The A’s took a flyer on reliever Angel Felipe at mid-season in a waiver claim from the Padres. Felipe pitched pretty well in a small sample while showing off a big arm that also carried plenty of questions about his command.
The Athletics claimed Felipe off of waivers from the San Diego Padres on June 21.
What were the expectations?
By the time Felipe was claimed, there were virtually no expectations for him or the Athletics for that matter. They were simply taking a flyer on a 25-year old with a big arm that had put up some good strikeout numbers in the minors.
Felipe began the season at San Diego at Triple A where he appeared in 25 games. He had a 6.20 ERA in 24 2⁄3 innings, but his 4.27 FIP told a little bit of a different story. The Padres designated him for assignment on June 18 and the A’s claimed him three days later and sent him straight to Triple A. He made five appearances at Triple A where he allowed two hits, one run and struck out seven before getting the call to the majors. He made his major league debut on July 7 and appeared in 14 games while posting a 4.20 ERA and a 3.52 FIP in 15 innings. He was placed on the injured list on August 15 with a sprained elbow and would miss the remainder of the season.
What went right? What went wrong?
A lot went right for Felipe who had tolled around in the minors since 2015. He gained an opportunity with the A’s and pitched reasonably well after his call up. He recorded 19 strikeouts in 15 innings and had a 53.3% ground ball rate over his small sample. He did issue 13 walks in those 15 innings, so that is definitely still an issue and something that must improve. The arm injury at the end of the season was unfortunate in that it cost him an opportunity to gain more big league experience over the final month.
Felipe is still under team control and is still on the 40-man roster. He should be in the mix for a bullpen spot out of Spring Training and still has one minor league option available which provides some added flexibility.