David Bednar has finally returned to All-Star form

David Bednar began the season with one of the worst stretches in his entire career. Now within his last 15 games, he has returned to being a top closer.
Colorado Rockies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Colorado Rockies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

The Pirates bullpen this season has struggled tremendously this season, which has resulted in many close losses. One of the arms that has not performed up to expectations is David Bednar, the Pirates' two-time All-Star closer. He had a terrible stretch of games, but as of recently, he looks to be returning to his old, dominant form.

April for Bednar was not a good month by any means. He had a 0-2 record with an ERA of 13.50 in eight innings pitched and struck out 12 batters. He got five saves out of seven opportunities in that month. These numbers were not good and the problem was command of the fastball. It didn't lead to many walks, but leaving it over the middle of plate generated a lot of hard contact and barrels. His barrel percentage is in the 7th percentile at 11.7%.

Recently, however, Bednar has returned to being the dominant closer that got him into the All-Star Game two years in a row. In the last 15 games, he has a 2-1 record with an ERA of 1.26 in 14 1/3 innings pitched and has struck out nine batters. He also has a WHIP of 0.84. His command has been much better with all of his pitches. Strikeouts are down, but the bigger picture is preventing runs from scoring.

The Pirates desperately needed David Bednar to return to his old form and he has done just that

Despite his fastball being not as effective this season, it still has been a solid pitch in terms of velocity. It is sitting around 97 and is reaching 99, which as a whole is up .4 MPH this year. With the fastball struggling, Bednar still has two other pitches that have been working. Opposing hitters have an expected batting average of .073 and an expected slugging percentage of .135 against his curveball. His splitter is also very effective with a whiff rate of 38% and an expected batting average of .169.

Although he is not striking out batters like he used to, Bednar is back to being a consistent option in the closer role. He began the season on a cold streak, which could have been a result of not being able to attend spring training while dealing with a back injury, but is finally back to closing games consistently.