Ryan Madson a steal for Cincy
January, 11, 2012
By Keith Law | ESPN.com
Jake Roth/US PresswireRyan Madson, who has fanned 9.6 per nine innings over the last three seasons, saved 32 games last year.The Cincinnati Reds got perhaps the deal of the offseason so far by signing Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal, a guaranteed contract that allows Madson to try to demolish any concerns about his ability to handle the ninth inning on a full-time basis and re-enter the free-agent market next winter.
Madson switched his approach in 2011 from a three-pitch mix to a two-pitch mix with the occasional cutter, and his out-pitch changeup became even more devastating along the way. That changeup is one of the best in the majors: He hides the ball well, it looks like his 92-95 mph fastball coming out of his hand and it often has late downward action on it. He's a moderate ground ball pitcher who has had very good success keeping the ball, even balls hit in the air, in the park since he moved to the bullpen, a key trait for a pitcher who'll throw half his innings in a homer-friendly stadium.