Entering his seventh season with the Los Angeles Angels, reliever Kevin Jepsen looks a different pitcher on the mound this spring training.
For most of spring training, the 29-year-old has been an effective pitcher with a 2.53 ERA and12 strikeouts, .143 BAA, 0.84 WHIP and five hits allowed in 10.2 innings of work. This includes throwing shutouts in eight of his 10 appearances with five those games with no hits allowed. His latest shutout appearance came on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics as he threw a dominant ninth inning by striking out three of the four batters he faced.
This is an uptick in level of performance from the right-hander who has struggled to have any consistency so far in his six years in the majors with a career 4.34 ERA and .274 BAA. Jepsen has been a much improved pitcher from the start this spring training which began with adding a changeup to his repertoire for the first time in his professional career. This could help him get batters out more effectively by strikeout or forcing them make contact on tough pitches.
It is an encouraging sign for Los Angeles, who had tendered Jepsen’s contract this past offseason in hopes that he would become a viable arm out of the bullpen. The right-hander’s high level of play this spring training has all but guaranteed his spot on the Opening Day roster, which is a much different tone from the start of spring training where his chances of making the team were in question.
But as he has continued his maturation as a pitcher over the past month, it has given the team reason to believe that he can be a important of the Angels’ pitching staff that is looking to rebound off a disappointing season in 2013. So with Jepsen showing vast improvement this spring training, he will only strengthen the Halos’ revamped bullpen.