Five Major Questions for the Marlins in 2016

Photo Courtesy: Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America

Photo Courtesy: Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America

5. Who is Going to Close Games? 

The bullpen as a whole is expected to be a area of strength for the Marlins in 2016, and will be relied upon greatly considering how weak the rotation looks behind Fernandez and Chen.

However, there is one major question that the Marlins will have to answer by the end of Spring Training:

Who is going to close the game out?

Two young power pitchers did great work in the ninth inning at different points in 2015 after Steve Cishek was demoted: A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps.

Ramos was given the closer’s job on May 24 and had a good season compiling a 2.30 ERA and a 31.4 K% in a little over 70 innings pitched, and he cut his walk rate by 41%.

His first half numbers were even better as he pitched to a 1.11 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched. Ultimately he struggled in the second half with an ERA just under 4.00 (3.94) which is unacceptable for a closer.

Capps became the most unhittable reliever in baseball in his setup role last season with a funky delivery. Capps owned the best perceived velocity of any reliever at 101.1 mph. Aroldis Champan came in second at 100 mph. If you haven’t seen it, Capps essentially crow hops on the mound and vaults himself a few feet closer to the plate at the point of release while also throwing from an awkward arm slot. Capps struck out 58 of the 118 batters he faced last season.

An injury shut down his season sooner than expected but he complied a 1.16 ERA in 31 IP with a 76% whiff rate.

Both Ramos and Capps proved they can close, and unless one stands out from the other in March, the Marlins will have a closer by committee to start the regular season.

One Response

  1. Al-Kendall

    Good questions!
    I believe some answers should be more or less as follows:

    1. Ozuna will not hit 30 HR or get 30 SB. Hopefully, he will be closer to 2014 than to 2015. Yes, his 2015 demotion to AAA helped him play better in the second half.

    2. Jackson and Phelps are more unlikely to be part of the 2016 Marlins rotation than Conley, Cosart, and Koehler.

    3. Capps and Ramos should share the closer role during 2016. Alternating their opportunities will allow both to pitch better. However, the question for Mattingly will be how to use the rest of the bullpen when most of his SP will not get through the 6th. The Marlins will be lucky to get QS from others outside of Fernandez and Chen.


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