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Meet Jason Foley, The Most Underrated Reliever In Baseball

In advance, I want to apologize to Jason Foley. If you've followed me at all this season, you'd know that every time I've tweeted or spoken positively about a Detroit Tigers player, they've fallen off the face of the earth. I love Jason Foley, so I want to take this time to apologize for the 5.85 ERA that he will be up in the second. That's my fault, and I'll wear it. Okay, onto the good stuff.

Michael Lorenzen will be representing the Tigers tonight at the All-Star Game. I've written a blog about this already. I like Lorenzen; he's pitched some good baseball this year, but whoever was responsible for making him this team's lone representative made a mistake. It's not to say that he hasn't pitched some good baseball this year, but the Tigers called attention to themselves by picking Lorenzen. I understand why it became a much-talked-about issue on Detroit sports radio. "That's our best guy? Really?" And as I've stated before, if I felt like Lorenzen was the best guy, I'd support the decision. But sadly, the guy who has done his job better than anyone for Detroit this season has been on the outside looking in. The Tigers are a really bad team. Despite being well below .500, I would argue their record should probably be worse. They've done an excellent job of winning a lot of close games. A huge reason for that is because the back end of their bullpen, more often than not, has held things down. A big reason for that has been Jason Foley. Foley isn't the closer on this team. That role belongs to Alex Lange. But he's sure as hell been their best reliever.


Foley's numbers have been dynamite this year. He's posted a 2.09 ERA in 38 appearances this season. He had one disastrous outing against the Diamondbacks in which he got BABIP'd to death. Other than that, his ERA has been 1.23. And outside of me likely jinxing him, there are a lot of indicators that he'll be able to keep up this pace. His FIP is 2.14, just above his ERA, and while I've had my concerns about his inability to miss bats (his K/9 is only 7.9 this season), his sinker is one of the most effective pitches in baseball. He may only miss a few bats with that pitch, but it's a ground ball machine. Foley also has the best quality any pitcher can have; he throws strikes. His walk rate is in the 94th percentile, which is fantastic. He was also responsible for four huge outs in the Tigers combined no-hitter a few days back.

The saddest irony over these last several years is that the Detroit Tigers, an organization that could not put together a stable bullpen for thirty years, has had several legitimate bullpen pieces emerge over the last few seasons. And I can already hear a million Tiger fans racing to their keyboards, prepared to ask me if Foley will be available at the deadline. I don't give a fuck. He plays for the Tigers, and he's been awesome. If we're going to collectively wallow in misery every time things go wrong here (which I'm okay with, they deserve the criticism), we have to praise the few legit pieces who continue to get the job done. I, for one, do not get aroused by the possibility of trading all of our good players (again). I like having good players on my baseball team, and Foley has been more than good. He should be pitching in tonight's All-Star Game.