Bradford: Quisenberry 2.0

The Rays bolstered their bullpen today by acquiring Chad Bradford from Baltimore for a player to be named later. If it seems like Bradford has been around forever, that’s because it’s true. He’s been doing this sidearm shtick in the majors for 10 years now, compiling a 3.31 ERA in 446 career innings. Not bad for a guy whose fastball topped out at 85 in his prime and averages 80.0 MPH now.

Bradford is a lot of fun, simply because he’s so unique. His sidearm motion allows him to keep everything low in the zone, and because of the movement, it’s almost impossible to hit the ball in the air against him. He’s faced 145 batters this year and only 20 of them have managed to hit fly balls. Obviously, if you can’t get the ball in the air, you can’t hit home runs, so Bradford is among the league’s best at limiting the long ball.

He also pounds the strike zone (1.56 BB/9 in ’08, 2.35 BB/9 career), and his combination of no walks and no home runs makes him an effective pitcher despite a hilarious 2.90 K/9 rate. There was a discussion in the Jesse Litsch thread the other day about minimum required K/9 rates for success, and while there were disagreements over what the threshold is, no one was putting it at three strikeouts per game.

Bradford is succeeding in a way that baseball hasn’t seen since Dan Quisenberry in 1981. Oddities like Bradford and The Quiz are part of what makes baseball so much fun, and I’m glad to see the 21st century side-armer get a shot to make an imapct in another playoff race.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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14 years ago

Bradford is only a stepping stone to the juggernaut known as Brad Ziegler.