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The Worst Closers In Baseball

The trade deadline came and went with only one closer, George Sherrill, losing his job.  Which was a shame, since Sherrill was having a fine year pitching the ninth for Baltimore.  Aside from injuries, those looking to vulture saves for the remaining 30% of the season have to hope a closer loses his job due to ineffectiveness.  With that in mind, let's look at some flawed stoppers.  The sample for this post includes the 30 active closers, with both Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson representing Texas and Jason Frasor and the injured Scott Downs repping Toronto.

Worst ERA

  1. Brad Lidge - 7.29
  2. Matt Capps - 5.97
  3. Kerry Wood - 4.73
  4. Brian Fuentes - 4.23
  5. Bobby Jenks - 4.03

Worst WHIP

  1. Brad Lidge - 1.76
  2. Matt Capps - 1.75
  3. Mike MacDougal - 1.52
  4. Kerry Wood - 1.38
  5. Francisco Rodriguez - 1.34

Most Hittable (Hits Per Nine Innings)

  1. Matt Capps - 12.19
  2. Brad Lidge - 10.50
  3. Chad Qualls - 9.45
  4. Bobby Jenks - 9.00
  5. Scott Downs - 8.65

Worst Control (Walks Per Nine Innings)

  1. Mike MacDougal - 6.04
  2. Francisco Rodriguez - 5.40
  3. Brad Lidge - 5.36
  4. David Aardsma - 5.09
  5. Fernando Rodney - 4.41

Lowest Strikeout Rate

  1. Mike MacDougal - 4.13
  2. Ryan Franklin - 6.34
  3. Jim Johnson - 6.36
  4. Francisco Cordero - 7.35
  5. Trevor Hoffman - 7.36

Highest HR Rate

  1. Brad Lidge - 2.14
  2. Matt Capps - 1.91
  3. Kevin Gregg - 1.84
  4. Kerry Wood - 1.58
  5. Leo Nunez - 1.39

Worst Save Percentage (Excluding those who spent time in setup roles)

  1. Brad Lidge - 75.0%
  2. Kerry Wood - 75.0%
  3. Jose Valverde - 78.9%
  4. Kevin Gregg - 81.5%
  5. Francisco Rodriguez - 82.8%
  • Lidge has been brutal, but he was lights-out last year and he's earning $11.5MM.  Should his knee issues surface again, Ryan Madson would get a look.
  • MacDougal, with his 0.68 K/BB ratio, somehow has a 2.54 ERA and is 11 of 12 in save opportunities.  Proving once again that almost any reliever is capable of piling up some saves.  We heard Jim Riggleman would try a committee with MacDougal, Beimel (who has since been dealt to Colorado), and perhaps Sean Burnett, but it never really happened.  Should MacDougal's smoke and mirrors approach stop working, perhaps Ron Villone and Jason Bergmann would be considered the team's current setup guys?  Tyler Clippard has a big strikeout rate despite a 90 mph heater.
  • If the Pirates want to give Capps a break, they could try "closer of the future" Joel Hanrahan.  Capps is the victim of a .384 BABIP and 17.6% HR per flyball rate.
  • As for August trades, we can't rule out waiver claims on pricey guys like Wood and Cordero (however unlikely).  I'm thinking Chris Perez and Nick Masset for backup closers on the Ohio teams.


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