#30: Mike Remlinger

See the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves here.

Lefthanded Pitcher
Seasons With Braves: 1999-2002; 2006
Stats With Braves: 27-14, 2.74 ERA, 16 Sv

I just know I’m going to get in trouble for this one, but speaking as Mike Remlinger’s biggest fan, he was one hell of a pitcher.

1. His ERAs+ for the four main years with the Braves are 183, 134, 160, and 207. Even last year it was 109, which is pretty good for a guy who couldn’t throw through wet tissue paper.
2. I know we never look at reliever won/loss records, but 27-14 is pretty impressive. He wasn’t vulturing wins for the most part, but coming into tie games or one-run deficits.
3. His strikeouts per nine as a Brave, 9.04, is the second-best mark in Atlanta history (min. 250 IP) to Mark Wohlers, while his strikeout/walk ratio of 2.53 is seventh.
4. Only seven pitchers had more RSAA in their Braves careers (since 1966); Rick Camp, and six pitchers to come. RSAA is the stat I most looked at, followed by wins. I didn’t push Remlinger up; when you count his contribution to winning teams he’s ahead of Camp by my measure (though his postseason record is admittedly not too good).

Anyway… Mike was a first-round pick of the Giants in 1987, out of Dartmouth of all places (BTW, I grew up on Dartmouth Avenue) and spent the next six years trying to start (in the minor leagues with a brief callup in 1991) with no success, getting sent to the Mariners in the Kevin Mitchell deal along the way. He spent two years with the Mets before getting dealt to the Reds in 1995 for someone named “Cobi Cradle”. He still really didn’t do anything until 1996, when he started pitching well out of the bullpen, but the Reds wouldn’t buy that he couldn’t start and kept moving him back and forth. Before the 1998 season he was the throw-in in a deal that was mostly Denny Neagle, Michael Tucker, and Rob Bell for Bret Boone. Remlinger was the only part of the trade who did anything worthwhile for his new team.

The Braves stuck Remlinger in the bullpen and he was outstanding for four seasons. I believe that Mazzone also got him to more or less drop his slider and concentrate on throwing his fastball and changeup. Mike usually had a big reverse split, pitching better against righties than lefties, in part because he never had much of a breaking pitch. This actually helped him, because it kept him in a regular relief role instead of that stupid LOOGY job.

After the 2002 season the Cubs signed him to a three-year deal. He was pretty good for two years but injury-prone and fell apart in 2005. After a short time with the Red Sox that year he signed a minor league deal with the Braves. He made the team and pitched well for a time but his fastball was shot and eventually he ran out of tricks. Presumably he will stay retired.

Mike Remlinger Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

14 thoughts on “#30: Mike Remlinger”

  1. Wow. Didn’t see this one coming. Now I’m left to wonder who on my list is going to get left off…

    Remlinger was lights out in his first stint with the Braves.

  2. Enormous Remlinger fan, too.

    Not only was he a middle guy on whom you could count, but he had an old-fashioned quality to him. If you were casting a turn-of-the-century baseball flick, he could’ve been in it.

    He was fearless and humble, competitive and smart. He was part of the greatest bullpen I ever saw—I sure wish that ’02 bunch had gotten past the Giants.

    And Mac’s right: He wasn’t great in the post-season for Atlanta. (0-2, 4.42 ERA, 18.1 IP, 20 H, 11 BB, 16 K). But it’s funny, with a lot of guys (Wohlers, Reardon, Ligtenberg, etc.), I immediately think of some colossal post-season meltdown, but the HR he gave up to the immortal Chad Curtis in the ’99 WS isn’t the first thing I think of with Remlinger.

    When it comes to post-season, I’m usually a pretty hard marker, but I guess I like Remlinger that much, too.

  3. You know I had never thought about Remlinger until a while ago you mentioned his importance to the bullpen. Then I thought about it. He sure was important. He was the guy pitching in the high leverage situations. More often than not he succeeded in keeping the team in the game. Nice entry. I suppose that he doesn’t rank higher becuase he was good for only 4 seasons.

  4. You know given what we went through last season with our bullcrap pen we probably should have kept old Mike.

  5. Boy, Remlinger was a key to those teams, though. He was the single most reliable member of the bullpen for four straight years, establishing himself as a dominant lefty setup guy in the process. And they ain’t easy to find. He was an absolute horse.

    Fun comparison for the kids at home: identify 15 differences between Mike Remlinger and Chris Reitsma, two starter/reliever swingmen obtained from the Reds. Okay, GO!

  6. Remmy was always one of my favoritate braves. When he came in you just knew the job was going to get done.

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