Frank Francisco ended his 2008 season by going a respectable 5-for-5 in save opportunities. Although this does not guarantee him the job in 2009, he is the front-runner to close games for the Rangers.
But will he be effective in 2009?
To be effective, a closer needs to hold leads late in games when the pressure becomes unbearable for most.
One stat that can be used to measure how well a pitcher performs in pressure situations is his K/BB ratio. If a closer can keep this stat high, he'll be able to keep players off the basepaths and decrease the other teams ability to manufacture runs.
In 2008, Frankie had a K/BB ratio of 3.19 in 63.1 IP.
Compared to closers with at least 30 saves he would rank between Joakim Soria and Brad Lidge (putting him ahead of Major League saves leader Francisco Rodriguez).
If Frank Francisco can keep his strikeouts high and limit the number of walks he allows, he will enjoy success as the Rangers closer in 2009.