Position Roundtables: #2 Starter
#2 Starter: Bobby Madritsch
Jeff: Work the chip.
This is the advice I used to give to debate students that came from a
tough background or were, for any reason, angry at the world. The
logic being, if you’ve got a chip on your shoulder, you can let it
weigh you down or motivate you. You can either work the chip or let it
Bobby Madritsch works the chip.
You can tell from how he plays: Madritsch pitches like the batter
ogled his girlfriend and the catcher’s mitt said something about his
You can also tell from the stories. Madritsch sees Ichiro gets drilled
and instantly wants to take someone’s whiskers off. As Kirby Arnold reports,
Madritsch saw the innocuous green hats distributed to Mariner players
on St. Pat’s Day. They reminded him of being cut on March 17 last
year, so he spiked one cap into his locker to get it out of his sight.
And who could forget the 1,500 mile drive, in uniform, to get another pitching job?
Crash Davis wishes he had that kind of fire.
Seamheads of all stripes love Mad Bobby, from new school statheads to
fans of Drysdalian headhuntery. Attitude matters.
Performance counts, too. The most colorful hitter fades into obscurity
when he no longer reaches base; even the best stories about a pitcher
won’t save him from written savagery if he doesn’t get outs. Witness
one William Paul Bloomquist, by all accounts a fine fellow whose
anemic bat saves him no grief.
Madritsch gets outs. The M’s best pitcher after the All-Star Break, he
held hitters to a .632 OPS — the type of line you might see from an
aforementioned South Kitsapper. Better, his numbers were not
appreciably different away from Safeco Field, indicating that he’s not
just a big-park pitcher.
Seattle fans have taken to Madritsch, an independent league signee,
very quickly. If he puts in a full season close to last year’s
performance, he’ll be national news.
Everybody loves a good underdog story. Madritsch is a great
underdog story, and one that has yet to spread across the country.
Assuming he makes 30 starts and turns in an ERA in the mid-4.00s or
below, that will change. And I think those are reasonable results to
We know how much Madritsch loves to show people what he can do — and
prove wrong those telling him he can’t.
Jason: As I said last time, I don’t like this rotation at all. I do, however, have
a fondness for Bobby Madritsch. Two years ago, I saw him pitch in San
Antonio on a great trip which included a Rett Johnson one-hitter and the
Missions clinching the first-half title. Madritsch started the middle game
of the three I saw, and while you could tell the tools were there, he
certainly didn’t look like the starter he showed himself to be last season.
He got angry and off his game if a runner reached via walk, a cheap hit or
an error. His mechanics weren’t consistent from pitch to pitch, and when
working from the windup you could tell he was trying to overthrow. Finally,
while I didn’t get this from him directly, it was no secret he was angry
about the organization wanting him to move to the bullpen.
And yet, as Jeff mentioned at the start, it’s this fiesty mentality (“he’s a
bulldog,” you can hear a commentator saying) that has made him a good
pitcher. You want me in the bullpen? I’m going to pitch so well as a starter
you won’t be able to move me. Start me in Tacoma? Fine — you’ll be forced
to call me up mid-season.
I say get out of the way and let him pitch.