Geltz Fits Angels' Reliever Mold
LOS ANGELES—No doubt, Steven Geltz had heard tales of the luxurious lives of big leaguers. But he was still a little startled when he saw it firsthand.
"They had a driver with a card waiting for me and a name tag," Geltz said of arriving in Los Angeles after flying first class from Nashville. "It was an incredible experience. It was awesome."
Geltz, 24, got the call from Triple-A Salt Lake in August, with the Angels' bullpen thinned by injuries to Scott Downs and Jordan Walden. He didn't stay long, making just two appearances (an inning against the Rays each time) before Downs and Walden returned from the DL.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Geltz's rise from Double-A to the majors in 2012 is a clear sign of the priorities of first-year Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.
"I think they like my aggressiveness, the way I attack hitters and throw strikes," Geltz said. "That's the biggest thing, throwing strikes. Strike one is the most important pitch in baseball, so that's what I try to do."
Dipoto has made it clear he prefers pitchers who can control counts and have positive strikeout-to-walk ratios. Geltz has demonstrated that strength since he signed with the Angels as a nondrafted free agent out of Buffalo in June 2008. In his first four minor league seasons, Geltz had 271 strikeouts and just 83 walks in 194 innings.
This year, he opened the season with Double-A Arkansas and went 3-0, 0.36 with six saves in 21 appearances while striking out 37 and walking six in 25 innings. After a promotion to Salt Lake, Geltz was 0-1, 3.76 with three saves, 23 strikeouts and nine walks in 26 innings before getting called up by the Angels.
• Righthander A.J. Schugel, 23, combined with reliever Eddie McKiernan on a one-hit shutout for Arkansas on Aug. 15, pitching the first six innings. Schugel, owner of a 6-7, 2.71 record, was approaching his innings limit for the season, having worked 136 in 26 starts after he threw 110 innings last year.
• The Angels' lack of pitching depth has been most evident at Salt Lake, where 27 different pitchers pitched at least one inning in the team's first 126 games. Included in that group are 12 who also spent time with the Angels this season, five that have subsequently been released and one position player.