Burke Badenhop is a twenty-nine year-old right-handed relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Badenhop was born in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Bowling Green State University. Badenhop was drafted by the Detroit Tigers but debuted in the majors on April 9th, 2008 for the Florida Marlins. Badenhop is known as “The Hopper” for the way he makes a small hop after throwing a pitch. Badenhop was traded by the Marlins to the Rays for Minor League Catcher Jake Jefferies. Badenhop is 13-15 with a 4.34 ERA.
The Rays plan to use Badenhop for his sinkerball, in order to get batters to hit ground balls in crucial moments of the game. His 74.2 groundball percentage ranked sixth highest among National League relievers. “Guys like that are really nice to have, who can come in and stop things immediately by putting the ball on the ground,” Rays Coach Joe Maddon said. “So it’s really up to us and me to be watching that game closely to put him in the optimal moment as often as possible.” In Game 1 of the 2012 season, Badenhop releived Wade Davis in the 7th inning. Though he was able to get Russel Martin to hit to Evan Longoria, Longoria committed an error which allowed Martin to reach first base. In Game 2, Badenhop relieved David Price, forcing Derek Jeter to hit into a double play; Martin was out at second.