Andrew Bailey: Best Moments of the New Boston Red Sox Closer's Career

Cody ElliottContributor IIJanuary 30, 2012

Andrew Bailey: Best Moments of the New Boston Red Sox Closer's Career

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    Andrew Bailey has quickly emerged as one of the top young pitchers in baseball.

    Bailey grew up playing baseball at Paul VI High School in New Jersey before going to Wagner College. After college, he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the MLB draft.

    Since then, his career has quickly flourished quicker than many could have expected. He has won numerous awards and already made two All-Star Game appearances.

    Last week, the right-handed pitcher agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox after being traded to them this winter. The young pitcher will bolster the Red Sox bullpen dramatically and provide a spark to a team that faltered down the stretch last season.

    Here is a look at the top five moments from Andrew Bailey’s young career:

1. 188th Overall Pick by the Oakland Athletics

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    No matter what happens in any player’s career, it is almost certain that the day he gets drafted is among the top of his most important moments.

    Andrew Bailey was drafted out of Wagner College with the 188th pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. His journey was a quick one through the minor leagues.

    His pitches consisted of a four-seam fastball, a curveball and a cutter.

    Bailey began with the Athletics’ Double-A team, the Midland Rockhounds, with whom he enjoyed much success.

Made Athletics' Opening Day Roster in 2009

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    Bailey entered the 2009 season with little shot of making the 25-man Opening Day roster for the Athletics.

    He had been in Double-A and the likeliness of him making the jump to the majors seemed like a long shot. However, Bailey did the impossible.

    He made the 25-man roster and took over as the A’s closer. This was a shock to fans and media around the Oakland area.

    The right-handed pitcher brought an array of talent to the Oakland bullpen. This talent was displayed throughout the year by the records that Bailey broke.

Named 2009 American League Rookie of the Year

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    Bailey made an immediate impact with the Athletics by winning the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year.

    He was the third Athletics player to win the award in the past six years, joining Bobby Crosby and Huston Street. He became the A’s closer and set a rookie record with 26 saves.

    His numbers were eye-popping for a rookie as his saves mark was the sixth-highest rookie saves number in AL history. He also had a save finish of 86.7 percent for the season.

    It was clear to fans that this kid was the real deal and he would be a great player for them for years to come.

Selected for '09 and '10 All-Star Games

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    Bailey was not only impressive among rookies, but was a standout around the entire majors in general.

    He made the All-Star Game in both 2009 and 2010 as he put up strong numbers as a reliever for the Athletics. In 2010, he missed a month-and-a-half but still had 25 saves and a 1.47 ERA.

    In those two years combined, he had just seven blown saves. He also moved up to seventh on the A’s all-time list for career saves.

    The young pitcher was already a star for the Athletics and having a major impact early.

Agreed to a $3.9 Million Contract with the Red Sox

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    This winter, the Red Sox made a deal to get the right-hander on their team.

    After struggles last season and a late-season meltdown, they hope the young pitcher will bring some energy that this team needs. Bailey agreed to a $3.9 million deal with Boston after making just $465,000 last year.

    He converted on 24 of his 26 save opportunities last season.

    He has the opportunity to earn up to $100,000 in performance bonuses.