No. 44: Steve Bedrosian

steve bedrosian.jpgRighthanded Pitcher
Seasons With Braves: 1981-85; 1993-95
Stats With Braves: 40-45, 41 Svs, 3.26 ERA

I don’t know… Maybe Bedrock is too low, maybe he shouldn’t be on here at all. The question here, as I see it, is whether I’m worried about how well he played for the Braves (very well, until the end) versus his actual impact (which was fairly low). In the end, I needed to get him on here, and it’s possible he should be a lot higher, even if he was largely a might-have-been.

Bedrosian was drafted out of the University of New Haven in the third round of the 1978 draft and up with the team three years later. In 1982 he became a bullpen workhorse. What I didn’t realize until I started writing this is how well Steve pitched for the Braves. That ERA is nearly half a run better than the league, and he had three monster seasons where he was one of the most effective relievers in the game — 1982, 1984, and 1993. He was part of the constant “How can we keep Gene Garber from being the closer?” rollercoaster of the eighties, saving 11, 19, and 11 games from 1982-84, leading the team in the middle season (actually his least effective of the period).

The Braves signed Bruce Sutter before the 1985 season, and let’s just say Sutter won’t be appearing on this countdown. This is pretty much the period where the Braves were being run by dumb people, who then decided to make Bedrosian into a starter. He actually pitched pretty well, posting a 3.83 ERA (right about the league average), which made him the second or third best pitcher on the team. That team was very bad and didn’t score any runs for him, leading to a 7-15 record and causing the aformentioned dumb people to trade him and Milt Thompson for two other players who won’t be appearing on this list, Ozzie Virgil and Pete Smith.

So, anyway, two years later Steve wins the Cy Young Award and makes himself a lot of money, and then begins a slow fade. The Braves picked him up cheap in 1993 after he’d been out of baseball the prior season, and he gave them an excellent campaign that year, albeit mostly in low-leverage situations, going 5-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 49 2/3 IP. He pitched decently in 1994, with a 3.33 ERA in 46 innings, but like many people the strike basically ended his career; he had a 6.61 ERA when he hung up his spikes in August of ’95.

There’s a stat called “Runs Saved Above Average”. I don’t really understand how it’s calculated, and I’m not crazy about comparing players to the average, but I’ll just say this: There are only eight Braves from 1966-present with better career RSAA with the club than Bedrosian. The lowest rank for any of those eight is 23rd. Like I said, maybe he should be higher.

Steve Bedrosian Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

17 thoughts on “No. 44: Steve Bedrosian”

  1. When I lived in Pasadena, I often went to a restaurant called Pinocchio’s. I remember the proprietor was a big fan of Bedrosian, as he and Bedrosian were both of Armenian ancestry. (This is when Bedrock was just winding down in ’95.)

    Segueing, Garber and Bedrosian are pretty good comps for each other. Bedrock is 6th-most similar to Garber according to baseball-reference.com, while Garber just misses Bedrosian’s top ten.

    Garber as a Brave: 856 IP, 859 H, 382 R (318 ER), 233 BB, 540 K, 3.34 ERA, 1.276 WHIP.
    Bedrosian as a Brave: 696 IP, 595 H, 279 R (252 ER), 311 BB, 559 K, 3.26 ERA, 1.302 WHIP.

    Garber allowed an awful lot of unearned runs, hence his lower RSAA. Our defense during Garber’s tenure explains a lot of that, of course.

    Bedrosian had more of a power assortment, while Gene had better control; the two basically canceled out. Both were much better than the Rick Camps and Jeff Dedmons surrounding them.

    Just for amusement, Bedrosian went 11-132 as a Braves hitter, with no extra base hits and two walks (083/ 097/ 083) and one RBI.

    Unforunate playoff skidmark, from the 6th inning of Game 1 of the 1982 NLCS (from Retrosheet):

    BEDROSIAN REPLACED {Pascual} PEREZ
    (PITCHING); Porter walked [Hernandez to third, Hendrick to
    second]; McGee singled to center [Hernandez scored, Hendrick to
    third, Porter to second]; O. Smith singled to left [Hendrick
    scored, Porter to third, McGee to second]; Forsch hit a
    sacrifice fly to center [Porter scored]; Bedrosian threw a wild
    pitch [McGee to third, O. Smith to second]; Herr struck out;
    Oberkfell singled to right [McGee scored, O. Smith to third];
    {Donnie} MOORE REPLACED BEDROSIAN (PITCHING). That’s 2 runs of his own plus 2 inherited runners, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout. He came in with the Braves down 2-0 and left with the Braves buried 6-0.

