The Red Sox currently own one of the better bullpens in the game, statistically speaking, as the group’s 3.00 ERA is good for second best in the American League and sixth-best in all of baseball. On top of their on-field excellence, the group also features off-field brilliance.
Craig Breslow, the Yale grad who was named one of the top-20 smartest athletes by The Sporting News in 2010, has received a good amount of press, but there is also Burke Badenhop, a Bowling Green graduate who has co-written a book, as well as Andrew Miller and Chris Capuano, who attended the University of North Carolina and Duke respectively.
“You tend to find more of those guys in the bullpen,” Badenhop said. “Nothing different, I’ve played with some smart guys before.”
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Badenhop is the co-author of "Financial Planning For Your First Job,” which came out in 2011. The Boston reliever used his business and economics background at Bowling Green to write the foreword for one of his friends, Matthew Brandeburg, in a book that gives young adults financial planning advice.
“It’s just something that keeps me not so much in the baseball world because I was a pretty good student when I was in college,” said Badenhop. “To still kind of keep your brain in academia a little bit, you know, helps.”
For Breslow, he excelled in the science world as in 2002 he graduated Yale with a B.A. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. In 2008 he started the Strike 3 Foundation, which heightens awareness and raises money for pediatric cancer research.
Although Badenhop didn’t go to an Ivy League school, he still feels like he could hold his own against Breslow in a brain battle.
“Yes and no. He’s a science guy though,” Badenhop said. “I’ve played with Sam Fuld. Sam went to Stanford and is more of a stats and numbers type guy, kind of like I am. Breslow is a pretty smart guy though. I’m pretty impressed with what he’s done with his organization and stuff, but I’d like to say I can hold my own. I couldn’t have [been accepted] into Yale, but I could hold my own.”
Breslow is 2-0 on the season with a 3.65 ERA and hasn’t allowed a run in the month of May. Badenhop is 0-2 with a 2.59 ERA, but has allowed just two runs in his last 18 innings, dating back to April 16.
Some may say being book smart would not directly translate to performance on the field, but with advanced scouting and Sabermetrics haven taken off in sports, particularly baseball, having the brains and brawn certainly doesn’t hurt.
“Baseball is kind of interesting in that everything has a statistic to it now,” Badenhop said. “The statistical part has now transitioned over to football and basketball, but baseball still had them first.”
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @RyanHannable