January 24, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Reliever Álex Claudio agrees to one-year contract with Angels

The Angels are continuing to revamp their bullpen. The team announced Wednesday the signing of left-handed reliever Álex Claudio to a one-year, $1.125 million contract.

Claudio is the third reliever acquired by general manager Perry Minasian in as many weeks, joining closer Raisel Iglesias and Rule 5 draft pick Jose Alberto Rivera. Claudio, 28, will form part of the new relief corps the Angels are assembling after parting ways with eight pitchers who worked out of their bullpen in 2020.

Since debuting with the Texas Rangers in 2014, Claudio has posted a 3.44 ERA and struck out 217 batters over 311 games. He has made 239 appearances since 2017, the third-most among all major league pitchers in that span. He spent the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, making a major league-leading 83 appearances in 2019.

Despite having more favorable splits against left-handed batters, Claudio has not been held exclusively to a specialist’s role. Such flexibility is key; MLB adopted a rule ahead of the 2020 season requiring all relievers to face three batters or finish an inning, reducing demand for left-handers who are adept at retiring left-handed batters.

Throughout his career, Claudio has faced left-handers in 487 plate appearances and held them to a .202 average and .556 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He has faced right-handers in nearly twice as many plate appearances (820) and fared worse. They have batted .305 with a .798 OPS in 820 plate appearances.

Claudio, a 27th-round draft pick out of Puerto Rico in 2010, appeared in 20 games for the Brewers last season. He was released by the Brewers earlier this month when they decided not to tender him a contact ahead of his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Claudio’s arsenal features a slow changeup that sits around 73 mph, a sinker and four-seam fastball in the mid-80s, and a mid-70s slider.

Claudio has managed to limit the amount of hard contact made against him. Opponents produced line drives on about 20% of batted balls the last two seasons. In 2020, he had a 46.6% ground-ball rate and a 34.5% fly-ball rate. He held batters to an exit velocity of 81.5 mph in 2020, a figure that ranked in the top 1% of the league according to Baseball Savant. The same database ranks the 85.8-mph exit velocity he allowed in 2019 in the top 2% of pitchers.