Monday, January 25, 2016

Unknown Heroes Pt. 39: Stan Belinda

Middle relievers are the ultimate unknown heroes.  Especially since card companies after the early 1990's started focusing on premium sets with fewer cards.  There just was not as much hobby love for the guys that came in to hold things down before the closer could shut the door.  That is unfortunate because middle relievers and setup men are very important to the team.

In 1995, Boston signed former Pirates and Royals middle reliever Stan Belinda in April, soon before the season started.  Belinda had saved a number of games for the Pirates but had been just another bullpen arm in Kansas City.  Belinda pitched from a three-quarters arm slot, almost a side-arm thrower, but not quite.  Boston had a number of problems with pitching early on in 1995, but their setup man was definitely not one of those problems as Belinda was a terrific under-the-radar pickup for the division winners.

Stan Belinda made it into 63 games for Boston in 1995.  He finished with an impressive 8-1 record and 10 saves.  His ERA was a very good for the time period 3.10 and he struck out 57 while walking 28 in 69.2 innings.  He also gave the Red Sox 1.9 WAR out of a middle relief spot, which is very impressive.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much it for his effectiveness in Boston.  He returned in 1996, but injuries limited him to 31 games with an ugly 6.59 ERA.  Belinda would go on to pitch a few more years, including some decent moments with Cincinnati, but 1995 was definitely the high point of his career.

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