Do you remember the tweet Jason Grilli sent when it was announced that he was a Pittsburgh Pirate? God, we hope you do. But anyway, it’s time to raise your glasses and salute the one year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates signing one of the top relievers in baseball. The Bucs set-up man has been a rally killing, door slamming, mound writing dynamo since coming over exactly a year ago today from the Philadelphia Phillies.
We’re not sure if the Phillies are just that stupid or the Pirates are just that smart, but the acquisition of Grilli has solidified a Buccos bullpen that has carried the team to twelve games over five hundred.
Grilli has relied on his fastball more than he ever has in his career and for good reason–the velocity (93.8 MPH)is as good as it’s ever been which explains why he has thrown heat seventy percent of the time in 2012 . Grilli’s velocity is up half a mile an hour since the middle of May.
It’s easy to point toward A.J. Burnett, who makes another start at PNC Park tonight, and the impact Burnett has had on the starters. But little is made of what Grilli has provided for the young Bucs bullpen.
Have you noticed the maturity of Brad Lincoln, Tony Watson, and Jared Hughes this season? It surely can’t hurt for players to be near a veteran with as much ambition as Grilli. The numbers the set-up man is putting up have been stupid this year and it would be hard for anyone not to notice, let alone some young arms finding success early in their career.
Just look at some of the numbers Grilli has beeen putting up. He has allowed five earned runs in his last 31 appearances–29.2 innings pitched. Heading into the game against the Marlins last night, Grilli had put up 14.13 strikeouts per nine innings–good for fifth in the Major Leagues.
Grilli has come a very long way in just 365 days. He’s a big part of the resurgent Bucs. The tweet he sent when he found out he was leaving the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs….?
It was this…. “Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow! Cannot wait to join the new squadron.”
If we could send an anniversary card a year later it would be one of those musical cards set to the tune of Wiz Khalifa’s popular song Grilli used in his tweeet, but we would tweak it a bit, Grilli and Hammer! Grilli and Hammer!
What a difference a year makes. Thanks Jason.