Signed to beef up the Angels' beleaguered bullpen, Ryan Madson first must prove that he can get himself healthy enough after Tommy John surgery to play any kind of significant relief role for the Halos.
2012 Stats: DID NOT PLAY
2013 ZiPS Projections: 42.0 IP, 3-2, 3.21 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 38 H, 11 BB, 3 HR, 40 SO, 0.6 fWAR
2013 Bill James Projections: 66.0 IP, 4-3, 43 SV, 3.41 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 62 H, 17 BB, 5 HR, 62 SO
2013 CAIRO Projections: 42.1 IP, 3-2, 0 SV, 2.98 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 39 H, 12 BB, 3 HR, 41 SO
2013 MWAH Projections*: 55.0 IP, 3-4, 31 SV, 4.09 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 57 H, 21 BB, 6 HR, 52 SO
*The MWAH projections are simply my best guess based off my own personal opinion and research (my wOBA and FIP calculations are approximate)
2012 in Objective Review:
Depending on who you believe, Ryan Madson had a big, fat long-term contract worked out to stay in Philadelphia. That's the story according to lying, greed demon Scott Boras though, incompetent boob GM Ruben Amaro Jr. claims no such deal was ever agreed to and then proceeded to hand an even bigger contract to Jonathan Papelbon to take Madson's job. Either way, Madson got screwed and had to take a pillow contract in the Reds in hopes of hitting the market again after the season to get the long-term contract that got pulled out from under his feet.
And then he blow out his elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery before he ever threw a regular season pitch for Cincinnati, which he would never do thanks to the injury. Turns out that pillow wasn't such a comfortable one for Madson.
2012 in Revisionist History:
What's to revise? He got hurt. Maybe the Phillies knew he was headed for a breakdown and that is why they backed out of his deal, but I think that is assuming Amaro is a lot smarter than he has proven to be in other dealings.
Three Lingering Questions for 2013:
1) When is Madson going to be healthy enough to pitch?
He keeps having setbacks, so it now looks like April is pretty much lost. His latest bump in the road is minor, so hopefully he is done, but if he gets waylaid again, one has to wonder if May is on the cusp of being washed away as well.
2) How long will he need to shake off the rust once he actually does get back into games?
That's probably the more important question. The case study everyone is using for Madson is Joe Nathan, who took about half a season to round into form, which is why Madson losing a month is such a kick in the nuts. If he really isn't going to be much good until after the All-Star break, that is going to make it hard for the Angels to realize much value from him.
3) When will Scioscia slot Madson into the closer role?
Before camp, Scioscia strongly intimated that Madson will be the closer from the get-go so long as he isn't a mess on the mound. But now that Frieri is going to work at the closer job for a few weeks, that might give Scioscia some pause and have him wait until Madson is back in prime form before swapping him into the role. It is even possible that Madson may never regain the role or at least fall into a committee situation of sorts with Frieri since one would imagine that Madson won't be pitching back-to-back games a lot at first.
Three Irrelevant Questions for 2013:
1) Is Dipoto capable of signing a quality reliever?
Frieri doesn't count because he was a trade. But right now Dipoto's credentials include LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen as well as Sean Burnett who should be good but has been battling injury and otherwise been awful this spring. Then there is Madson who is going to pitch… eventually. For a guy who was a reliever and supposedly knows relievers well, his track record isn't good so far, though it is early.
2) Do we really have to call him "Mad Dog?"
I just don't think it fits. Granted, he is more of a "Mad Dog" than Greg Maddux, but he isn't nearly the "Mad Dog" that Bill Madlock was. We need to rethink this nickname for him because I am not on board.
3) Does he remind anyone else of Scot Shields?
A tall, lanky reliever. They don't have the same kind of pitching profile, but anyone who reminds me of Shields in his prime is OK in my book.
2013 in Subjective Projection:
The projection systems all seem high on Madson, but that make me wonder if they account for his injury. They definitely don't take into account his slow recovery, which I did try to do. I scaled back his innings a bit when I made the projection, but that was before his setbacks (as he has always been a little behind schedule). I'd probably lop ten innings off his workload now and probably inflate his ERA a touch as well.
I just don't have a lot of confidence that Madson is going to come back and hit the ground running this season now that he has had so many hiccups in his rehab. My big concern is that part of Madson's success isn't just that he throws fairly hard, it is that he throws kind of hard and hits his spots. Command is always the last thing to come back after TJ surgery and at this rate, it could be August before Madson is able to locate like he is used to.
Given that, I would definitely rethink my saves total for him. I'd go so far as to cut it in half, but I'd probably be happier if it was much lower. He is just too much of a question mark right now that I would kind of hope that the Halos have begun planning to never have him work as closer at any point. My fear though is that they will try and force him back into that role sooner rather than later.