St. Louis Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs had by far the best season of his career in 2012, going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA and made a career-high 78 appearances. Boggs’ incredible season did not go unnoticed, as he was selected by manager Joe Torre to be a member of the bullpen for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Boggs was very happy to be recognized, saying, “I feel like being a part of the team is kind of recognition of how well I pitched last year. If I don’t do what I did, I’m not even in the conversation,” he said on Thursday. “I almost feel like I started my career last year.”
“The few years before that I was just kind of there. I felt like coming into last year I had a decision – I could continue to be that guy where I floated around and pitched in a lot of different roles, or I could take the next step and be the guy I thought I could be.”
Boggs could not have transitioned from an average reliever to a member of Team USA without the emergence of his slider as his go-to pitch. In 2011, only 54 percent of the sliders that Boggs threw were for strikes. However, he saw that number jump up to 63.4 percent last year. This added control was a big part of the success that Boggs had in 2012.
In 2011, Boggs’ slider was a run below average, but in 2012, the pitch was 10 runs above average, good for fifth among all MLB relievers. Boggs also carried his success into the playoffs last year, throwing 7.2 innings and only allowing two earned runs.
Boggs will be given a chance show that he is one the best relievers in the game on an international stage, as he will be a key part of the bullpen for Team USA in the WBC.