Well, since I'm his catcher I can offer up the best news on him you'll get.
Everything I've heard about this guy says he's a very good reliever and has good stuff. He was highly regarded in the Giants organization. Twins Manager Ron G. said in the newspaper yesterday that he wasn't going to commit yet to Nathan being his closer. He knows he has good stuff, but feels that the pitcher's mental makeup and heart also determine if he'll be a good closer or not. He also wants to see how well Nathan holds runners in Spring Training.
MY VIEW FROM MINNESOTA: He's the odds on favorite for the job and should do well, as long as he can hold runners (i.e. his pitching style/release is such that runners have a hard time stealing on him). I don't see the Twins going in another direction.
As "Joe Mauer" stated, you are going to want to watch Spring Training very closely. I would guess they are going to give him every chance to win the job and there really isn't another likable closer type on the roster, at least right now.
Minor League Mentor
Joined: 13 Jun 2002
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: Uumm, micro-managing my fantasy baseball teams. Where else?
I think that Nathan will falter. Granted, he had a great year last year, but so did Esteban Loaiza. It's not the greatest comparison, but I think that you get my point.
Nathan's lowest era before this year was in 1999 when it was 4.18. He didn't reach the minors until he was 25 and that's because he just wasn't that good. This is a guy with a career minor league era of 4.96.
I'm not the biggest believer in era, of course, like any fantasy baseball addict. But I don't know that he'll be good enough to keep the job.
Jesse Crain is the only competition for the closer job. Romero is a lefty specialist who had a terrible season last year. And I wouldn't compare Nathan to Loaiza. Nathan was a bad starter, but a great reliever. I see no reason to assume a decline. Gagne was the same as Nathan: bad rookie and sophomore years as a starter who couldn't get a lot of K's, and excellent as a RP in his 3rd season with more than a K per inning. He definately won't be as good as Gagne was last year, nobody will repeat that season, but I think he should be fine. Unless Nathan gives the Twins a reason to call up Crain, it's his job.
"Jack, will you call me, if you're able?"
"I've got your phone number written, in the back of my Bible."
1. When do you think you will be an everyday starter for the Twins?
2. How will do you think you will perform offensivley when you start playing everyday?
3. What kind of offensive numbers do you think you will put up in your best season in the majors?