David Aardsma of the Seattle Mariners will be this year's best closer. Seattle rebuilt itself this year by adding a defensive crew capitalized by Chone Figgins, and added Cliff Lee to make a solid one-two punch in its rotation.
Only one thing remains, a closer. Certainly with a team that many suspect to win the West and with two pitchers that will gain a pile of wins, saves would become a common feature in these low scoring games.
Well, it turns out, Aardsma was ready to be a good closer last year too. Before 2009, David had switched from team to team and never had an ERA below 4.00. Though his ERA was a horrific 5.55 in 2008 with Boston, Seattle must have seen something they liked and traded for Aardsma.
If you only took a quick look at Aardsma's 2009 statistics, you would still believe that the decision was a poor one. He went 3-6 last year while coming out of the bullpen, and though he saved 38 games for the losing team, he gave up 23 runs as a relief man in the season.
Those negative statistics show a false story. He gave up only 20 earned runs in 71.1 innings of work to give him a 2.52 ERA, easily the lowest of his career.
Aardsma gave up only 34 walks while striking out 80 hitters, a great number compared to the amount of innings. Batters averaged a very low .190 against the stone-hard right hand pitcher, and Aarsdma had a WHIP (walks/hits per inning) of just 1.16. David gave up just four home runs, making sure that power did not affect his work.
To put it simply, David had an incredible year on a bad team and was able to pull an incredible 38 saves from nowhere. This makes him look very impressive, and gives David a good chance to be an All-Star and the best closer of 2010.
If those stats are good, try throwing in a better lineup and another ace pitcher and see what happens. If Aardsma is able to keep away from walks and keep denying the opponents from hitting home runs, expect 50 saves from the fresh closer.
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