After a carosel of closers in 2014, Shawn Tolleson stepped up and became a solid option for the Rangers last season. Will he do it again this season?
The Texas Rangers haven’t had a consistent ninth-inning guy from year to year in a few seasons. In 2013, Joe Nathan led the team in saves. Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz combined for 30 saves in 2014. They began the season with Feliz as the closer, but quickly switched to Shawn Tolleson. Tolleson may be their best option heading into this season. Can he put on a repeat performance or was he one and done?
More from FanSided
- MLB Rumors: Yankees-Phillies trade showdown, Mariners swoop, India goes to Seattle
- Chargers loosen grip on checkbook to pay Justin Herbert: Best memes and tweets
- MLB Rumors: Insider names Braves’ most likely player to be traded
- MLB Trade Grades: Dodgers reunite with familiar face in Red Sox deal
- NHL Rumors: Legendary Patrice Bergeron retires, which 3 players could be next to hang up their skates?
In his first season with the Rangers, Tolleson recorded eight holds, but was primarily used in a middle relief role. He had a 2.76 ERA, 1.172 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. He began the 2015 season as the Rangers’ set-up man, but that would quickly change.
In the first month and a half of last season, Feliz had six saves in nine opportunities with a 5.51 ERA, 1.714 WHIP and 15 strikeouts. If the Rangers wanted to the compete in the American League West, a change needed to be made. Tolleson had a 3.63 ERA, 1.154 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in that same span.
Shawn Tolleson recorded his first save on May 20. From then until the rest of the season, he had 35 saves in 37 chances with a 2.78 ERA, 1.145 WHIP and 52 strikeouts. He posted a career-high 9.5 K/9 rate and career-low 2.1 BB/9 rate.
He was able to keep the ball on the ground more often than not. Tolleson had a 42.4 ground ball and 36.9 fly ball rates. His control was a little off, but opposing batters were still swinging. He had a 26.2 O-Swing, 10.2 swinging strike and 66.1 first pitch strike percentages.
Shawn Tolleson is the current guy. However, the Rangers recently developed a deep bullpen. Sam Dyson had two saves and a 1.15 ERA in 31 games last year. The team traded for reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who had a 3.19 ERA and 13 saves with the Seattle Mariners last season. Keone Kela also had a good season, 2.39 ERA and 1.160 WHIP in 68 games.
If Shawn Tolleson can keep his fastball in the 93 MPH range, like last year, and keep his change up percentage around 20 percent, he should be ranked in the second tier of closers this season. However, if he struggles, get ready to dump him in favor of one of the other guys on the team.
Projections: 3-3, 37 saves, 3.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 68 strikeouts
Draft: Round 15