Is Keynan Middleton the Next Great Angel Reliever?

Updated: February 28, 2017

The Angels may not have a rich history of success, but they do have a rich history of historically great relievers who have closed out games, among them names like Lee Smith, Francisco Rodriguez, and Troy Percival.

The Angels won their one and only World Series title on the backs of a great bullpen, filled with players like Percy, K-Rod, Ben Weber, Brendan Donnelly, and Scott Schoeneweis, and they could be on the verge of putting together an awesome, young bullpen again.

Pitchers like Alex Meyer, J.C. Ramirez, Jose Valdez, and Cam Bedrosian all have the stuff to be shut down, lights out relievers, and although they’re going through growing pains, they have the potential to form the core of the best bullpen in baseball.

There’s one more pitcher, though, who could end up being better than all of them; Keynan Middleton. With a fastball that can touch triple digits and a wipe-out slider, Middleton has the raw talent to become one of the best relievers in all of baseball, a lofty high that seemed impossible not too long ago.

Middleton was drafted third overall, and being a three sport start, he was unsure what sport he would actually end up playing. Lucky for the Halos, he stuck with baseball, and has trusted Angels’ brass with convincing him to play baseball as well as making the change from being a starter to being in the bullpen.

The fact that Middleton was once a starter allows Middleton to pitch multiple innings at a time, and he could easily step into an Andrew Miller type role with his toughness and willingness to adapt to any role.

Middleton has all the makings of an elite reliever, as he struck out eighty-eight batters in only sixty-six innings, an insane strikeout ratio. He has good enough stuff to get out major league relievers right now, and could see the majors sooner rather than later. The Angels are on the verge of having an amazing bullpen, and the next time the Angels win it all, don’t be surprised if Middleton gets the last out.

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