Jazayerli: Brad Ziegler and an appreciation of submarine pitchers

From Rany Jazayerli at Grantland.com on May 20, 2014, with mention of SABR members Bill James and Rob Neyer:

[Brad] Ziegler made his major league debut on May 31, 2008. On August 14, he finally gave up a run. In between, he threw 39 scoreless innings, allowing 21 hits — all singles — and 11 walks.

That consecutive scoreless-innings streak is one of the longest in major league history, and it came at the very start of Ziegler’s career. In fact, he shattered by more than 50 percent the previous record for most scoreless innings to start a career (25), which George McQuillan set with the 1907 Phillies.

The streak made Ziegler a sensation for a time, but it never made him a phenom. Many considered the run as much of an anomaly as Ziegler himself, given that he was never supposed to reach the majors in the first place. The A’s originally drafted him in the 31st round out of Southwest Missouri State in 2002, but he chose to return to college for his senior year. The Phillies then drafted him in the 20th round the following year, but released him in the spring of 2004, after he’d thrown a total of six innings as a pro.


And yet he remains largely anonymous, ignored for putting up zeros in the run column because he so frequently puts up zeros in the strikeout column as well, and because his velocity makes onlookers think the radar gun is on the fritz. He also remains essentially without peer in the major leagues; despite Ziegler’s success, no team has come up with its own version of him.

Read the full article here: http://grantland.com/features/brad-ziegler-appreciating-submarine-pitchers/?fb_action_ids=10152082581611828

Originally published: May 20, 2014. Last Updated: May 20, 2014.