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2015 Phillies Player Preview: Ken Giles

One Hundred Mile Giles might be an awful nickname (we can do better, right guys?), but Ken Giles is an outstanding young relief ace, looking to build on one of the few bright spots of 2014 with another spectacular campaign (also, he's still rookie-eligible!).

Kenny the K
Kenny the K
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Giles. Man, what an amazingly pleasant surprise he was last year. Take a gander, if you must, at his Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs pages. Actually, go do that anyway, even if you've memorized them.

Giles, who showed flashes but never sustained greatness in the minors, was called up the day before my birthday last year, and was tagged for a homerun by Yasmani Grandal, in his first appearance. It was the last he would allow all year. In fact, of his 44 outings, he allowed earned runs in only five, and failed to record a strikeout in just seven.

He also did this three times:

167 men finished the season with at least 40 innings in relief, and among them, Giles was third in ERA+ and FIP, seventh in OPS and 13th in K/9. Damn good. Very swoonable.

What, then, to expect from his magical right arm in 2015? Well, some regression, sadly. Steamer, for example, projects him to finish with a 2.81 ERA and 11.73 K/9; and ZiPS with 2.78 and 11.78, respectively, which, while certainly respectable, aren't quite as Earth-shattering. Personally, I've never been a fan of any of the extant projection systems, preferring my own MSU method, which suggests something in between the other systems and his 2014 line.

In any case, any projection is only reasonable as long as he avoids injury, which is why I'd like to see the Phillies store him inside a nuclear bunker when not in use. That said, regardless of his particular numbers, Giles has earned a spot at the top of the bullpen, current occupant aside, and may well find himself in the closer's seat before long. And until proven otherwise, I'm going to cling to the belief that he and his 100 miles per hour will be a fixture among relief pitching leaderboards for years to come. He's awesome and he's ours. Plus, he doesn't do that stupid Kimbrel thing that Craig Kimbrel does.