Middle relievers don’t get a lot love, even on winning teams. So it’s easy to ignore the anonymous men in the pen on a losing team like the Indians. But the Tribe’s ace setup man Vinnie Pestano is in the midst of a special season, and it deserves some recognition. Here are a few notes to put his impressive 2012 campaign into perspective…
- A few weeks ago (when the Indians were still capable of a winning a game here and there) Pestano set the franchise single-season record for holds. His 32nd hold broke the previous mark set by Rafael Betancourt in 2007. He’s currently tied for 21st on the all-time list, just eight behind Luke Gregorson’s record (2010 Padres) and four away from Tom Gordon’s AL mark (2004 Yankees).
- Pestano has recorded 20+ holds in each of the past two seasons, joining Paul Assenmacher (1997-98) as the only Tribe relievers to accomplish that feat.
- Over the past two seasons, Pestano’s 55 holds lead the major leagues. Joaquin Benoit and Mike Adams trail him by one.
- He also has 13 “perfect holds” (1 IP, no baserunners, balks or wild pitches) which is one shy of Bob Howry‘s franchise record set in 2004.
- Pestano currently leads the pitching staff with a WAR of 2.2. In 2010, Chris Perez tied Roberto Hernandez for the staff lead in WAR, but Pestano will likely become the first outright WAR leader from the bullpen since Derek Lilliquist in 1993. [side note: if you’ve forgotten how good Lilliquist was in his brief Tribe career, check out his stats from ’92 and ’93].