Jays Future Closer?

The amount of blown saves the Jays have had this year and last highlights a big weakness on our roster. We thought we solved that problem in the offseason by acquiring Sergio Santos, but so far he hasn't exactly been lighting it up, nor has his defacto replacement CoCo.

Now the guy who has replaced Santos as White Sox closer is Addison Reed a hard throwing former San Diego State pitcher taken by Chicago in the 3rd round (95th overall). He was drafted in 2010 and moved quickly through the system. He was a closer during his sophomore year in college, before being converted to a starter in his junior year. When the White Sox drafted him they returned him to his original role and he flourished.

Reed's stats so far this year in the Majors have been pretty good: 0.00era 0.80whip 2sv 10ip 5h 3bb 14so

His minor league stats in AA, and AAA:

(AA) 0-1 0.87era 2sv 20.2ip 10h 6bb 33so

(AAA) 0-0 1.27era 2sv 21.1ip 8h 3bb 28so

Like Drew Storen, Huston Street, Chad Cordero, and others before him, he was a college closer, who was drafted fairly early, and made it to the Show almost immediately.

The Jays with their bullpen needs may have a similar player in their system in RHP prospect John Stilson, who like Reed was taken in the third round of the MLB draft (108th overall), but would have gone much higher were it not for an arm injury that cut his junior season short.

Like Reed, Stilson was a closer during his sophomore year, and was subsequently converted into a starter in his draft year. Here are their numbers side-by-side.


(Stilson) 33(g) 9-1(w-l) 0.80(era) 10(sv) 79(ip) 51(h) 23(bb) 114(so)

(Reed) 25(g) 0-0(w-l) 0.65(era) 20(sv) 27.2(ip) 20(h) 7(bb) 38(so)


(Stilson) 13(gs) 5-2(w-l) 1.68(era) 91.1(ip) 75(h) 29(bb) 92(so)

(Reed)11(gs) 8-2(w-l) 2.50(era) 79.1(ip) 65(h) 16(bb) 90(so)

Both posted very strong numbers as both starters and relievers in college. Their stuff also compares favourably.

Reed's scouting report:

Addison Reed, RHP, 6`3 215, 23-years-old

*Fastball: 94-96, 97 peak (in relief)

*Slider - Plus, hard biting, out pitch.

*Change - Average, lacks feel.

*Great control.

*Good command.

Stilson's scouting report:

John Stilson, RHP, 6'4 190, 21-years-old

*Fastball - 94-96, 98 peak (in relief)

*Change - Circle change with plus fade, out pitch.

*Slider - Above-average with good bite.

*Control & Command - Solid.

Differences? Reed is a bigger more physical guy, while Stilson is more athletic. Stilson's three-pitch repetoire seems more conducive to being a starter than Reed's, though I think both should be relievers long term.

Right now all of Stilson's minor league stats have been compiled as a starter, while Reed did not start a single game while in the minors. (note the games started stat for Stilson vs. Reed)

(Stilson) 7(gs) 0-0(w-l) 1.82(era) 24.2(ip) 23(h) 11(bb) 20(so)

(Reed) 15(g) 2-0(w-l) 1.59(era) 1(sv) 28.1(ip) 21(h) 4(bb) 39(so)

Currently, Stilson is being groomed as a starter, as the mantra is usually that a starter is more valuable than a reliever. As a starter Stilson probably has the talent to be a very good number 3 starter or borderline number 2 if everything breaks right. But as a reliever he could be quite dominant one would think.

Given the depth the Jays have built in the starting rotation both at both the major league and minor league levels.

The depth chart off the top of my head:

Ricky Romero Drew Hutchison Asher Wojiechowki Noah Syndergaard Adonis Cardona

Brandon Morrow Joel Carreno Sam Dyson Justin Nicolino Roberto Osuna

Henderson Alvarez Jesse Chavez Sean Nolin Aaron Sanchez Daniel Norris

Kyle Drabek Deck McGuire Anthony Descalfani Kevin Comer

Dustin McGowan Chad Jenkins Joe Musgrove

And the need for good bullpen arms at the major league level, surely some thought has been given to using Stilson in the role that most prospect analysts believe he would excel the most in.

Now I'm not saying that Stilson should be given the reigns to the closer's role. That belongs to Sergio Santos until informed otherwise. But surely having this kind of arm in a setup role, would be much better than having CoCo the Clown coming out of the pen during crucial situations.

If converted back to a reliever Stilson could probably make his big league debut by the end of the year at the earliest, or more realistically, early next season (perhaps even breaking camp with the team.)

Now if you don't like the Stilson to reliever idea, maybe one of the potential reliever's available in this draft might be a better option. Given the new spending rules implemented by the CBA, there may be some value in taking a signable college closer with one of the team's early or mid-round picks.

Marcus Stroman, a potnetial draft pick as a right-handed starter, could make a dynamite closer in the mould of a Tom Gordon if a team chose to put him in that role.

Brendan Kline another right-handed pitcher, who like Reed and Stilson, has made the switch to starter this year, could be a very good reliever with his mid 90's fastball and plus curveball combo.

Both are likely to go in the first round or supplemental.

