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?
If Babe Ruth had lived into his sixties he would have mellowed into the phase of a man's life when he puts aside many of this world's commitments. Consciously or unconsciously, old people usually adjust their demands to what is possible, in order to get peace of mind. Ruth never reached that age....He was an unwanted man and didn't live to be old enough not to care. - Marshall Smelser