Kansas City Royals Ryan Madson Key to Bullpen


When it was learned that Greg Holland was lost for the season for the Kansas City Royals, this set up a domino effect on the bullpen. Wade Davis is the new closer, a role that he had sort of taken on part time anyway. Kelvin Herrera will be the primary set up man, moving out of his accustomed seventh inning role to take over the eighth. With that shuffling about, there is a gap in the seventh inning.

Right now, the expectations are that Ryan Madson will take over that role. While he has not been a primary setup man over the course of the season, Madson has been stellar for the Royals. Despite not pitching for four years due to injuries, he has posted a 2.28 ERA and a 0.944 WHiP, striking out 54 batters against 13 walks in 59.1 innings of work. Not bad for a pitcher that the Royals plucked from the scrap heap.

However, now Madson may become the key to the Royals bullpen. Where the Herrera/Davis/Holland trio was a force to be reckoned with at the end of games, Madson is still a bit of an unknown. Yes, he has performed admirably in his time as a middle reliever, but Madson will be counted on to get those crucial outs that Herrera was able to get last postseason. Will Madson be able to handle that pressure?

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If Ryan Madson’s postseason track record is any indication, he should settle into that role quite well. During his 35 postseason innings, Madson posted a 2.31 ERA and a 1.229 WHiP, striking out 43 batters against ten walks. Yes, he is a different pitcher than he was back then, using his cutter far more this year than he did previously while he has decreased the usage of his sinker and change.

In doing so, Madson has become a far more pronounced ground ball pitcher. While he had previously gotten one groundball for every fly ball, this year, he is generating ground balls at a 1.23 to 1 rate. Opponents have produced a meagre .200/.249/.321 batting line against Madson, as he has come all the way back from those injuries to once again be an effective reliever.

Now, with the Royals postseason hopes likely to depend, in large part, upon their bullpen, Madson will be thrust back into the spotlight. Instead of toiling in the relative anonymity that he has had thus far, the spotlight will be firmly upon him as he looks to be that bridge to get to Herrera and Davis. He managed to perform well in that role before, and now, the Royals will be depending upon him to perform at that level once again.

Ryan Madson may be the key to the Kansas City Royals bullpen this postseason. Hopefully, he can continue his magical 2015 season through October.

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