After successfully being the “bridge to Lidge,” Ryan Madson was given a three-year, $12 million contract in January, 2009. Madson looked to continue his success as the team’s set-up man, but he was also handed the closing job.
Madson was extremely comfortable in the eighth inning. The right hander had 26 holds, which ranked fifth in the National League. However, when filling in for an injured closer, Madson blew six saves.
Madson has a hard fastball, which tops the high-90’s on adrenaline. His changeup is filthy, and helped him strike out 9.1 batters per nine, a career high. Madson struck out 78 batters, but he also kept the ball in the yard. He only allowed 7 home runs in 77+ innings.
Madson was streaky, however. He’d have his stretches where he would be lights out, but he would also have stretches where he would get lit up. For example, he had a 5.11 ERA in July, but a 2.63 ERA in August.
Charlie Manuel could throw Madson out against a left-handed batter or a right-handed batter and he would get the job done. He had more success against righties, but having somebody who can get batters out from both sides of the plate is extremely valuable for a bullpen.
2009 statistics: 5-5, 77.1 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .251 AVG
Grade: 7.4/10 — Madson is one of the best set-up men in the league. He was streaky at times, but overall he had a great year. He couldn’t get the job done as closer, but having a reliable set-up man is about as important as having a reliable closer.