Wednesday, January 9, 2008
The Diamondbacks have said that they are undecided about who will be their closer, Brandon Lyon, Tony Pena, or Chad Qualls. I am a big fan of Lyon because I have followed him since he made his major league debut, but he does not have very good situational stats in the ninth inning. Although he has only 25 career saves, in his first fifteen pitches in the game he has kept his ERA at 2.08. However, he cannot seem to keep opposing batters averages down with runners on base. I think he would be more suited where he was last year, and seemed to have thrived in that spot, setting up the game for former closer Jose Valverde. Tony Pena is young, and could possible compete in a couple years, but he seems more suited in a situational spot than in a closer role. Not only does Qualls keep his ERA at 2.39 in his first fifteen pitches, but holds batters to a .246 average with runners on. I think that Lyon has something to prove and will probably improve on his numbers last year, but I think it should be Qualls' job for the taking when they get to Spring Training.
However, Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin has said he likes Qualls in the seventh inning and thinks Pena and Lyon will work well together in the eighth and ninth. I think Lyon will be able to improve on his numbers and be successful in the closer spot, but it might take some time. Although I think Qualls should start with the closer job, I am confident that Lyon will be considered a good closer by the end of 2008.