We received an MMO Mailbag question from JetsMets13 asking for our top five prospects who could potentially close games in the future.
Here are my top five choices for players who could become future closers.
5. Luis Mateo
Mateo might be higher on this list had he not underwent Tommy John last season. Before he went under the knife, he had a solid fastball with a promising curve and probably the most devastating slider in the system. With already solid control and a developing changeup, he very well could end up a starter but due to his injury history, he’s probably destined for the back of the bullpen.
Leathersich offers an above average fastball with movement that induces groundballs and a great number of strikeouts. Also in his repertoire are a solid curve and below average changeup. He struggles with control but with his existing strikeout rate some and some command improvements he could end up a solid closer or dominant set-up man.
Tapia is just 22 years old, yet he throws triple digits fairly consistently. He also does it with acceptable control. If his solid average sinking changeup and slow curve develop a little further he could end up a promising starting pitcher prospect. However, the human body is not designed to throw that hard for multiple innings on every fifth day. To preserve his health, he’s probably better suited as a future closer.
2. Vic Black
Vic Black might not have the same quality stuff as Tapia or Mateo but he will start the season with the big club so he is the closest out of all of these names to get a shot at the closer job. In fact, he had an opportunity last season with Parnell out and impressed. He throws a borderline plus fastball with an average hard slider. In both the minors and majors, Black has struggled with control a bit. However, he is most likely next in line to get a shot to close if Parnell falters this upcoming season which is why he is so high on this list. If Parnell is as good this season as he was last, then Black will most likely be the set-up man and backup closer.
Familia throws in the mid 90’s and can dial it up when he needs to. His fastball also has some nice sink and lateral movement on it, which is absolutely lethal considering he still throws that hard. He currently offers an above average slider and average changeup as well. He has struggled with control in the past but his K:BB ratio has looked good so far in winter ball. If and when Familia learns how to command his pitches, he is the closest thing the Mets have to a future elite closer.