Is Drew Steckenrider the favorite for the Miami Marlins closer role?

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 16: Drew Steckenrider
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 16: Drew Steckenrider /

Going into Spring Training, is reliever Drew Steckenrider the favorite to win the Miami Marlins open closer role for the 2019 season?

If natural progression means anything, then it will be Drew Steckenrider who fills the open closer’s role for the Miami Marlins in 2019. After a tumultuous season where manager Don Mattingly had to readdress the position many times in 2018, there is hope one of the more important roles on the pitching staff will finally find some consistency.

The Marlins may be holding their breath on this one. Time after time last season, pitchers looked the part and failed, only to be replaced and eventually a “closer by committee approach” was adopted for the last month of 2018.

This is a question Joe Frisaro of talked about in his most recent “Inbox” feature. It should be should be the 27-year-old right-hander on the mound when the game is on the line. But, as it was pointed out, that plan might not be as simple as “plug and play” for this organization.

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"“I’d say that’s a safe assumption [Steckerider winning the closer role], especially when you consider Kyle Barraclough was traded to the Nationals earlier this month,” Frisaro writes. “Dealing Barraclough opened the door for Steckenrider to at least be considered the front-runner to close heading into Spring Training.”"

There are others who will be watched and given the chance to win the spot. Adam Conley for one. Tayron Guerrero and Drew Rucinski may also get a look. There are a few other arms in the team’s minor league system who could impress in Spring Training, but they also might be a year or two away from the Big Show.

Then there is an idea I think works where Sandy Alcantara moves to the pen and uses his plus-fastball as a closer and dominates in that role. Jorge Guzman is still in Single-A ball, but he could be a closer in an Aroldis Chapman-type of role down the line.

Then, there is the Hot Stove season, which Frisaro is considering as well.

"“I wouldn’t be surprised if the club also pursues a veteran who has either closed or pitched in high-leverage situations in the past. But I don’t anticipate that being a pricy free agent,” he wrote."

The thing I like about Steckenrider is he is a homegrown talent and has excelled on each level in the team’s minor league system. He was originally selected in the eighth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.