[As I mentioned last week, I'm taking a break from posting new material, but want to keep the blog 'up-to-date' as much as possible- meaning I'll be drawing from the well of old material for the summer. The player featured on today's card is progressing nicely from his return from a second Tommy John surgery, and I wish Meds all the best. This post is from August of 2012]
"He's one of those guys that is pretty quiet, but he always walks around like maybe he knows something you don't," Jones said. "He's got Doggies kind of presence out there on the mound. He's not a big guy, but he walks out there like 'I know I can get you out.' And he's got a few different ways to do it. Man, what a great time for him to have a great start because we needed it bad."~ Chipper Jones on Kris Medlen.
When I first read Chipper Jones' quote where he compared Kris Medlen to Greg Maddux, I couldn't help but smile. I have long thought that the Braves 'do-it-all' pitcher compared quite nicely to Mad Dog. With a bull-dog attitude, the ability to throw strikes (pitching to contact!), and working quickly on the mound, Medlen also compares nicely to the future Hall of Famer in his ability to field his position well (Meds may not look it, but is very athletic).
After spending most of the year in the bullpen (where he had 38 appearances), Medlen had his first major league start of the year on July 31, going five innings to pick up the win against the Marlins. With injuries, inconsistent starting pitching, and the dog days of August hitting with very few days off, the team has kept Kris in the rotation-and he has rewarded them by going 4-0 in five starts.
With all the attributes he brings to the mound, Medlen is proving himself to be a stopper. In his last sixteen starts, the Braves have a record of 16-0. In his nineteen starts since the 2010 season, Meds has a record of 9-0 with a 3.01 ERA. And in case you didn't know, he missed almost all of the 2011 season (recording only 2.1 inning in late September) after having Tommy John surgery performed on him. Who knows what his numbers would look like had he not suffered the partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament.
For most of this season, Atlanta viewed Kris as a valuable part of their bullpen-and for good reason. He has a very good change, which can be used effectively against right-handed hitters, and the stuff to be able to go in long relief. At this point, though, I think the righty has shown that he is even more valuable to the team as a starter- not only for the reason of this season, but going into the future as well.