The Miami Marlins will have a competition for the closing job. A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps will enter the spring with eyes on the ninth-inning job. Who will win?
With Spring Training right around the corner, news will break of position battles as teams figure out who they want playing where. There is already news of that coming from the Miami Marlins. According to the Miami Herald, Marlins executive Michael Hill said he expects an open competition for the closer job between incumbent closer A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps. The two bring their own particular set of skills, but which one will be the guy in the ninth inning?
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The Marlins’ bullpen struggled at the beginning of last season. The team began the season with Steve Cishek as the closer, but it didn’t last long. In his first 13 games, he went 1-3 with three saves, four blown saves, 10.32 ERA and 2.03 WHIP. He was quickly replaced by Ramos, who gave the Marlins some stability in the ninth inning.
Since recording his first save on May 13, Ramos had a 2.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 32 saves out of 36 opportunities. He had 87 strikeouts, 26 walks and a 3.35 K/BB ratio. He spent the previous two seasons in the bullpen as the set-up man, but looked ready to move forward as the closer. However, the great performance did not guarantee him the job in 2016.
Capps is the other man competiting for the job. He spent two years with the Seattle Mariners before joining the Marlins. In 17 games in 2014, he had a 3.98 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. Last year was a big step in the right direction. In 30 games, he had a 1.16 ERA, 0.081 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 31 innings. Capps is a hard thrower. His average fastball last year, according to Statcast, was 98.05 mph.
The only negative to Capps as the closer is that he doesn’t have a save in the majors. For a team on the rise, having someone with closer experience as your closer would be the smart decision. Also, Capps’ 2015 season ended early with a right elbow strain. He will be healthy for Spring Training, but it is something to keep an eye on.
Regardless of who wins the job, that pitcher will become must own. The loser will become the set-up man and also holds value in deeper leagues. If the closer struggles early, expect a pitching change, similar to what happened in 2015. It’ll be tough to use a roster spot on a handcuff for the Miami Marlins closer, but it could come in handy when owners are looking for saves midway through the season. I rank Ramos over Capps, then again I’m not in the front office. Capps would be in my top 20 while Ramos would be closer to the top 15.