The 2013 All-Quarter-Closer Club
AL Quarter Club
Mariano Rivera (NYY)- 16 Saves, 1.56 ERA, .092 WHIP
Baseball’s All-Time Closer is tied for the league lead in saves through the first quarter of the season converting on all 16 of his chances. His strikeout rate is down compared to other top-tier closers, but it’s his one effective pitch “the cutter” that has Mariano slicing through AL hitters once again.
Tom Wilhelmsen (Sea)- 11 Saves, 0.53 ERA, 0.59 WHIP
I know there are two other closers (Johnson and Nathan) with more saves, but when you add the ERA and WHIP together of Wilhelmsen they still don’t add up to either’s ERA or WHIP. The Mariners knew what they had in the third-year player letting Brandon go to the National League’s Dodgers converting on all 11 save attempts allowing 11 base runners in 18 IP.
Casey Janssen (Tor)- 10 saves, 0.69 ERA, 0.31 WHIP
Janssen is the only pitcher this year to not be over 1.0 when adding both his ERA and WHIP. Converting on all 10 saves is impressive, but understandable when considering he has only allowed four base runners (no walks) in 13 IP. Need I say more?
Jim Johnson (Bal)- 14 Saves, 1.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Johnson was 14-of-14 on save opportunities this year till he blew his first against the San Diego Padres of all teams. Ending last year on a 21 consecutive save streak, the Oriole closer was successful on 35 straight regular-season save attempts and is now second among closers this year with 14 saves.
Joe Nathan (Tex)- 12 Saves, 2.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
The league’s third top closer with a dozen saves has been good on all his attempts. The ERA and WHIP are a little-high compared to the top two but his 9k/9IP strikeout rate keeps him among the elite.
NL Quarter Club
Jason Grilli (Pit)- 16 Saves, 1.02 ERA, 0.74 WHIP
Jason is like a hot-juicy steak on a grill. The best. He is tied with Mariano with 16 saves, but he has both a better ERA and WHIP. Where Grilli really separates himself is his 29 K’s, most of any closer with double-digit saves. He does have one blemish, a loss against the Mets, but other than that he has been as good as any to start 2013.
Rafael Soriano (Was)- 12 Saves, 2.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
Soriano is the NL version of Mariano. Relies on the same pitch with pin-point percision. It’s Ironic both played on the same team and Soriano took over Rivera’s job after going down, but Soriano didn’t learn anything new. Nothing has changed with this guy. You know what you’re gonna get. He competes at a high level by understanding how to pitch to hitters.
Edward Mujica (Stl)- 11 Saves, 1.69 ERA, 0.56 WHIP
Mujica is the only player in the All-Quarter-Closer Club to not have begun the season as a closer. Along with his 4 holds to start the season, Jason Motte’s replacement has converted on all 11 save attempts and has done it in style with hitters hitting only .143 against him. That’s best among closers in the NL.
Sergio Romo (SF)- 13 Saves, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Romo does have the second highest ERA among closers with double-digit saves, but he still has 13 saves. Counter that with a relatively low WHIP, opponents batting .217, and a strikeout rate of 10.5K/9IP, Romo remains among the elite.
Aroldis Chapman (Cin)- 8 Saves, 2.41 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
How can you leave out the strikeout leader (30) among closers to begin the season. You can’t, that’s why he fills the last spot even with 8 saves. The three wins, most out of any closer helps his case, but opponents batting .179 against him along with a 14.5/9IP strikeout rate shuts the case in making the 2013 All-Quarter-Closer Club.