Juan Uribe. If Ryan Madson is anything like us fans (which right off bat, I'll admit, is unlikely) he probably falls to sleep at night having nightmares about Mr. Uribe. I mean, if I gave up a go-ahead home run to a player that effectively ended my team's season it would probably stick with me for awhile. Fucking Juan Uribe.
Honestly, though, Ryan Madson had quite a year. His end of the year statistics, a 2.55 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.87 K/9, do a pretty good job of telling his story for 2010 - he was pretty damn dominating. Once he returned from his broken foot...
(Ok, side bar. I really think an "idiot injury" clause should be automatically written into every contract in professional sports. I know the union's would never allow this, but honestly, if you're an athlete and you almost blow a game and then in anger kick a chair and break your foot - you deserve to lose some cash. Not your career, just some cash. This clause of course will inevitably help the Steelers recoup some dough when Big Ben has his scrotum torn off by some angry college chick he tries to
...he was practically un-hittable. His ERAs in August and September were 0.98 and 1.26 respectively. In October, his only run allowed was the solo shot to F'in Juan Uribe. Hell, from July 31 through October 23, Madson gave up only five earned run. Five. That's beyond impressive. Plus, his year was also Saber-approved, with a 2.61 FIP and .308 BABIP, meaning he wasn't lucky...just good.
What was most exciting about Madson career year, however, is his increase in K/9 rate. After posting a career high rate in 2009 of 9.08, Madson jumped all the way up to 10.80. That is dominating stuff. While it's hard to directly attribute that jump to anything in particular, it's possible that Madson's increased use of the cutter helped. Madson only threw his fastball last year 52.2% of time, the lowest since his rookie season in 2004 (which during, perhaps coincidentally, he had the lowest ERA of his career) . He threw the cutter 18.1% of the time, over a 4% increase from the year before. He also bumped up his changeup usage (which has always been his best pitch) to 28.7% of the time. As he got more comfortable with the cutter (it became a positive value pitch this year, as opposed to last year when it was negative) his use of it gave the hitter another quality pitch to worry about. No longer being able to simply sit on a fastball, or hit a mistake cutter, the National League had no chance. Madson rode his dominating changeup to what probably would have been a 100 K season if he had been health all year.
Unfortunately, this might be Madson's final year as a Phillie. He's under contract for 2011, his final year of the $12M/3-year extension signed in 2009, and then will hit free agency at just 31 years old. With teams always looking for dominate relievers, Madson will be a hot commodity next off-season. I mean, if Brandon Lyon can get $5M a year, you have to think that Madson will get at least $7-8M. Will that be from the Phillies? Probably only if he's the closer (which is a post for another day).
So, anyway, don't worry about that right now. Madson will be an incredibly important part of the Phillies bullpen next year, especially with Brad Lidge's health always in question. Let's just hope he stays away from chairs this off-season.
Next up, Carlos Ruiz.