I know, I know, Sergio Romo isn’t even a closer so why in the hell am I writing about him. Because Romo is the Giants best reliever and it’s only a matter of time before Santiago Casilla coughs up that job. Romo lost the closer job to Casilla in 2014 and that was largely because of a run of bad homer luck (HR/FB spiked to 13% compared to a career of 7.9%). Casilla on the other hand has always had mediocre peripherals and somehow manages to continue to post good ERAs.
(Stats from Fangraphs)
It’s hard to look at this chart and come to the conclusion that Casilla is the better overall pitcher. Romo generates more Ks and walks less batters. Casilla’s career HR.FB is 9.2% while Romo’s is 7.9%. Romo is everything in you want in a late inning RP: he doesn’t give up free bases and he can K the side if he needs to.
Over his career, Casilla has done a great job at beating his peripherals but at some point that luck has to run out and all it would take is a bad 4-5 appearances and it could open the door for the superior Romo to assume the role full time. Casilla had six blown saves last year which was tied for the 7th most for RPs last year (with the six players above him all having seven blown saves). He was lucky enough to spread them out far enough where his job security was never truly in question. However with such a weapon waiting in the wings, how long is Casilla’s leash? If Casilla comes out and struggles in April, how long can Bochy afford to stick with him? I’m going to go with not long at all if the Giants are planning on competing in what should be a more competitive NLW this year.
Steamer is projecting Romo a 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6 Saves, a 24.7 K% and a 6.2 BB%. I’m on board with Romo taking this closer job over before the summer. I’ll give Romo a 2.70 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, 23 Saves, a 28.5 K% and a 4.9 BB%. I think he grabs the job and runs with it. If you play in a holds league, I would absolutely draft Romo as he was second in the majors with 34 Holds in 2015. He provides elite Ks (71 in 57.33 IP) and elite ERA and WHIP. In a non-holds league, I would still debate drafting Romo. If he does inherit the job, he moves to near the top of the closer rankings.