Option 2: Will Harris– Somewhat Likely
Another example of the redemptive work of pitching coach Brent Strom, Harris, in his two years as a member of the Houston Astros, has quietly become one of the most reliable set-up men in the American League.
Since being claimed from waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November 2014, Harris has a record of 5-6 with a 1.61 ERA and a 0.859 WHIP.
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Armed with a cutter and a changeup that Harris throws a combine 94.7% of the time, he has been stellar so far in 2016. In his 18 games, Harris has an ERA and WHIP of 0.48 and 0.70 respectively. He has a batting average against of .159 and leaves runners on base 92.3% of the time.
He is doing all of this with a cutter in the low 90’s and a changeup in the low 80’s. That velocity really doesn’t make him a strikeout type of pitcher, averaging only 8.68 per 9 innings. He is getting the majority of his outs via the ground ball at a whopping 72%.
Why would he be a good fit for the closer role? He is used to those high-pressure situations. So far this season, Harris has already racked up ten holds as the primary set-up man for A.J. Hinch’s bullpen. Also, he does have save experience, recording 2 in 6 chances a year ago.
Like his starting pitcher counterpart Collin McHugh, Harris revived his career as a member of the Astros. Even though it may not be as permanent of a spot if Harris does well like it would be if it were Giles, Harris has earned the opportunity to close games.
Next: Option 3