When the bad guys step into the box against Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, they should know what’s coming. Guessing fastball is a really good idea. Hitting it consistently is an entirely different concept.
Hanrahan was picked as the Pittsburgh Pirates closer without an official competition this season. It’s proven to be one of the best decisions the ballclub has made.
Evan Meek was the other candidate and was expected to be the setup man after Hanrahan was picked as closer. A nasty virus, a loss in velocity, and a small tear in Meek’s labrum changed that plan. With Meek on the shelf, the Pirates have been able to get to their closer with a variety of options.
And after the sound of Slipknot fades away, Hanrahan has been a machine….
Hanrahan is a perfect 17 for 17 in save opportunities.
Hanrahan has allowed just five earned runs this year.
Since April 17, Hanrahan has pitched 23.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs.
In his last ten games, he has an ERA of 0.90 over 10 innings pitched with five saves and 13 strikeouts.
When digging a little deeper over at FanGraphs, it’s impressive to learn where the improvement is coming from for Hanranator. In 2010, it was his slider that was a go to out pitch. In 2011, it has been his fastball. Hanrahan has thrown fastballs 82.7% of the time, his slider just 16.1%. Last year he went to the slider 36.7% of the time, the fastball 60.8%.
He is getting more movement out of his fastball and the velocity is on an uptick as well.
It all adds up to an impressive start and just think about this….what happens when the slider comes back?
Sometimes we feel bad for the bad guys. But then that feeling goes away.