ranked in the lower half of the league in many important statistical pitching categories.
Despite finishing tied for seventh in the league with 37 saves last season, Frieri was as much a part of their pitching woes as he his 3.80 ERA, 11 allowed home runs and 30 walks all ranked among the worst for any closer in the majors. So fast-forwarding to this spring training, his dominance on the mound is definitely a step forward for the five-year veteran.
Frieri plays in a key role as a Halos’ closer, and what he does this upcoming season will either greatly help or hurt his team’s chances at reclaiming a division title in what is now a highly competitive AL West. The division features revamped teams in not only the Oakland Athletics, who won the division the last two years, but also the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
So as the final two weeks of spring training play out, it is essential for Frieri to continue to perform at a high level and hopefully carry that momentum into an all-important 2014 season. The Angels have their eyes set on some lofty goals this season, and their closer will play a big part of the team’s ultimate success in 2014.