Thank you so much to all my readers for getting me to #21 on the Latest Leaders list this week! I moved up ten spaces, so I am very excited. This week, in the tradition started by Jimmy, I dedicate my ranking to #21, the Padres’ new closer, Heath Justin Bell.
Heath was born in and grew up in California. He signed with the New York Mets in 1998 as an undrafted free agent. He was in the Mets’ minor league system for eight seasons. He actually made his major league debut against the Padres, throwing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He went the next two seasons going back and forth between Triple-A and the major league club.
In 2006, he was finally traded to the San Diego Padres with Royce Ring for Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins. He never really got a chance with the Mets, so it was great that he got traded to the Padres. Once he was there, he got the 8th inning role as set-up man to Trevor Hoffman. In 2007, he pitched in 81 games and had 102 strikeouts. In 2008 he pitched in 74 games and had 71 strikeouts. He’s pitched a lot for the Padres!
Now he is taking the place of Trevor Hoffman in the closer’s role. Heath only has two major league saves, but he saved 108 games in the minors. He’s been in that closer’s role before, but closing the the minors is a lot different that closing in the majors. He knows that.
Heath is quite the character. He has said that he doesn’t like to talk to guys on the other team because he wants them to think that he’s slightly crazy. He’s like a kid, you know. But he’s very serious about his work, and working out and stuff. Over the offseason he lost 25 pounds by playing Wii Fit. He’s just really funny, in his quotes and his interviews. It will be very interesting to see how he handles the role of a closer, dealing with the failures and the press. He’s an intense guy, and he’s going to bring that out to the mound. Though I miss Trevor a lot, I can’t wait to see how Heath does this year. It will be a learning experience, but I think he will do very well.
Thank you again, so much, to all my readers. I’ve said this before, but it’s so true: without you guys, there is no purpose to this blog. So, thank you so much for reading and getting me to #21. It really means a lot to me. You guys are amazing! Thanks!
(photo credits: cache.daylife.com, padres.com)