Brad Ziegler: From ‘Mr. Reliable’, to ‘Mr. Oh No!’ for Miami Marlins

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May 1, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Brad Ziegler (29) throws during the the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Brad Ziegler (29) throws during the the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Marlins expected consistency and ground-balls when they inked the submariner to a two year contract.

Brad Ziegler started off the season as a high impact relief pitcher for the Miami Marlins. All was well through his first 13 appearances as he maintained a .71 ERA with a ground ball rate of 3.25.

He was exactly who the Marlins thought they were getting… until his 14th appearance. In his 14th appearance, Ziegler gave up a rare earned run.

Then in his next appearance he gave up five earned runs, costing the Fish a win in New York. In three of his next six appearances, he would give up multiple earned runs in each appearance.

His ERA went from .71 all the way to 7.13. His ground ball rate is also down to 1.45. It’s been a tale of two parts of the season so far for Ziegler.

What’s changed?

Usually with most pitchers the big change in their numbers comes from location. Location is especially imperative for Ziegler as he’s not blowing 80 mph by anyone anytime soon.

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Every pitch he throws has to be at the knees. The whole objective of the submariner is for the hitter to hit the top of the baseball, grounding out.

Ziegler did that to perfection in his first 13 starts. This is supported by the ground ball rate of 3.25 per inning. Basically every ball put in play was on the ground.

Lately the ball has been up in the zone resulting in a lower ground ball rate. When Ziegler is up in the zone more balls are being squared up and hit harder.

What to do with him?

With what’s happening with the Fish in the standings, a sale is on the approach. A couple years ago the Marlins traded Steve Cishek for Kyle Barraclough.

It’s safe to say the Marlins won that trade. They could try and pull the same type move with Ziegler by moving him to a team in need of a veteran pen piece and getting someone young in return.

The Marlins won’t get anyone huge in return, but could get another Barraclough if they’re lucky. Another option is for the Marlins to just keep him and ride it out.

Next: Miami Marlins: The ugly truth about Ichiro

Ziegler could figuratively pitch till he’s 60 because everything is solely of location. Ziegler is nasty when on, but lately has been more off for the Marlins season.

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