Saturday, November 20, 2010

End of Season Review: Brian Wilson

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson throws against the Texas Rangers in the 9th inning of game 4 of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 31, 2010. The Gaints won 4-0 to take a 3-1 series lead. UPI/Ian Halperin Photo via Newscom
Brian Wilson had a hell of a season, we talked about growth as a pitcher with Jonathan Sanchez and the same thing can be said with Wilson. He blossomed from a very good reliever into an elite closer.


In addition to the lights out numbers above, Wilson who on a staff full of studs was the highest point receiver in the Cy Young voting which is pretty impressive.

This season Wilson improved just about every single thing, if you look at the progression of his number the last 3 years you can get the sense of how far Wilson has come.


Something that doesn't show up in this table that is important to mention is that Wilson also became comfortable relying on his secondary pitches. In 2008 and 2009 and even to a certain extent in the first part of this year Wilson only believed in his fastball and used the cutter/slider as a change of speed but it wasn't a true weapon.

This season you saw the growth in the confidence and effectiveness of that pitch. No longer is Wilson just a guy that pumps high 90's gas at you but now you have to be on your toes for a low 90's hard cutter/slider that has rapidly improved. This was the pitch that he turned to in one of the biggest moments of the year and one that Giants fans will remember for a long time. The pitch that froze Ryan Howard and won the NL for the Giants, and this wouldn't have happened last year.

Wilson was the ace of the bullpen without question, and he was a manly mans closer to boot. He wasn't afraid to come into games in the 8th inning or to pitch more then one inning if needed. This is a breath of fresh air and allowed Bruce Bochy to use his best bullpen guy in the most pivotal spots.

One of the things that bugs me is managers sitting on the closers waiting to get the last 3 outs of a game, because sometimes those are not the most important outs of the game and you really want to try to maximize your talent to go with the situation.

This is one of the things that doesn't come up in stats is that flexibility and tactical advantage that Wilson provided.

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