Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen had a great season in his first full year as the closer. With another year under his belt, he will be top 15 in 2016.
Finding a superstar closer is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are very few that can change the direction of a franchise. Mariano Rivera. Trevor Hoffman. Francisco Rodriguez. However, finding a closer to record 25-30 saves a season is a little easier. The Cleveland Indians seem to have found that guy in Cody Allen.
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Allen has been with the Indians since 2012. In his first 104 games, he had a 2.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3.19 FIP, 115 strikeouts and just two saves. He was pitching behind Chris Perez, who recorded 25 saves with a 4.33 ERA.
In 2014, Cody Allen began the season pitching behind John Axford. After four and a half seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and half a season with the St. Louis Cardinals, he signed a one-year deal with the Indians. He recorded eight saves in April, but was removed from the closer role. He had a 3.74 ERA at the end of May.
The Indians then used Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison, Marc Rzepczynski and Allen in a committee role in the ninth inning. However, it was Allen that was the standout of the four with 25 saves, 2.04 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 91 strikeouts. With that performance, Allen began the 2015 season as the Indians closer.
Cody Allen put on a great performance in his first full season as the closer. He had a 2.99 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 1.82 FIP, 34 saves and 99 strikeouts in 70 games. He finished T-13 among closers in saves and fourth in strikeouts. The 27-year-old closer recorded a career high in K/BB ratio (3.96), HR/9 (0.26), HR/FB percentage (3.1 percent).
Top-tier closers are hard to come by. There are four or five names that deserve to be drafted within the first five rounds. Then, the rest of them fall in line. Allen was drafted in the 11th round as the eighth closer. He finished 18th on the Player Rater among closers.
The American Central is one of the best-hitting divisions. Yet, with the improvements Cody Allen made from 2014 to 2015, he has all the tools to be a top-10 closer. Though, I don’t think he should be drafted as such next season. I like him as a top-15 closer with top-10 upside.
Projections: 2.70 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 36 saves, 96 strikeouts
Draft: Round 12