Joakim Soria: Best Start in Kansas City Royals History

T KCorrespondent IMay 16, 2008

After Octavio Dotel was traded to the Braves in late July last year, some wondered if the 23-year old rookie Joakim Soria could shoulder the load as the Royals closer. Soria flourished in the closer role; he converted 7 out of 8 save opportunities, sported a 2.55 ERA, and had a blistering 24/4 K/BB ratio in 24.2 innings. Batters hit just .174 off of him and he only let up 6 extra base hits. How could he top that?

Answer: by having a 0.00 ERA in 17 appearances this year. This is the best start any reliever has ever had in a Royals uniform. He's given up only 4 hits in 16.2 innings which equates to a .075 batting average. He let up a double to the first batter he faced this season. Since then, he's faced 56 batters and only two were privileged to reach second. No one has touched third base or home plate while Soria was on the mound. He has the lowest WHIP (0.31) in the league and the best K/BB rate among closers. The list goes on and on.

He is only 24 years old, but it would be hard to argue that he isn't the best closer in the game right now. Soria, Billy Wagner, and BJ Ryan are the only relievers to not let up an earned run in at least 10 innings. Wagner has allowed three more baserunners than Soria in less work while Ryan has allowed twice as many as Soria.

Oh, and Octavio Dotel has a 1.442 WHIP this year.