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Burke Badenhop Newsbeat

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Speier: Reliefonomics: Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop offers a different outlook

Badenhop acknowledges bad hops.

Of all the soundtracks that have greeted a reliever on the commute from the bullpen to the mound, it’s safe to suggest that the Freakonomics podcast has never been employed. Though an unabashed fan of the series, new Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop is unlikely to buck that trend. Yet in his own way, the right-hander—who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics from Bowling Green University—might make an intriguing subject for the series…

Badenhop’s consistency is nothing short of startling.

So how did it happen? The answer is as interesting as the phenomenon itself.

“It’s not something you shoot for. You try to progress. I obviously knew walks were one thing I can control, so I knew my walks, and from there the rest kind of fell in place,” suggested Badenhop, a sinkerballer who has consistently produced some of the highest ground ball rates in the game. “Me throwing the ball over the plate, that’s my job.

... “You can control if you throw a strike, you can control if you have movement and if you’re down in the zone, keeping the ball on the ground. Then once it’s hit, it’s not up to me. It’s my job to put it in the zone,” he continued. ” ...

Because Badenhop is a ground ball pitcher who relies considerably on his defense, he’s very mindful of the significance of the defense behind him and its positioning.

The notion was reinforced in 2011, Badenhop’s final year with the Marlins…  “I go back and look through the Rolodex of all my outs for the year, nowadays we have access to some good stuff and I can pull up how many outs the third baseman makes, whether a five-unassisted or 5-3 or 5-4, and I think it was five plays. Our third baseman was positioned where he fielded five ground balls after the fifth month of the year? What’s the point of him being out there? I’d rather him cover some of those dinky balls in the six-hole. He might as well be hitting off the tee getting ready for his next at-bat if he’s fielding one ball a month.

“I know when I brought that up to our infield coach in Miami,” Badenhop conceded, “he wasn’t as receptive as other places I’ve been.”  ...

Badenhop… takes considerable pleasure in… embracing a period when the sport where he earns his living is undergoing challenges to its conventional wisdom.

“You can play old school—which is playing hard and playing the right way—but if you don’t embrace new things, embrace change, those people are left behind,” said Badenhop. “I think the game is really starting to catch up. To be in an organization—Milwaukee last year, Tampa the year before, these guys this year—where they do pay attention to that stuff, it’s pretty awesome.”

The District Attorney Posted: March 04, 2014 at 10:21 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, burke badenhop, marlins, rays, red sox, sabermetrics

 

 

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