here’s a list of 8 closer candidates that you may not have heard of, or, at the very least, haven’t thought about them as potential closers.
MATTY’S OBSCURE CLOSER CANDIDATES
Julio Mateo – How is this guy a potential closer in a crowded Seattle bullpen, you say? Shiggy Hasegawa is better suited to middle relief = he did it with smoke and mirrors last year and had already blown a save. Rafael Soriano is terrific but could very well wind up in the rotation. So if Guardado can’t stay healthy, enter Mateo who had a ridiculous 71 strikeouts against 13 walks over 85 innings last year. His 0.96 WHIP wasn’t too shabby either.
Rafael Bentacourt – Cleveland manager Eric Wedge already said when David Riske had to miss a game due to the birth of his kidd, Bentacourt would get the save chance if it arose. It didn’t, but the fact remains: He’s got great stuff. 2.13 ERA, 1.015 WHIP for the Tribe last year over 38 IP. Nice.
Chad Bentz – This year’s feel good story is also a helluva pitcher. A lefty born with a birth defect (ala Jim Abbot), this one is more of a gut call than anything else. Rocky Biddle isn’t the most rock solid closer and Luis Ayala and Chad Cordero are the obvious choices if Rocky Biddle fails. Again. That said, Robinson loves this kid, because he’s a lefty he’ll be put in certan situations and the fact that he’s made it to the bigs after all he’s been through tells me he’s tough as nails. And oh yeah. He had 16 saves in Double A last year. I bet he gets 5-10 saves before it’s all said and done.
Jesse Crain – He’s not even in the majors right now and yet I think he finishes the year as the Twins closer. As he rose through all three minor league levels last year, he had 114/25 K/BB over 84 IP. Lights. Out.
Akinori Ohtsuka – Hoffman’s health isn’t a given and Rod Beck is nowhere to be seen. Enter Ohtsuka who is a veteran and saved 137 games during seven seasons in Japan.
Chris Reitsma – He’s done it before and Smoltz’ elbow is always a risk.
David Aardsma – Nen is injured and both Herges and Felix Rodriguez have had chances in the past… and have blown them. Aardsma was a closer for Rice’s college World Series team and was the Ginats #1 pick last year. And he’s already in the bigs.
Kerry Ligtenberg – Lopez and Speir get the ink in Toronto, but Lightenberg closer very effectively for Atlanta a while back and had a 1.80 ERA and a 12/1 K/BB over 10 IP during the spring.
I don't think these guys even combined for 10 saves. I could have randomly picked eight RP's and gotten better results. I think TMR is one of my favorites because you gotta have some kind of skill to be 100% wrong all the time.