Saturday, August 7, 2010

Who Should be the Closer Heading into Next Season?

Not that it matters much for the rest of the season, but the last two months could go a long way to determine jobs for next season.  One job being auditioned for is next year's closer, between Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek.

Both have had outstanding seasons in set-up roles.  Meek made the All-Star team and Hanrahan leads the entire team in strikeouts, despite throwing only 48.1 innings on the season.

You can make a strong case for both, but I will make my case for Hanrahan. 

Everyone knows that getting the final three outs is much more difficult than getting the prior 24 outs in the game.  It takes a special mental make-up, something I feel both guys have.

Hanrahan offers a little more experience closing games, but that shouldn't have much of an impact in John Russell's decision.

However, the one real weapon that Hanrahan offers a little more than Meek is the strikeout.  He has the ability to pitch himself out of trouble a little more often.  His fastball can hit 98mph on the radar gun and if he is throwing his slider down in the zone, it's nearly unhittable. Both guys have shown that they can get outs late in games, but when the tying run is on third with only one out, I have more confidence in Hanrahan to get out of that jam.

Either guy would do a fine job in the role,  but I feel Meek would be more suited for an 8th inning role for a season, before becoming the closer. 

Let both guys get the opportunity for the rest of the season.  It will be good for both of them to have the experience and gain the confidence.  It's a good situation for the Pirates to have with two power arms at the back end of the bullpen.  Hopefully both guys continue to pitch well and it won't matter who gets the ball at the end of the game.

1 comment:

  1. MATT

    You did it again. Positive article about Hanrahan and he gets lit up. You jinx everyone