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Lesser Brewers: Burke Badenhop

In a bullpen with a lot of turnover, one of the most successful veterans was consistently overlooked.

Mike McGinnis

By now some of you are likely getting sick of hearing me talk about Burke Badenhop. The veteran reliever was part of the revamped bullpen we spent much of the spring hearing about, but in reality his role was pretty limited.

On paper Badenhop had a very good season: He made 63 appearances and posted a 3.47 ERA over 62.1 innings, striking out 6.1 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.7. He's posted an ERA below the league average in four of his last five seasons.

The reality, is though, that Badenhop spent most of the season in a mop-up role that rendered his contributions nearly irrelevant. Baseball Reference's splits show he recorded low-leverage outs in 49 of his 63 appearances. I wrote about that back in September. Francisco Rodriguez (9.2) pitched more high leverage innings in two months than Badenhop (6.2) did all season.

The biggest challenge with using Badenhop in more important situations is his history of struggling against left handed hitters. He faced 91 lefties in 2013 and allowed them to hit .338/.393/.525. His career splits are closer to even, but he still tends to struggle in this situation overall.

Despite the fact that he made over 60 appearances with a below-average ERA, Baseball Reference lists Badenhop as having been .3 wins below replacement level in 2013. FanGraphs disagrees and has him .3 wins above.

Best Game

The Brewers were in trouble in the eighth inning against the Phillies on June 7. The game was tied at 4 and Michael Gonzalez had recorded one out in the top half of the inning before hitting Ryan Howard with a pitch and walking Domonic Brown. With the go-ahead run in scoring position and Delmon Young due up, Ron Roenicke called on Badenhop and allowed him to get out of the jam with one pitch. A 6-4-3 double play kept the Brewers in the game and paved the way for an eventual walkoff win.

I don't have a highlight from that game, but here's Badenhop inducing a double play against the Nationals on August 2:

And here's another one from a game against the Rockies on April 2:

Contract Status

Badenhop was eligible for arbitration as a Super 2 in 2011, meaning he'll have four arbitration seasons. He made $1.55 million in the third of those four seasons in 2013, and Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projects he'll cost $2.1 million if the Brewers elect to offer him a contract for 2014. He would then become a free agent following the season.

Previous MVBrewers posts can be seen at the links below:

#1: Carlos Gomez
#2: Jonathan Lucroy
#3: Jean Segura
#4: Kyle Lohse
#5: Norichika Aoki
#6: Jim Henderson
#7: Brandon Kintzler
#8: Yovani Gallardo
#9: Wily Peralta
#10: Scooter Gennett

Honorable mentions: Marco Estrada, Ryan Braun, Khris Davis, Tyler Thornburg,Aramis Ramirez, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Bianchi, Caleb Gindl, Logan Schafer, Rob Wooten