If there ever was a closer carousel, you got it in Chicago with the White Sox. After giving the job to relatively unknown Hector Santiago,manager Robin Ventura paid the price with his risky selection. Santiago ended April with a 8.53 ERA, two blown saves, and a very badly bruised ego. Since then, Ventura has deployed Addison Reed, Matt Thornton, and even Chris Sale as the closer for the White Sox.
Let me state this, all of those pitchers are superior to Hector Santiago as the closer and why Ventura didn’t see that in spring training, but is realizing it now is beyond me. Addison Reed have been in the bullpen all season and have posted outstanding numbers. Matt Thornton was doing great until the last week, where he gave up five runs in two innings of work. That likely cost him any future chance at the closers job for now.
Addison Reed - 2 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 14K, 10 IP
Then there is Addison Reed. The guy has been anything but hitable in 2012. Granted, American League hitters are familiar with the rookie pitcher, they better get on it. Reed has been pounding the strike zone with a 95-96 MPH fastball, and a devastating slider. His out pitch that keeps American League hitters off-balance is his change-up. In college, the kid was no different. He was a closer in college for San Diego St and lead the NCAA in saves with 20 in 2009. So, the kid has talent. Of course that isn’t good enough for Robin Ventura.
Enter Chris Sale. Another young pitcher for the White Sox, Sale was supposed to take over as closer last year, but it didn’t happen. at the start of this season he earned a spot in the starting rotation. Last weekend, Sale was moved to the bullpen due to tenderness in is pitching elbow (**note my rule on elbow problems below) and as a starter he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.81 ERA and 29 Ks in 32 innings.
While sale has what it takes to be a closer, he isn’t the right choice right now. He is not a better pitcher talent-wise over Addison Reed. He also isn’t 100% healthy with the “tender elbow”, and he is a lefty. Sorry, but lefties are not the best choice for closers. Not saying that lefties can’t close, I’m just saying there is a reason why there isn’t more than two lefty closers in the majors right now.
Chris Sale was suppose to be brought in to close for his first save last night, but instead entered the game in the eighth inning and blew the save. Addison Reed was brought in later to save the game. Hopefully Manager Ventura has seen the light and Addison Reed will be coming out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth for the White Sox.
From a fantasy perspective, I would be all over Addison Reed. There is no confidence in Matt Thornton and Chris Sale may get some opportunities, but he will likely end up on the DL with elbow problems. Why the White Sox are even taking a chance on him hurting himself further, I do not know.
** From a fantasy perspective, stay away from ANY pitchers with elbow problems.