Is Cam Bedrosian A Premier Reliever?

Relief pitchers have been at a premium of conversation the past few years, and the Los Angeles Angels may have one of the hidden gems in the game in Cam Bedrosian.

ANAHEIM -- Within a year of being taken as a first-round pick, Tommy John surgery was the inevitable outlook for an 18-year-old. The surgery could soon take the career from him if anything went wrong. One pitch could once again spark irritation or even tear repaired ligaments from the elbow.

Four years later, Cam Bedrosian found himself in a Major League bullpen. The outcome was not pretty. For two years, the 29th pick from 2010 was staring at a 5.81 ERA, allowing over three base runners every two innings. Was this just an arm that went from high risk-high reward, to high risk-low reward?

This season, Bedrosian is in his third year of professional baseball and is now seeing that ERA of nearly six, down to under one at 0.82. In a recent stretch, the young reliever struck out 10 of 16 batters faced.

"Even right now to the beginning of the season, there's a confidence factor and there's a confidence level that keeps growing inside of Cam," said Los Angeles Angels manager, Mike Scioscia.

There were no major adjustments made, no new grip, just pure stuff that scouts saw when he was 18-years-old. Cam Bedrosian is now the premiere relief option for the Angels after two years of frustration, with confidence being the key.

"It's not to say that I wasn't confident," Bedrosian said. "I guess I wasn't making all the adjustments I needed to. Coming into this year, I felt like this off-season I worked real hard and came in ready to go."

"Big thing is just trying to throw it for a strike and trying not to do too much. I'm not trying to miss bats or anything like that. Just trying to get in there, get ahead of guys and it's been working so far."

A standard cliche for any pitcher proves to be a firm truth when it comes to Bedrosian. Get ahead, throw strikes, be confident. Something any minor league coach will teach you.

Bedrosian has seen the standard minor league set up. All six affiliates, with success at each. All, with a different pitching coach and manager. Though Bedrosian feels all his coaches tapped into his mind and gave him a little more towards progressing, two stood out.

"So many guys contribute over the years. Pat Rice and Matt Wise were big. They would always tell me to keep confidence, keep throwing it, and they always believed, I could tell. They believed in me more than I believed in certain situations."

"Wiser was more of crack a joke and make it a little easier. The big thing is just confidence, knowing there's someone - a coach - behind you that believes in your stuff helps a lot."

Confidence. The item that continues to be the key focus in Bedrosian's success. Whether it be on the mound or having that confidence coming from the man watching you in the dugout, Bedrosian has thrived on it, and has it in Anaheim.

"He has as good of stuff as any pitcher in anybody's bullpen in our league," Scioscia said. "At times he's shown it. Hopefully he'll keep it up because there's no doubt that's a power arm that'll play in the back of any bullpen if he can pitch with the confidence he has and he's been terrific."

Some of the best "stuff" in the league. That's a mighty load to put on a young relievers shoulders, but it does prove true. His fastball has an average velocity of 94.8 with late life, and harsh breaking slider that sits 82.4 miles per hour, both a few ticks above previous season's speeds. The "stuff," is pretty good.

"I think so," proclaimed Bedrosian. "That's the way I think out of my mind, so I just go out there and whoever I'm facing or going up against I can be successful against. That's the mindset I'm going with right now."

There's still plenty of season left, and Bedrosian is bound to give up more hits, and walks, and runs. However, if he can keep it to a minimum and pitch at the level he's pitching at currently, you may be talking about Cam Bedrosian with the same ineptitude that scouts did six years ago when they saw him in high school - one of the best relief arms in Major League Baseball.

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