Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
Ryan Madson holds a unique place in Phillies lore as arguably the best setup man in franchise history. His success in this role helped the team win its second World Series in 2008.
Madson got off to a hot start to his career with a 2.34 ERA, 1.130 WHIP and 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 52 games in 2004 as a 23-year-old. After a down year in 2005, he was briefly moved to the rotation in 2006, which did not pan out.
Madson only appeared in 38 games in 2007, but showed signs of a return to effectiveness with a 3.05 ERA and 1.268 WHIP.
Things all came together for Madson in 2008 when he and J.C. Romero formed the “Bridge to Lidge”. In 76 games that year, he had a 3.05 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 67 strikeouts, 23 walks, 17 holds and 82.2 innings pitched. He allowed just one run in nine innings between the NLDS and NLCS that year, but recorded two blown saves in the World Series.
Madson continued to be effective during the rest of his tenure as a Phillie. He took over as the team’s closer in 2011, recording a career-high 32 saves in 34 opportunities. He also posted a 2.37 ERA and 162 ERA+, the best of his career since his rookie season.
After the year, Madson came close to a long-term deal to remain a Phillie, but the team elected to sign Jonathan Papelbon instead. Madson signed with the Cincinnati Reds, but underwent Tommy John surgery before the season. It would eventually force him to miss three full seasons before reviving his career with the Kansas City Royals in 2015.
In nine years as a Phillie, Madson had a 3.59 ERA, 150 games finished, 52 saves, 113 holds, 547 strikeouts, 191 walks and a 1.294 WHIP in 491 appearances and 630.0 innings pitched. He is the franchise leader in holds and ranks second in Fangraphs wins above replacement and strikeouts among relievers in club history.