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Jason Grilli continues to dominate

May 19, 2013, 8:55 PM EDT

Jason Grilli AP

Pirates closer Jason Grilli spent most of his 20’s and early 30’s bouncing from organization to organization — he pitched for the White Sox, Tigers, Rockies, and Rangers. Between 2004-09, working almost exclusively as a reliever, he posted a 4.62 ERA. He suffered a knee injury during spring training in 2010 with the Indians, forcing him to miss the entire season. The Phillies picked him up going into 2011 and stashed him in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he thrived with a 1.93 ERA in 32.2 innings. With no spot for him in the Major League bullpen, the Phillies had to let him go and the Pirates quickly snapped him up. From there, the rest is history.

Grilli posted a 2.48 ERA in 32.2 innings pitching mostly in middle relief in the second-half of the 2011 season in Pittsburgh. His performance merited a promotion to set up for closer Joel Hanrahan in 2012, and Grilli once again prospered, posting a 2.91 ERA in 58.2 innings. During the off-season, the Pirates traded Hanrahan to the Red Sox for a handful of prospects, opening up the closer’s role to Grilli.

This afternoon, Grilli nailed down a 1-0 save against the Astros, bumping his MLB-leading total up to 17 on the season and lowering his ERA to 0.92. Grilli, now 36 years old, stands out among a very talented group of relievers across baseball that includes Mariano Rivera, Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, Jonathan Papelbon, and many others. The Pirates, often a punchline when it comes to player development, were able to strike gold in Grilli as a reclamation project.

  1. bjbeliever - May 19, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    “Grilli nailed down a 1-0 save against the Pirates”

    • Bill Baer - May 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      oops, thanks for catching that.

  2. Stiller43 - May 19, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    They look great for trading hanrahan now…now that there was a TON of doubt, since hammer was a goner after this year anyway.

  3. quonce - May 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Struck me out in high school. He played for Baldwinsville, me for Oswego. I was a freshman, he a senior. My first look at 90+.
    Great kid, great family. Very happy for his success.

  4. biasedhomer - May 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Bad move by the Phils.

  5. insidefastball - May 19, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    It’s gotta be the retro vest

  6. Stiller43 - May 20, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Quonce,

    This was your chance to say you homered off him!!! Dont tell us you struck out! Were not gonna check!

  7. humanexcrement - May 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Anyone wanna give betting odds on an upcoming positive test for PEDs?

    • buddaley - May 20, 2013 at 7:10 AM

      And the biddies are at it again:

      Pick a little, talk a little,
      Pick a little, talk a little,
      Cheep, cheep, cheep,
      Talk a little, pick a little more.

    • rje49 - May 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      Your user name fits your comments perfectly

  8. billyboots - May 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I was mocked when I drafted this guy in my fantasy league in the 14th round. Paying off quite handsomely.

  9. quonce - May 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Stiller43,

    I fouled one straight back, that was about it. Wish it had a better story line. I don’t mind it though, it’s still cool to see him doing well.

    The mighty Casey had struck out!!!!!!! Still plays well in children’s books, maybe I can spin it like that?

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