Other options for the compensation round and beyond can be found here

1) Austin Maddox, C/RHP, 6'3 220, Florida, NCAA

(2012) 15(ap) 2-1(w-l) 8(sv) 2.08(era) 26(ip) 18(h) 7(bb) 31(so) 2(hr)

Big strong righty, athletic, two way player. His fastball sits at 92-96 mph and he throws three pitches for strikes including a power slider at 84 mph, and an 81mph changeup. His fastball has heavy sink as well. He’ll only be 21 at draft. VIDEO

2) Nolan Sanburn, RHP, 6’1 205, Arkansas, NCAA

(2012) 9(ap) 2-1(w-l) 0(sv) 3.24(era) 16.2(ip) 16(h) 8(bb) 19(so)

He can overpower hitters with a fastball that sits in the 91-94 mph range and gets as high as 98. Impressive fastball command. Impressive slider, projects as a plus pitch. Bulldog mentality and stuff would make him an excellent late inning reliever, but his repertoire could allow him to be used as a starter also. VIDEO

3) JT. Chargois, RHP, 6’1 175, Rice, NCAA

(2012) 14(ap) 4(sv) 2-1(w-l) 3.38(era) 16(ip) 11(h) 8(bb) 15(so) 1(hr)

Until this year the stuff had always been better than the numbers for Chargois. Though he has limited experience on the mound, his stuff is incredible. Chargois goes after hitters with a sinking fastball in the 92-96 range and a plus power curveball that ranged from 78-83. His delivery has some violence, and he profiles as a reliever all the way, but he has filthy, back-of-the-bullpen stuff. VIDEO

4) Jake Barrett, RHP, 6’3 220, Arizona State, NCAA

(2012) 13(ap) 1-2(w-l) 4(sv) 1.80(era) 15(ip) 10(h) 2(bb) 18(so) 1(hr)

Barrett has a big-league body, a plus-plus fastball (94-97 mph) in relief and an above average splitter. His fastball has late life. He has the stuff to be a starter but his size to go along with a maximum effort delivery and spotty command have many believing he's a reliever. Often gets body comps to big relievers like Heath Bell and Jonathan Broxton. VIDEO

5) RJ Alvarez, RHP, 6’0 165, Florida Atlantic, NCAA

(2012) 14(ap) 3-0(w-l) 4(sv) 0.79(era) 22.2(ip) 13(h) 5(bb) 29(so) 1(hr)

Lightening fast arm. Alvarez has one of the best pure arms in college. He sits 92-94 with his fastball, reaching 96 often. He has worked exclusively in relief, but Alvarez flashes the secondary pitches to potentially be a successful starter at the next level. He mixes a sharp, downer curveball at 78-80, which flashes plus, as well as a quality changeup at 80-84. Alvarez has a lot of effort in his delivery and throws across his body. VIDEO

6) Michael Morin, RHP, 6’4 207, North Carolina, NCAA

(2012) 17(ap) 4-1(w-l) 8(sv) 0.74(era) 24.1(ip) 16(h) 5(bb) 26(so) 0(hr)

Morin is one of the best college arms of the 2012 class. He already has a pro frame, and above average athleticism. He has an excellent fastball at 88-92, that he can run up to 95 on occasion. His two seamer has good sink to it, and he flashes an average curve, and a changeup, that is a true plus pitch. Outstanding numbers as the closer for UNC.

7) Kyle Hooper, RHP, 6’4 195, UC Irvine, NCAA

(2012) 3-1(w-l) 1.30(era) 27.2(ip) 17(h) 3(bb) 28(so) 1(hr)

A big righthander, Hooper has a prototypical pitcher’s frame. Works downhill with a low 90s fastball. Solid command of his secondary pitches, including a big curve that is 76 -80mph. He attacks hitters and shows good control of all his pitches.

8) Matt Koch, RHP 6’3 185, Louisville, NCAA

(2012) 10(ap) 0-1(w-l) 4(sv) 2.70(era) 13.1(ip) 16(h) 3(bb) 18(so) 0(hr)

Throws 91-95 mph, with a plus late-breaking slider at 81-83 and an aggressive approach. His changeup is still a work in progress, but his power fastball-slider combination should be plenty effective in a relief. Excellent command. VIDEO

9) Luke Bard, RHP, 6’2 183, Georgia Tech, NCAA

(2012) 11(ap) 1-0(w-l) 2(sv) 0.99(era) 27.1(ip) 20(h) 6(bb) 26(so) 0(hr)

One of the top closers in the ACC, Georgia Tech’s Luke Bard is a right handed pitcher with a good projectable frame and power stuff. Fastball sits consistently in the 92-93 range, with possibly more velocity in there. He controls his fastball well, and the pitch has solid movement. Has thrown a curveball and changeup in the past, but as a reliever relies mostly on his heater and a vicious slider, which is his best pitch. Brother of Red Sox pitcher Daniel. VIDEO

The question is, would you be amendable to taking a reliever only prospect with one of our draft picks? Would the third round be the earliest you'd be willing to take one? This is only obliquely related to our present bullpen woes, as obviously either of the options would not be ready to help us until next season, realistically. This is more about how much value should we place on a relief prospect, in light of the team's depth in starting pitching and our roster needs.

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