Colorado Rockies: Who would be next in line for the closer’s role?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Wade Davis #71 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the eighth inning during game four of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on October 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Wade Davis #71 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the eighth inning during game four of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on October 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 17: Chris Rusin #52 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during a regular season MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 17: Chris Rusin #52 of the Colorado Rockies pitches during a regular season MLB game between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images) /

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Chris Rusin

The past two seasons, Chris Rusin has proven to be one of the Rockies best relievers. In fact, our own Mike Macesich made the case in late January that he actually is the Rockies best reliever.

Particularly last season, though, he pitched in 60 games and he had an ERA of 2.65. He pitched in 85 innings and only allowed two walks per nine innings and he struck out 7.5 per nine.

He had two saves last season so he performed the task of closing for Bud Black occasionally. One of the saves was even a three inning save (on May 6 against Arizona). In the ninth inning in general in 2017, Rusin had an ERA of 1.50 in eight games.

This season, he will be used in the same role as he was last season, in long relief, since he was so successful at it. However, as he was last year as well, don’t be surprised if he gets a save or two out of the bullpen.

Final Thoughts

There are a few other guys who could potentially be a closer but I have a few issues with them. Bryan Shaw is an excellent reliever but, as Cleveland Indians fans saw a lot in 2017, he numbers get worse the later in the game he is in (he had an ERA of 7.00 and an opponent batting average of .368 in the ninth inning in 2017). He should be used, almost exclusively, as a set-up man.

The other is Adam Ottavino. He closed some in 2015 and 2016 but he did not have any saves in 2017. I would be apprehensive of putting him in a save situation until he shows that he has regained his control. Last year, he walked 6.6 batters per nine innings so you can’t be allowing that many base runners on in a close game late.

Next: Who is the X-Factor in the bullpen?

If he can show that he has regained his control, you can add him to the list of potential closers as well.

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