The decision to move Kyle Barraclough the closer’s role for the Miami Marlins continues to pay dividends. The team announced on Monday the 28-year-old right-hander was named National League Reliever of the Month.
Barraclough – whose name is pronounced “bear claw” – continues to show he could be the organization’s ninth-inning specialist for the foreseeable future. There are times when using the term “dominant” isn’t warranted when describing a pitcher’s performance, but Barraclough has been just that over the last 30 days.
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Per MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, he converted all seven of his save opportunities and did not permit a single run in 12 innings last month. Opposing hitters had just one single in 36 at-bats against him while striking out 12 times.
“Barraclough’s season ERA is down to 0.99, and his WHIP stands at a microscopic 0.74; both marks rank among the game’s top five pitchers with at least 30 innings on the year,” Kelly wrote.
At the end of May, Marlins manager Don Mattingly made the decision to “promote” Barraclough to the closer’s role, replacing Brad Ziegler. It was a move that was expected at some point this season. The Marlins have other pitchers in their bullpen who are considered potential closers of the future. Tayron Guerrero and Drew Steckenrider could both become ninth-inning specialists, whether in Miami or with other organizations in the future.
Steckenrider has been linked to trade rumors as the MLB trade deadline draws closer. For now, the team will continue to focus on the end of the first half of the season and move forward with its bullpen of young talent and look to Barraclough to hold down the fort when needed.
Mattingly told MLB.com last week Barraclough has been solid all season, long before the decision was made to make the change in the bullpen. He has also added to his array of pitches, which has made him harder to hit. Mattingly has been pleased with what he has seen so far.
“He’s been good,” manager Mattingly said. “He was good before that. We wouldn’t have put him in that role if he wasn’t good. His fastball command has improved. He’s getting ahead in the count. Obviously, he’s added the changeup, that’s another thought for the hitter.”