Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heath Bell: The successor to Trevor Hoffman?

When teammates like Josh Bard say “Heath Bell was the best relief pitcher in baseball last year," NL Cy Young Award Winner Jake Peavy says “He was our MVP,” and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman says “The MVP of our bullpen, by far,” you must be doing a lot of things right.

Set up man Heath Bell was doing a lot of things right last season for the San Diego Padres. His list of achievements is staggering.

Among major league relievers:

  • Led in strikeouts (102)

  • Ranked fourth in wins (6)

  • Fifth in games (81)

  • Fifth in ERA (2.02)

  • Allowed .185 batting average overall

  • Allowed .157 batting average to right-handed hitters

  • Stranded 27 of 34 inherited runners

  • Had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 102/30

That's an impressive list, seeing as Bell was a first year Padre, not to mention having to pitch in almost half of the teams' games, but Bell is also getting a lot of talk with Padre fans about being the closer after the 2008 season. That's a lot of pressure to put on one guy's shoulders, especially when that guy sets up for one of the games best closers and a future Hall of Famer. I think he's got enough pressure on him already.

I know, when I first heard the name 'Heath Bell' when the Padres brought him on board last year, my first reaction was "who?" Now, he's a household name, not only in San Diego, but around all of major league baseball and should be for years to come.

1 comment:

LynchMob said...

For me, Heath Bell is someone that the folks at Baseball Prospectus should put on their cover ... they were touting him for a long time ... here's a reference from 2003 ...

... their raves caught my eye enough to draft him in a keeper rotisserie league at the start of the 2006 season. He could be seen coming ... and I'm glad someone in the Padre FO did just that, taking advantage of the Mets largess / blindness.