One of the secondary pieces to the puzzle for the St. Louis Cardinals in obtaining Jason Heyward was also the acquisition of Jordan Walden. There was much talk about the Cardinals needing a reliever. Our of all the potential targets we’ve heard already, I think this was an excellent get for our team. Here’s why.
1. He didn’t have an agent telling people he wanted to be a closer. Yes. I really think Andrew Miller‘s agent’s demand that his client was going to be the closer has sullied his market. John Mozeliak said he wanted a guy that could replace Pat Neshek … the eighth inning guy … out of the bullpen. You’re not going to get that from a guy that wants to be the closer. Mo straight predicts Walden will be the eighth inning guy.
2. This season is his second arbitration eligible season and he will not be a free agent until 2017. So, if Walden is as good as we’re hoping, our team will have a solid eighth inning guy at a reasonably low cost for the next couple of seasons.
3. Check out this hop, y’all!
This video highlights his amazing 2011 season. Also, looks like he can field his position well too! … That’s important.
4. Check out his numbers from his All-Star season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2011 and his numbers last season with the Atlanta Braves.
Report from Baseball-Reference.com.
5. Walden isn’t a one trick pony. He has several pitches he can use. According to Brooks Baseball, Walden has a four-seam fastball ranging from 96 to 99 mph. His off-speed pitch to right-handed hitters is a slider in the mid 80s. He throws the slider to lefties, but in 2011 he developed a changeup at 86–89 mph that he uses more often.
Here are a couple of charts to help you make more sense of that…
Looks like he’ll do better against lefties for sure. But he won’t be too dreadful against righties.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this guy can do for the Cardinals! Should be nice to have a reliever with a quirk that won’t make me too nervous!