Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler is fighting the good fight.
In a Q&A session with ESPN’s Mark Simon, the D-backs pitcher gave his argument for middle-inning relief pitchers to gain more recognition. An easy way to do so: consider relievers for a Gold Glove Award.
Here’s the deal, according to Ziegler: Relief pitchers never find themselves in the running for Cy Young Awards, and All-Star bullpens usually fill up with starting pitchers and closers.
Any way to throw some recognition toward relievers, he’s all for.
Ziegler, expected to be Arizona’s set-up man, eventually became a sturdy closer for the Diamondbacks and finished 2015 with 30 saves and a 1.85 ERA.
As a ground ball pitcher with a unique delivery, his argument for putting relievers in contention for Gold Gloves could help his own cause.
“A lot of those groundballs are going to be back up the middle. If you can make those plays as opposed to the ball going into center field, it can make a big difference over the course of season, for the number of pitches you have to throw and the number of plays you have to rely on the rest of your defense.
“A lot of pitchers who throw overhand, their glove arm is on the back side of their body. It limits their range. The way I throw, I’m squared up and in better fielding position.”
Ziegler promises he’s not tooting his own horn.
He has some thoughtful points on the issue before Simon asks his opinion on topics specific to the D-backs, including Gold Glove cases for teammates Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, and why Arizona found so much success to end the year leading MLB in defensive runs saved.