The Los Angeles Angels are once again experiencing bullpen problems this season, but may have help on the way in the shape of reliever Cory Rasmus.
The 26-year-old was acquired by Los Angeles at last year’s trade deadline from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Scott Downs, as he was seen as a promising prospect that if developed correctly could play pivotal role in the bullpen. Rasmus initially struggled with his new team as he had a 4.20 ERA in 15.0 innings pitched in 16 appearances.
Despite his pitching woes in 2013, the right-hander showcased what he could do this past spring training as he had a 1.32 ERA, .140 BAA and 0.79 WHIP in 13.2 innings with 11 appearances. This includes pitching shutouts in his 10 of his 11 games played and not allowing a hit in six of his appearances. Although he did not make the Halos’ opening day roster he continued to perform well at the organization’s Triple-A level this season as he posted a 2.76 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 16.1 innings of work.
Rasmus was also impressive in his first appearance after being called up on Monday as he threw two scoreless innings with just two hits allowed in Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees. This is an encouraging start for the young pitcher as it could be a confidence builder moving forward and help him earn a long-term spot on the team this season. If he continues to pitch well he could possibly supplant Kevin Jepsen, who has a 5.84 ERA, as the team’s long reliever.
That may be a bold statement given that Rasmus was called up a couple of days ago, but he has the potential to be a reliable bullpen arm besides the likes of Michael Kohn, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith as the Angels look remain in the thick of what has been a competitive AL West this season with four teams within three games of each other for the top spot in the division.
When it’s all said and done, the AL West division race will come down to pitching which Rasmus has the potential to play a big part in helping Los Angeles stabilize their bullpen and stay in contention for a playoff spot.