Marvel at submariner and newest Marlin Brad Ziegler's slow sinkers and even slower changeups
Since 2011, Brad Ziegler has a 2.41 ERA. Among relievers with at least 300 innings, that number is the seventh-best -- just behind Kenley Jansen and just in front of Mark Melancon. While those were some of the most highly-sought after (and highly paid) relievers of the offseason, Ziegler -- who has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Marlins -- was in the next tier.
Why could that be? Maybe because he throws like a broken weathervane in a windstorm -- his arm swinging down before whipping around in submarine style. And maybe because in a league that sees more and more pitchers hitting triple digits out of the pen, Ziegler's average sinker is just 83.9 mph. Only J.P. Howell's 85-mph offering is even in the realm of Ziegler's velocity.
But you can't argue with results. That's thanks in large part to that sinker, which seems to rise slightly before diving back toward Earth. Try and follow the GIF below and you'll find your eyes not ready for the arm-side run at the end:
If you thought that 84-mph sinker was his best pitch, you'd be mistaken. That credit belongs to his changeup -- yes, a pitch designed to fool batters by coming in even slower than his sinker. Just look at this one. That's like playing an arcade game on the fritz:
Or take a look at this one, thrown in the most dire of bases-loaded situations. Right before Corey Dickerson swings, the changeup looks to be a nice centercut floater. Instead ... nope:
These dipping, diving, gravity bombs are a big reason why Ziegler has allowed just 10 home runs over the last three seasons despite pitching in hitter-friendly Chase Field and Fenway Park.
Of course, when Ziegler needs to, he can even go with the breaking ball. Yes, that is a 40-home run hitter flailing wildly at a pitch that rose roughly 80 feet from Ziegler's release point and broke with a gust of wind at the end.
Velocity? You don't need velocity when you have pitches that break our physical reality.
And you can be sure Ziegler is excited to join the Marlins: