Did Hanrahan decline? Not at his job

As Joel Hanrahan spins on the market, we’re hearing a lot about clubs’ concerns about his diminished control in 2012, compared to his 2011 command. The raw numbers do bear that out; manager Clint Hurdle himself noted that early last season, hanging the nickname “Hanrattack” on his closer.

But you know what? Hanrahan was nearly as effective in doing his job, which is to save games.

In 2011, he was perfect — meaning, three-up and three-down, in 20 of his 44 save situations (converting 40 of them).

In 2012, he was perfect in 16 of 40 save situations (with 36 conversions). The difference there is almost negligeable.

Hanrahan did “lose it” in closer’s wilderness, pitching without a save on the line. In 2011, he was spotless in 12 of 26 such low-intensity outings. In 2012, he managed to stay clean in only four of 23 non-save appearances.

So perhaps Hanrahan didn’t lose his control, only his focus. In September, as he admitted to me, he also lost his fire — after the Pirates again free-fell out of the race, it simply became harder to pitch with any incentive. 

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