Angels’ top right-handed pitcher Sam Bachman makes his debut

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ANAHEIM — It was 1 a.m. in Alabama when top pitching prospect Sam Bachman got the call that he was heading to the Majors for the first time to join the Angels’ bullpen after making six starts with Double -In Rocket City. But that didn’t stop him from calling his friends and family to wake them up with the news.

Bachman, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft and the club’s No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, found out about his promotion hours after Wednesday’s game and had his contract officially selected ahead of Friday’s game against the Marlins. He was exclusively up for the minors, but will give the angels an indispensable arm of strength in relief.

“Oh yeah, I called each of them and they all answered,” Bachman said with a smile. “At first they were worried, but then they were thrilled to hear that I got the call. Not many people slept that night, including me. But it was awesome and it still feels surreal .

Bachman made his debut in the Angels’ 6-2 loss to the Marlins at Angel Stadium, striking out four batters while allowing one run on four hits and two walks. The Fishers, Ind., native had 11 family members and his girlfriend in attendance for his debut.

“I was just super excited,” Bachman said. “It was a dream come true and I just tried not to fall over there on the way to the mound. But it was a great experience.”

Bachman, 23, came to the Majors after posting a 4.48 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 49 walks in 84 1/3 innings for the Minors the past three seasons. He was used as a starter in the Minors, including this season, in which he posted a 5.81 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 20 walks in 26 1/3 innings.

Bachman’s running total is a concern, partly explained by his difficulty adapting to the experimental pre-glued balls used at Double-A this year. The Angels, however, asked him and other pitchers at the club to hold their bullpen sessions and parallel sessions with Major League Baseballs to prepare in case they were called. .

Bachman’s fastball was averaging 96.3 mph in his debut, as he mixed his slider and cutter. Manager Phil Nevin liked what he saw from Bachman but noted he needed better command going forward.

“He was good, but he’s going to have to throw the fastball for the strikes,” Nevin said. “I like things. I know there was a lot of adrenaline, a lot of nervousness, a lot of family here tonight. So the first day in the major leagues, I kind of put side results.

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The decision to call Bachman was another aggressive move for the Angels, as they also have rookie Zach Neto at shortstop and Chase Silseth in the bullpen. Neto, 22, was the club’s first choice last year and Silseth, 23, was an 11th rounder in 2022.

“I just think we’re going to be aggressive in getting our best team, our best product on the court to compete and win,” Nevin said. “And we’ve set ourselves up after about 50 games where everything we want is in front of us to accomplish. We’re always looking for ways to create the best roster we can.

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Nevin added that Silseth and Bachman could return to the start in the future and that it was more of a need in the bullpen. The Angels have been looking for ways to close the gap with setup man Matt Moore and his closest Carlos Estévez, and they think Silseth and Bachman can help with that.

“There were a lot of guys who got into the big leagues and learned how to pitch here and then became starters,” Nevin said. “It’s not ruled out. We’re just doing what’s best for us to win games at the moment. And that’s how we feel.

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Bachman said the biggest change will be his routine, as he has never pitched a relief outside of a few spring training appearances this season. But he said he learned from that experience and was going to lean on the veterans and Silseth for guidance.

“I’ve already spoken to a lot of people here about the routine and changing it,” Bachman said. “I think there will definitely be a smooth process. And talking to Chase as well, he sort of stepped into that role and he really helped me. I’ll follow him, see what he does. I think that will really help.

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