His nickname is "Everday Jonny." Braves fans have come to love him and opposing hitters have come to fear him. He has some of the nastiest "stuff" in the game. His name is Jonny Venters and he's having an absolutely fantastic year.
Just how good has it been? Let's take a look.
Left-handed hitters have a .128 batting average against Venters. He has not allowed an extra-base hit to a lefty and he's held them to a .227 on-base percentage.
In 21 appearances at Turner Field, Venters has allowed just one run. Hitters on the road are actually performing worse against him than at Turner Field. At home they post a .456 OPS against Venters, but only a .360 OPS one on the road. That's lower than Josh Hamilton's batting average last year.
He's been at his best when the Braves have needed him the most. When he's entered a game with the Braves ahead by less than three runs (a save situation) he's not allowed a run.
Opposing team's cleanup hitters have a .320 OPS against Venters and he's yet to allow an extra-base hit to any of them.
If hitters are lucky enough to get on base, they likely aren't going anywhere. With runners in scoring position, Venters has allowed only two hits. He's only allowed seven hits with men on base: holding hitters to a .362 OPS in those situations.
He gets better the longer the game goes:
7th inning: 2.91 ERA, .500 OPS
8th inning: 0.62 ERA, .400 OPS
9th inning: 0.00 ERA, .408 OPS
Extra innings: 0.00 ERA, .286
Venters has actually been better the less rest he's gotten:
No days rest: 0.00 ERA, .255 OPS
1 day rest: 0.71 ERA, .505 OPS
2 days rest: 0.90 ERA, .404 OPS
3 or more days rest: 1.50 ERA, .607 OPS
He really is "Everyday Jonny."
Some other quick stats:
He's only allowed 10 flyballs.
Groundball to Flyball ratio of 8.20 is the best in baseball and 1.5 better than the second ranked reliever.
The runs above replacement value of his fastball is 14.8, nearly five runs better than the second ranked reliever.
Hitter's have swung and missed at 15.2% of his pitches.
He has not allowed a homerun.
Not everything is rosy for Mr. Venters. He's on pace to throw about 95-98 innings. Venters has thrown nine more innings than any other reliever. Craig Kimbrel is second and has thrown six more innings than the reliever with the third most innings. No reliever has thrown that many innings since Scott Proctor tossed 102 in 2006. Just over two years later, Proctor had Tommy John surgery. He's only thrown 19.1 since then (all of them for the Braves coincidentally).
Venters has had a remarkable first half. There is no question that right now he is the top set-up in baseball and arguable it's best reliever. He certainly deserves a spot in the All-Star game and the applause of every Braves fan.