Ryan Madson is a baseball enigma. Selected in the 9th round of the amature draft in 1998, he was projected as a sure-shot-can't miss rotation pitcher, easily a number three or four or higher. He's got a good low ninties fastball and a wicked change-up. He also has a nasty curve when he can throw it for strikes and he's working on a slider.
But he's flip-flopped back and fourth from the roatation to middle inning relief, having more big-league success coming out of the pen in the sixth or seventh inning. Last year Manuel used him as a starter and it didn't work out. Now he's back to middle inning relief.
As GM Pat Gillick searches high and low for middle inning relief help, what about Ryan Madson? The genial 27 year old pitcher could be a big key in the Phillies run for the East this year. That, however, depends on which Ryan Madson takes the ball. Last year his ERA balooned to 5.69, and he struggled through times of ineffectiveness. But if the real Ryan Madson shows up in April, he could give the Philles the boost they need to contend.