Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 12/19/12

Last week, a sports journalist corrected me on the professional wrestler’s name they thought I was messing up. I’m not saying this to throw anyone under a bus. This person is great at their job. Besides, you probably had no idea who Brad Ziegler was either. I bet you also didn’t know Ziegler set two Major League records in 2012. Really. Two records. You just won’t see them on the back of any baseball cards. Ziegler, pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, set the Major League record for highest ground ball rate in Major League history (75.5%) and the lowest fly ball rate in history (7.7%). The side-armed reliever, who’s pitching style is delightfully reminiscent to Chad Bradford’s (I wrote about Bradford and rapid cognition two years ago) is one of the best and most reliable pitchers in baseball. If you read my piece on R.A. Dickey, you know I’m a fan of the pitching metric ERA-, which strips away many of the intangibles that affect a pitcher’s ERA by accounting for variables such as defense and Park Factor. For his entire career, Ziegler hasn’t just been above league average, he has been dominant, with a career ERA- of 59 (meaning he’s preventing runs at a rate 41% better than league average since debuting in 2008). To see why he’s effective, all you need is simple logic: if a hitter hits the ball on the ground three out of every four at-bats, how is he going to hit any home runs, or even singles for that matter? Ziegler induces ground balls like no other. As a reliever, this makes him invaluable. Ziegler induced 21 double plays last season (tied for 18th in the league). While everyone else on the list needed over 140 innings (besides Derek Lowe, they all needed at least 160), Ziegler did it in just 68 2/3 innings. When you bring in Ziegler to “stop the bleeding”, he is the equivalent of surgical sutures, whereas most pitchers are a torn shirt sleeve tourniquet. He will stop an opponent’s momentum dead in its tracks. Still, Ziegler gets no acknowledgement. It really is a shame that because Ziegler doesn’t throw 95 mph (he’s lucky to crack 85 mph) or won’t win anybody a fantasy baseball championship, one of the best pitchers in the game goes almost completely unnoticed. In fact, much like Bradford, he almost didn’t get the chance. Ziegler was drafted twice by the Philadelphia Phillies (the 31st round in 2002, and the 20th round in 2003), but they lost their faith and released him a week before the start of the 2004 season. Why? They felt he was not good enough to pitch in Low-A. Oakland saw something in Ziegler though (big surprise!), and three years later he debuted for the A’s. How did Ziegler reward their faith? He utterly annihilated the 101 year-old major league record for consecutive scoreless innings to start a major league career. The previous record, 25 innings, had been set by Philadelphia Phillie George McQuillan. Ziegler went on to pitch 39 scoreless before the Tampa Bay Rays finally plated a run. In a game with endless scenarios, Ziegler provides tangible consistency, and he does it in style. Now he just needs to get the recognition he deserves. The post Brad Ziegler: The Best Pitcher You’ve Never Heard Of appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

RG3 passes exit physical, clears way for release

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker