It hasn’t always been pretty for Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, but no matter your opinion of the Bucs All-Star, you simply can’t ignore the results.
Many fans have wished the Pirates may have traded Hanrahan for a bat and they may be right that he’s the one trade chip that could fetch a decent hitter, but we’ve crossed that bridge now to the point where Hanrahan is far too valuable to this current Pirates team.
Closers on losing teams are replaceable. Closers on winning teams are not and last time I checked the Pirates were winning.
Like him or not, he gets the job done. You simply can’t argue with the numbers.
In the past year and a half, Hanrahan has converted 63 of his 70 save opportunities. That’s a 90 percent clip, something no other closer that has been in that role for the past two years, other than Detroit’s Jose Valverde (95.5 percent) can boast.
In that span, baseball is batting only .194 against “The Hammer.”
Looking solely at the 2012 season, Hanrahan has converted 23-of-26 save chances, ranking him among the big league leaders once again in saves.
The Hammer is a big part of why the Bucs have the best bullpen ERA (2.48) in all of baseball.
Having Hanrahan down there is a luxury that pays off almost every time.
When the Pirates lead after seven innings, they are 41-0 on the season.
Even in his three blown saves, the Bucs have found a way to bail him out.
It’s a scary thought to think where the Pirates would be without the production of Andrew McCutchen, but the same can be said about Hanrahan as well.
Without him closing the door, the Pirates likely wouldn’t be in first place and probably wouldn’t be in a pennant race.
There are very few automatic things in the game of baseball, but Hanrahnan has been as close as it gets.
It may not be pretty all the time and he may be frustrating to watch, but Hanrahan gets the job done and you can’t argue with the results.