Cloning Chad Bradford
Posted by simon c on 2008 June 25日 Wednesday
One season he’s a recently converted submarine reliever for the Oakland A’s writing regular diary entries to the great A’s blog A’s Nation, giving us insight into how minor leaguers live and play, as well as how (great) baseball organizations are run from the inside.
Next season, he’s called up to the big club, and has not allowed a single run in any of his appearances since being called up at the end of May.
The man is unheralded Brad Ziegler. A’s have just successfully cloned Chad Bradford. Amazing. I’ve picked him up in both of the competitive fantasy leagues I’m in 🙂
And then there’s Brad Ziegler. He’s a side-arm reliever for the A’s, and his fastball tops out at about 86 MPH. It’s basically his only real pitch – he throws it 89% of the time, mixing in a below average slider just to keep hitters occasionally off balance. Just based on velocity, his stuff could charitably described as marginal. If he was a lefty, he’d be described as crafty, which is code for can’t-break-glass-with-his-fastball.
But what he lacks in velocity, he makes up for in movement and deception. His fastball has so much sink, in fact, that in his first 11 1/3 innings of major league pitching, he’s posting a 73.5% GB% and an 8.33 GB/FB rate. He’s faced 40 batters since the A’s brought him up from Triple-A, and a whopping three of them have managed to hit the ball in the air.
Apparently, Billy Beane missed having Chad Bradford in the bullpen, so they decided to create another one. Until 2006, Ziegler was a traditional over the top pitcher, but given his limited chances to make the majors as a “normal” pitcher, the A’s convinced him to become a side-arming reliever. It’s worked wonders, as he hasn’t given up a home run since at any level, and he’s run a GB% of 60% or higher at every stop along the way.