When the Angels weren’t able to re-sign Mark Texeira, they did the next best thing–bolstered their bullpen.
The Halos signed Brian Fuentes–a reliever who has been an established closer for four years in Colorado and has posted some impressive numbers. Fuentes, won the closer role back from Manny Corpas last season and ended the year with 30 saves in 34 attempts. Fuentes saved his last 17 games without a blown save.
Fuentes was 1-5, 2.73 and struckout 82 in 62 2/3 innings. His WHIP was an impressive 1.10. The four previous seasons Fuentes saved 20, 30, and 31 games while working his home games in the most hitters’ friendly park in the MLB, Coors Field.
The 6′ 4″, 230 pound left-hander is 33-years-old. His unique sidearm delivery resembles more of tossing a frisbee than firing a baseball. The three-time National League all-star is especially tough on lefties as he held portside swingers to a .184 average in 2008. Of course, righties didn’t fare much better at .210.
Brian Fuentes is an extremely safe relief pitcher pick in your 2009 fantasy baseball season. He’s going to get a lot more save opportunties with the Angels who figure to dominate the American League West again this season despite an improved Oakland squad. K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, saved 62 in 69 chances in 2008. With Scot Shields serving as his proficient set-up man, expect Fuentes to pick up 45+ saves with the Angels this season.
You’ll get a good look at Fuentes in the World Baseball Classic as he competes for the second time with Team USA. Team USA also sports closer Joe Nathan so expect Fuentes to pitch against lefties late in Team USA’s contests.
“It’s an incredible experience and I’m looking forward to it,” said Fuentes about the World Baseball Classic.
The Angels are looking forward to having Fuentes as their closer as well.