A-Rod, Now Have You Heard of Dallas Braden?

By now, you’ve probably all heard the best Mother’s Day story in recent memory.  Dallas Braden first pitched the 19th perfect game in the modern era.  We’re talking about since Cy Young was a guy and not an award.  We’re talking about over a century.  19.  Dallas Braden has done something only 18 other guys EVER have done.  Ridiculous.

Dallas Braden shares an emotional moment with his grandmother after the greatest game of his career. He was perfect, after all.

But the chills for many viewers didn’t come when he recorded the final out, but several minutes after.  Braden hugged his grandmother on the field.  It would be touching to see any player hug his grandmother on the baseball field, but Branden’s hug had a story behind it, a story that makes the chills run a little bit deeper.  Braden’s mother died of skin cancer when the pitcher was a senior in high school.  Braden’s grandmother was the predominant female influence in his life after this.

Dallas Braden is also a card-carrying member of the Providence Grays.  (Side note: The second perfect game ever was pitched by John Montgomery Ward, of the Providence Grays who remains the youngest player ever to pitch a perfect game at age 20) I began to realize I was in love with Braden after his spat with Alex Rodriguez over the unwritten (and mostly unknown) rule that players should not walk across the pitcher’s mound.  A-Rod could have ignored the cocky comment by a young player, but instead said he didn’t know who Braden was.  A-Rod’s never been the portrait of class and dignity though.

Fantasy baseball is not a game of emotion.  We must put aside our sadness for Braden’s background and the touching feeling in our hearts about the story and the love of a player who can stand up to the ultimate villain of baseball (I swear, it’s A-Rod, not me).  Instead, we must evaluate the cold hard numbers.  It feels awful, but it must be done to win.  So, should you sell high on Braden or keep him until further notice?

HOLD HIM!  This guy has an opportunity to be great, not good, but great.  The list of guys who have thrown perfect games is a prestigious one, including guys like Randy Johnson, David Wells, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Jim Bunning (who pitched his on Father’s Day), and the trophy himself: Mr. Cy Young.  Not bad company.  Even more impressive is the company Braden has surpassed.  Tim Lincecum, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson have never thrown a perfect game.

A perfect game is a sign of great things to come.  Santana has been one of the great pitchers over the last few years and Braden has a similar repertoire with a low 90s fastball and ridiculous changeup.  Buehrle has also made a great career out of changing speeds as a lefty and has a perfect game on his resume as well.  Braden has similar style to each of these one-time fantasy stalwarts.  He clearly has the makeup and confidence to be great.  He has broken out of anonymity yet again and is now playing in a fishbowl.

The eyes of the real world and fantasy world have shifted to Mr. Dallas Braden.

I’m pumped to have him on my team for the ride.

Here’s what started the A-Rod Braden fight of 2010:

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave on May 10, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Do your research. His average fastball is 87 mph. Big difference between that and low 90s. He’s a gritty pitcher who I would want on my team but he will never be considered among the elite pitchers in the game

    Reply

  2. Braden CAN throw in the low 90s, what makes him effective is he changes speeds on his fastball. He varied it anywhere between 85 and 91 mph in last nights game. I may have somewhat misled with the precise wording, but the fact is he CAN throw in the low 90s and chooses to put some on and take it off depending on the situation. I remember when Pedro used to do the same thing (albeit with a higher velocity ceiling)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Holgash on May 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Sell Away.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Spartacus on May 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Here is a better pitcher. Maybe even the best ever. Collin should write an article about it.

    Reply

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