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Friday, June 12, 2015

Did Burke Badenhop Find His Velocity?

Burke Badenhop was the Reds lone free agent signing this past offseason who received a guaranteed big league deal.  I heralded it as a superb signing: a highly effective, ground-ball machine for the bullpen with a very low salary.

Instead, he's been a disaster.  His velocity was way down at the start of the season (~87 mph on his fastball, vs. ~89-90 mph in 2013-2014), his already-low strikeout rate plummeted, and it seemed his lack of velocity also reduced the effectiveness of his sinker.  While watching last night's game, however, I noticed him regularly hitting 90-91 mph, he managed a pair of strikeouts on fastballs up in the zone, and worked around an error by Brayan Pena on a squibber in front of the plate.

Here are Badenhop's velocity measures, by game, this year and last year:
Over the last 5-7 games, his velocity has taken a big jump from where it had been in April and most of May.  It's back comfortably around 90 mph, though maybe still a slight tick off of where he averaged last season.  His results have been been a little bit better too: 4 K's and 2 BB's in 5 innings over his past five appearances, with 1 run allowed:

It's too early to know if he's really back.  But if Burke Badenhop can return to his 2014 form, it would be a nice shot in the arm for the Reds' bullpen.