The Padres have a strong and rich tradition of having dominant closers from Hall of Famer Goose Gossage through Cy Young Award Winner Mark Davis and of course most recently, second All-Time Saves Leader, Trevor Hoffman and his replacement, three-time All-Star, Heath Bell. Going from the PEN-i-tentiary to the Octopus Arms.
Brad Boxberger - A former supplemental pick out of USC. Starter turned reliever as a part of the Latos deal. Throws in the low to mid 90s but has three other quality pitches may be the longer term candidate. Projection: 8th Inning specialist in 2013?
Brad Brach- Has led three levels in saves, a little old for his league but consistently misses bats and has a 10+ strikeout ratio. Doesn't seem to be trusted to be the future closer but should figure into the equation given his stats and his closer role in A, AA, AAA. 6-7th inning speciality in 2013.
Anthony Bass - Surprisingly effective as a spot starter last year. He has a mid-90s fastball but it is very straight. Probably will get a chance to nab the 5th starter spot with Wade LeBlanc being traded but given his limited pitch repertoire seen as a reliever by some. Long reliever, spot starter by 2013?
Joe Thatcher - The oft-injured left-hander with the 3/4 motion. Came back from a major injury but strikeout ratio went way down from 12 in 2010 to 7 in 2011. Has propensity for giving up a lot of fly balls and long balls, so Petco might be his best fit. Situational lefty if can remain healthy in 2012, probably traded at some point.
Josh Spence - The fast-rising reliever out of Arizona State who was the first player to reach the majors out of the 2010 draft when he was called up straight out of Double-A. Not a thrower topping out at 87 but a pitcher who mixes speeds and knows how to keep hitters off-balance with his above average slider and changeup. Started off virtually unhittable but either the scouting reports or his own confidence seemed to catch up with him toward the end of the year. If regains his form, 7th or 8th inning specialist.
Cory Burns - Models his pitching motion after Hideo Nomo. Doesn't have the mid-90s fastball but know how to pitch with deception. Worry that deception won't translate above AA but Padres like the deception angle as evidenced by Cla Meredith and Pat Neshek. Hopefully he will be more successful. 7th inning specialist.
Miles Mikolas - the potential closer of the future is still probably at least two years away. He has the high 90s fastball along with a big curve and an intimidating 6'5'' frame. Not to mention, he has been known to eat live lizards which satisfies the closer zaniness requirement. Closer 2013?
Ernesto Frieri- Still has an above 10 strikeout rate but does give up a lot of flyballs. Has a closer swagger and throws in low to mid 90s. Will be 7th or 8th inning guy in 2012?
Luke Gregorsen - didn't really seem the same last year before or after the injury. Went from close to a 11 K/9 strikeout rate to 6 and seemed to struggle with his money pitch, the devastating slider. Wasn't the kind of progression you want to elevate him to closer unlike the buzz two years ago when his slider was unhittable. Hopefully it is the injury and he regains his form although he relies so much on his slider. I have feeling we may sell high with him either way. Traded in 2012?
Huston Street (assumed closer) - Doesn't really make a lot of sense to allow your lone All-Star Heath Bell walk supposedly because he was asking for too much money and then give the same amount ($7 M per) to a guy who was being shopped. Heath definitely seemed to be regressing last year in giving up long balls, and was obviously aided by Petco. Yes, the Padres didn't want to give three years and Street's is for two but really? Although I like the future trade chip theory. Traded by trade deadline in 2012.
I really have no idea. Thoughts?