Steve Cishek had a disastrous season for the Miami Marlins in 2015. The once celebrated closer became an embattled figure in Miami, struggled mightily before being shipped off to St. Louis. This development led to long-time setup man A.J. Ramos being promoted to closer where he thrived during the 2015 season and made his emphatic case to say in the closer role.
Ramos appeared in 71 games in 2015, and collected 31 saves in the process. In his 70 innings of bullpen work, Ramos amassed a 2.30 ERA and ended above replacement level with a 1.1 WAR. These are respectable numbers for a closer, even with the small save number. Ramos also continued to be a strikeout artist, with a 31.4 strikeout percentage the second highest of his career in the major leagues.
Ramos also featured a low walk percentage, only issuing free passes 9.4% of batters, the lowest of his brief career. also worth noting, Ramos only had 6 blown saves in 38 save opportunities last season. All average to above average numbers for a higher usage reliever.
So why would the Marlins go with Ramos again this year at closer? It’s simple, Ramos when given the opportunity was successful within the role. He made the most of his very limited save opportunists, and was consistent when called upon out of the bullpen. Also, Ramos is still relatively young at 29 years old, and has only completed one season at closer in his three full major league seasons.
Another plus, Ramos is cheap and controllable. His first year of arbitration eligibility is 2016 and he only has a cap hit of $530,000. Extremely cheap for a solid closer and well below what most decent closers run at major league standards.
So why not keep Ramos around? He’s solid, cheap, controllable, and pretty darn good. He’s worth keeping around for atleast one more season. You never know how effective Ramos could potentially be with a full season under his belt of closing,