    He did better pitching the 8th inning of Game 3, with the Braves already down 5-2.

  2. Steve Lyons doesn’t deserve to be a color commentator on a national broadcast, but he didn’t deserve to be fired for those comments, either. It struck me as nothing more than nonsensical stream-of-consciousness from a man who was, as ever, playing up his role of a self-proclaimed idiot. How can something be offensive when it doesn’t even make sense?

  3. Sansho1, i read the comments and thought the same thing, i could not tell what the hell he even meant with that rambling.
    Fire him because he is an awful commentator, but not for those comments, maybe they just wanted him out.

  4. Those comments probably were the excuse to get rid of him. They in themselves didn’t seem like anything near enough for dismissal.

  5. I think Bill James once said that Bedrosian won the Cy Young in ’87 because, well, they had to give it to somebody. Big offensive spike year. Nolan Ryan was probably the best pitcher in the league that season, and had the 8-16 record to prove it. Hershiser went 16-16, so they weren’t going to give it to him. So the guy with 40 saves got it.

  6. I’m not going to justify Bedrosian’s CYA (I probably would have voted for Sutcliffe, who just missed). But he had a good year and made himself a lot of money.

  7. Sansho1 and oldtimer, I agree with you, but I’m not going to cry about it, and I don’t think it’s bad for free speech. Saying things like “Lou is habla-ing some Espanol” followed by “I don’t want to sit close to him now” is gonna offend the guy you’re saying it to, and Steve Lyons doesn’t deserve his job anyway. Nobody’s gonna shed tears over this one.

  8. Woke up after a redeye flight from Denver to find out that Georgia lost to Vandy. Howthehelldidthathappen? Glad I didn’t sit through that one. It would’ve ruined my whole day (until the Met loss). Congrats to Vandy peeps everywhere (yes, that means you, Stu). I have a pal in Brooklyn (Vandy undergrad/UGA masters) who hasn’t brought up Vandy football since 1994. I think it’ll be his favorite subject this week.

    When I think of Bedrock, I’m reminded of how hard Torre rode him at the end of the ’83 season. There was definite Garber avoidance going on, but it was getting silly after awhile. He gave up some really demoralizing late-season, late-inning HRs. I seem to remember walk-off HRs in August to Greg Brock & George Hendrick. I also recall September GSHRs to Mike Easler & Nick Esasky. The Braves were chasing the Dodgers at that point, so they were games that had to be won, but weren’t—the kinds of last-season results that tend to say, “Not this year.”

    Of course, when Bedrock came out blazing in the spring of 1982, it was pretty exciting. He had a great year. In 1993, Bedrock was a part of a pretty darn good bullpen. He was a one-innning, let-it-all-hang-out, middle-inning guy.

    And the trade to Philly…well, Ozzie Virgil seemed to represent all that was wrong about those Braves teams. Ozzie represented the bad deals & Andres Thomas represented the bad farm system.

  9. Wryn,

    Not that it matters for us now.

    I don’t hate Auburn; I tolerate them when necessary, like yesterday. Helluva win, though. And I gotta say, it’s not often you can watch the Mets & Florida lose in simultaneous fashion.

  10. I predicted the Vandy win. Really, I did. Like I’ve been saying, this Georgia team just isn’t very good.

    Also, this is the most talented Vandy team I’ve ever seen, and with next year’s recruiting class (and the fact that we’ll only lose 5 starters), we should be getting better. Whether that means we’ll ever actually make a bowl game, I don’t know.

  11. The main thing I rememember about Bedrock was his game tying homer when he was forced to hit with 2 outs in a long, extra inning game. I don’t recall what year that was, but I do remember yelling in excitement.

  12. That was Rick Camp who hit the game-tying homer in the 92nd inning against the Mets.

    I remember a game against the Dodgers in 1983 where the Braves were down 6-1. Claudell Washington and Glenn Hubbard (of all people) tied up the game with HRs with runners-on. Bedrock comes in the 9th and immediately gives up a home run to Greg Brock on a letter high fastball that just SAT there.

    Fortunately, Bob Watson won it in the bottom of the 9th with a walk-off two-run shot off Steve Howe.

    For the life of me, I can’t remember Bedrock finishing a game on a good note in 1983. I know I saw him do it. I just can’t remember it.

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