Daniel Bard is a product of the Boston Red Sox minor league system and has worked his way up from single-A Greenville to the major league level. Daniel was not considered a closer until 2008 with the Portland Sea Dogs, recording his first seven saves. He is known primarily for his mighty fastball, which has been said to have hit 101 MPH on the radar gun. Bard has established himself as a great bullpen arm for Boston, and someday could replace Jonathan Papelbon in the closer role once Paps retires or leaves the organization.
Red Sox Debut
Daniel Bard made his Boston Red Sox debut on May 13, 2009 against the Los Angeles Angels, where he pitched two scoreless innings. Bard allowed one earned run in twelve innings pitched for the Sox in 2009 and recorded his first Major League Save against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 12 in an extra innings game, by walking one and striking out the side.
The next time Bard toed the rubber against the Phillies on June 14th, he allowed 4 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning pitched. Watching Bard pitch on Bunker Hill Parade Day was gut wrenching. Daniel's fastball wasn't hitting the upper 90's consistently, he was missing his spots and the Philadelphia hitters were just hitting through the order as if he were a run of the mill reliever.
Sox Prospects delivers the following scouting report on Daniel Bard:
Live arm with a smooth delivery. His fastball looks effortless, and sits around 96 mph with decent command and average movement. He can consistently hit 97-99 mph on the radar gun, and can reportedly get up to 101 mph when he reaches back. Bard also mixes in an 80-82 mph slider with some nice bite. His slider really keeps hitters off balance. It can also dip down to about 76-78 mph with more slurve action. He also has a few other pitches in his arsenal that aren't used very often, including a high 80s cutter, a low-90s two-seamer, and a circle change. If a batter is able to catch up to Bard's fastball, the ball can sail off the bat due to velocity. He struggled through major control issues throughout the entire 2007 season, particularly with his slurve (a pre-cursor to his slider). Has a strong frame and a mature demeanor, but has a history of confidence issues. Bard took well to a bullpen role in the Hawaii League in the 2007-08 off-season, and dominated as a full time reliever in 2008. He changed his delivery by lowering his arm slot prior to the 2008 season, adding a little bit of life to his fastball. In the 2008-09 off-season, Bard again altered his delivery slightly, starting his hands by his chest rather than his waist, eliminating some unnecessary body movement.
The Future Closer
The 23 year old power pitcher has made an immediate impact with the Red Sox organization and hopes to last in the bullpen over the next decade or so. As more time passes and players move on, retire, get older and decline, Daniel bard could be the permanent closer for Boston. With a 101 MPH fastball, I see a lot of games closed out quickly by striking out the side, much like his predecessor has done for the Sox over the past few years.
Thanks to katken for the picture of Daniel Bard of the Boston Red Sox.