The Angels have changed closers just five games into the regular season and the hard throwing Jordan Walden is now Mike Scioscia’s ninth inning guy.
Analysis: Former Angels closer, Fernando Rodney, pitched in just two games this year but Scioscia had hinted Rodney’s delivery just isn’t consistent. Rodney has allowed two earned runs in 1.1 innings pitched this year but the big number is allowing four walks to four outs. This may be a Brad Lidge delivery/confidence issue and it may be resolved by seasons end but his job may not be there for him when he turns it around. Jordan Walden is the real deal, a typical two pitch closer. His fastball tops out a 100 MPH but it settles in the high 90s while his slider ranges in the mid 80s. Walden isn’t a lights out Billy Wagner kind of closer where he’ll average 10 K’s per 9 IP but he should stikeout out about eight batters per nine innings pitched. One of the best things Walden does is limiting the big inning, he rarely gave up homers in the minors.
Projection: For now it appears Walden is somewhat secure in the closer’s role with the Angels and he should rank among the top 25 closers in the game going forward. If you have Fernando Rodney or a lesser tier closer then Jordan Walden is a must pick up and will put up better numbers than Rodney should have this year.