Major League Baseball announced today that San Diego Padres’ closer Brad Hand has been selected National League Reliever of the Month.
Hand, 28, signed a three-year, $19.75 million extension with the San Diego Padres during the offseason and has not disappointed this year. Aside from the occasional rough outing, Brad Hand has been nothing short of spectacular for the Friars.
Over 26 appearances, the left-hander has racked up 13.66 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s allowed 4.45 walks per nine, which is well above his career mark of 3.52, but it’s still early on in the year and there’s plenty of time to rectify that.
He’s got a 1.91 earned-run average, a 2.81 fielding independent pitching rating and his 0.6 wins above replacement rank twelfth in the National League among relief pitchers.
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The Pitching Ninja is even taking notice of Brad Hand
The month of May was very kind to Brad Hand. He’s clearly got an even better handle on his putaway pitch, that deadly slider.
The darling of the pitching world, Rob Friedman aka Pitching Ninja has featured Hand in his uber-popular and mind-blowing gif images of nasty MLB pitchers three times this month.
And every time, guess what pitch he was highlighting? You already know. It’s that unhittable slider of his.
Here’s three in a row that he threw to the Nationals’ Bryce Harper a couple of weeks ago. Just look at the swooping angles those pitches take through the strike zone. Look how fooled Harper is. How are average MLB hitters supposed to touch them?
This one is my absolute favorite of the three (the other one is here). Here is the…nevermind. Let Rob explain it.
Brad Hand’s terrific, award-winning May
Winning the Reliever of the Month award for the entire league is quite an honor, but I’m sure that the anticipation of winning it hasn’t been keeping Hand up at night. Let’s take a look at just how impressive San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand’s month has been.
In thirteen appearances (14.2 innings pitched) Hand owned an earned-run average of 0.61. He only allowed one earned run all month on just six base hits.
He walked seven batters and struck out an astounding twenty-two. His batting average against was .120 and his OPS against was a measly .461.
It’s become crystal-clear that AJ Preller made the right move in locking up Hand at a somewhat team-friendly dollar amount.
Having his stability and consistency in the bullpen to close things out was one of the primary reasons the team finished above .500 for the month (14-12).