The steadiest and most dependable member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitching staff over the last four years has been Brad Ziegler. 2015 was no exception as the 35-year old Ziegler, coming off microfracture surgery, turned in his finest effort yet. He is a big reason why the D-backs exceeded expectations and nearly finished .500. Luckily for fans, his option for 2016 will be picked up so expect him to play an important part in the team’s drive for a playoff spot. Here was the lowdown on Ziegler this season, with the final number on a scale of 1-10.
For the second time in three seasons, Ziegler was asked to rescue the closer’s spot. In 2013 he replaced an ineffective J.J. Putz; this year it was Addison Reed that fell on the sword. All the side-armer did was rack up 30 saves in 32 opportunities, three fewer saves than he had compiled over the course of his nine-year career. He also posted a 1.85 ERA, the lowest since his rookie year of 2008. Ziegler appeared in a team-high 66 games and threw 68 innings, second-most out of the bullpen behind Andrew Chafin. He allowed only 48 hits and 17 walks, while opponents hit .198 off him.
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Two of his worst outings came back-to-back and at an inopportune time. On August 30th, he was torched for six hits and three runs in an inning and two thirds as the D-backs dropped the final game of a series against the Oakland A’s. The following night in Colorado, he blew a save and took the loss as Arizona lost for the seventh time in eight games. Outside of those two ill-timed performances, what other bad things could you say about Ziggy’s season?
Once again, Ziegler has proven to be the D-backs’ pitching MVP. It doesn’t matter what role the club gives him, he does the job and does it exceedingly well. Ideally, his most valuable asset is his ability to come in with runners on base and not allow anyone to score. Closers usually aren’t asked to do that. Depending on what management does in the offseason, I could easily see Ziggy back in the closer’s role because frankly, he is the most reliable man for the job. Plus the emergence of Chafin and Daniel Hudson allowed for a suitable bridge on most nights. 2015 was almost perfect for Brad Ziegler with a 9.5.