For the second year running, the Padres look to have one of the best bullpens in baseball. After posting a 2.75 ERA and 2.95 FIP as part of an unlikely 90-win season in 2010, the Padres are doing it again in 2011, with a 2.33 ERA and 2.85 FIP out of the gates. Although Heath Bell is the headliner of the group, his opening act, Mike Adams, deserves just as much credit. His ascension from total baseball obscurity was detailed excellently by SBNation’s Grant Brisbee today. The man just keeps getting better, too: since 2010, Adams has a 1.60 ERA and 2.31 FIP, both in the top 10 among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched in that span.
Adams has started his 2011 out on the same note as his fantastic 2010 season, putting together one of the best 38-batter stretches a pitcher could imagine. Only one run has scored off Adams this year off a solo homer, one of his two hits allowed. Those two batters are the only ones to reach base off Adams at all this year, as Adams is yet to yield a walk — intentional or otherwise — nor has he hit a batter with a pitch. Throw in eleven strikeouts and you have a pitcher who is about as close to unhittable as it gets.
Watching Adams’s fastball/cutter combination, it’s very easy to understand how Adams has managed to so utterly dominate MLB hitters despite his struggles prior to his arrival in San Diego. The numbers do a pretty good job of representing that as well — since 2009, the fastball has been worth 15.4 runs above average and the cutter worth a tremendous 28.2 runs. Unsurprisingly, given these results, the cutter has seen more and more usage from Adams, now comprising 55.8% of his total pitches.
However, words really don’t do justice for the repertoire of Mike Adams. I can cite numbers until I’m blue in the face, but to really appreciate him you have to watch. Here are a few links to some good video of Adams devastating MLB hitters.
Enjoy. After watching, Adams’s seemingly insane numbers will make much more sense.
Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.