The Angels just inked a 39-year old "has-been" reliever to a minor league deal. So why is this being universally seen as a good signing by Jerry Dipoto? Simple, Jason Isringhausen is not as he appears. The overall numbers suggest that he was merely a mediocre pitcher in 2011 with the Mets (46 IP 44 K 4.05 ERA 1.28 WHIP) but look closer and you’ll see that underneath your most basic evaluations of a pitcher, Jason Isringhausen was a pretty darn good reliever.
This is why you should love the Izzy signing….
1. 46 IP – Yes Isringhausen is old, but coming off a lost 2010 campaign and a horrific 2009 season, Isringhausen’s career should’ve been over. Instead, he came back and pitched well enough to remain in a bullpen for the full season.
2. .178 BA against RHB. .250 OBP. Righties aren’t touching him and from the sound of it, that’s all he was brought in for. Honestly, if all the Angels need Izzy to do is to get a couple of tough righties out in the 6th or 7th, then I think they’re in good shape.
3. 3.14 1st half ERA in 2011. From the looks of things, Izzy was one of the better relievers n baseball to start 2011. He either lost command or simply tired down the stretch. The Angels probably won’t need to use him nearly as much as the Mets did.
4. 11.25 ERA in the month of August. Wait why should we love him for that? Because that’s when Izzy reached his limit. The months before he tired out, 1.64 ERA, 3.38 ERA, 3.48 ERA, 2.45 ERA.
5. .167 BAA in save situations. Isringhausen is no longer a closer, the Angels won’t make him do any of that. But if they ever need him to, he’s familiar with the role and won’t buckle under pressure.
6. .163 BAA with runners in scoring position. When Izzy finds himself in the most pressure-packed of situations, that’s when he’s hardest to hit. Perhaps what’s even more telling, his BABIP with RISP is only .163, so even when hitters are making contact off of him, they aren’t doing much with it.
7. This kind of goes hand in hand with the last stat, but with men on base, Izzy’s BAA is .211. Innings aren’t getting out of hand with Izzy on the mound.
8. With 2-outs and RISP, Isringhausen faced 28 batters. Of those 28, only 2 got hits. For those counting at home, that’s a .087 batting average. Those numbers would make even Jeff Mathis blush. This man has ice water running through his veins.
9. 17 holds. The Mets used him as their primary 8th inning setup man. Basically, the Angels are taking everything he excelled at in 2011 (specifically getting righties out and getting the job done in crunch time) and plan to insert him in only those situations. His numbers should be terrific.
10. His name can be shortened to Izzy. I’m not entirely sure but the Angels may be the first team to ever have two Izzy’s. Also, Having him and LaTroy Hawkins in the same bullpen brings an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience to a young bullpen.