Value of a good closer
Just how valuable is having a good closer on your team?
In today's game, with a closer only needing to pitch one inning, and usually with nobody on base, how replaceable are they? Couldn't you pretty much put any decent pitcher in that spot, and get nearly the same results as a "premeir" closer in todays game would get you?
A couple things:
There is something to be said for a closer needing a certain mentality on the mound, and being comfortable in that role. Much like a cornerback in football, closers need to have short memories.
Having said that; the closer role only requires a maximum of two pitches in the arsenal. They don't need more because they won't be going through the lineup more than once. Knowing that he can take his two best pitches and only use those, any replacement pitcher in this scenario would be even that much more effective. Also, knowing that you're only out there for one inning, you can blow your wad stamina wise, without worry. A normal 93-95 mph fastball pitcher can let loose for that short period of time and put an extra 3-5 mph behind it (see John Smoltz).
Assuming that he has the mentality for it, and could adapt to the role, I think you could pretty much put any good pitcher in that spot and he'd succeed. Knowing the above factors of course.
So any thoughts?
In Saint Louis that summer (1920), three cowboys were ushered into the Yankee dressing room to meet Ruth. They told him they had ridden three days on horseback to catch a train in Wyoming. "Babe Ruth," one of them drawled, I’d have ridden all the way to Saint Louis to see you hit them home runs." - Kal Wagenheim