- Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)
This is, of course, a short list for such an immense group; so, I’m sure you could guess that everyone on this list has All-Star potential. This is certainly the case for Trevor Rosenthal.
After Rosenthal’s breakout year as a set-up man in 2013, his 2014 season, as a closer, did not seem so spectacular. That is how he ended up last on this list. The Cards’ new closer finished 2014 with an ERA of 3.20 and six blown saves, not numbers that seem all that attractive. But, he did finish with 45 saves, good enough for fourth in the league, and a fastball that averaged close to 97 mph.
Rosenthal’s bread and butter is his changeup, but everything he does works off of his fastball. In 2014, hitters were seeing Rosenthal’s fastball a bit better as evidenced by the drop in pitch value. While the pitch value of the fastball dropped from an 11.1 to 2.7, his changeup rose from 1.4 to 5.9 in 2014 (per FanGraphs). Rosenthal’s changeup was hit to a tune of just .088 and incurred and K% of 42.9%; and even when the batter managed to make contact, Rosenthal allowed a BABIP of only .161.
Rosenthal’s fastball may be a bit more predictable now, but he has a changeup that can shut down a game. I fully expect the Cardinals to give him more than enough opportunities to prove his worth as a closer.