LA Angels outfielder Nick Buss and reliever AJ Achter were both optioned to Triple-A last week after up and down seasons. However, both Buss and Achter chose to become free agents instead. Will they be missed on the field in 2017?
The LA Angels tried numerous players in both left field and the bullpen last season trying to find the right combination of players who could make a difference for the team. Nick Buss and AJ Achter were two players who filled those roles during the 2016 season.
So let’s look at what Buss did during his time with the Angels. Buss started the year in Triple-A Salt Lake City after having a great Spring where he batted .346. Unfortunately Buss couldn’t come close to those numbers in his 36 games that he played for the Angels in 2016.
Buss played stellar defense and showed great range and speed. However offensively after a good first week, Buss cooled off severely. In 81 at-bats he got 16 hits with one homer and seven doubles. Buss finished his stint with the Angels hitting .198 with seven doubles and one triple. The Angels gave Buss a hard look as an outfielder, but in the end his poor hitting doomed the 29-year old USC graduate.
Nick Buss runs the bases on his triple against the Indians. Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Buss will be missed for his infectious attitude and hustle. He may have improved with more playing time, but not soon enough.
AJ Achter went up and down from Salt Lake City multiple times in 2016. At times he was the Angels seventh inning man and he occasionally pitched in the eighth inning set up role. Achter’s number did not look bad on the surface as he finished with a 3.10 ERA and a 1-0 record.
However, if you looked deeper there were some reasons the Angels designated Achter for assignment at the end of the season. The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact Achter only had 14 strikeouts in 37 innings. He also gave up 43 hits in only 37 innings & had a WHIP of 1.460.
Achter did finish up strong allowing only four runs in 18 appearances which spanned 19 innings. During that stretch Achter lowered his ERA from 3.98 to 3.11 and his ERA during that stretch was 1.90. However it was enough for the Angels to keep him on the 40-man roster.
Achter was a fairly reliable person in the bullpen and di pitch well down the stretch in late-August and September when the Angels needed a lo of help in the pen. Achter could have been a piece in the bullpen in 2017, but overall was not a vital part of the pen.