Atlanta Braves Need a Closer Not Named Arodys Vizcaino

DENVER, CO - APRIL 7: Arodys Vizcaino
DENVER, CO - APRIL 7: Arodys Vizcaino /

Arodys Vizcaino has gotten off to a rough start for the Atlanta Braves blowing his first save chance.  His struggles haven’t stopped there walking six in 5.2 innings pitched. Vizcaino isn’t the answer at closer for the Braves.

Looking at the Atlanta Braves bullpen, it is safe to say they lack any proven late-inning options. Arodys Vizcaino is their current closer and has the most experience closing out games.

In his short career, he has converted 33 of 44 save chances with a lifetime 3.25 ERA. Those aren’t bad numbers, and by the numbers alone, Vizcaino should be the Braves’ current closer.

Numbers don’t translate to what the eye test tells Braves fans that have watched Vizcaino for years.  The eye test tells you that Vizcaino’s confidence can easily be shaken when things don’t go his way.

He hands out walks like candy on Halloween especially in high leverage situations, evident by the six he has handed out so far this year.

The closer’s mentality is something that you must have to be a successful closer in Major League Baseball, so if Vizcaino has it, he is doing his best to hide it. This isn’t to say that Vizcaino shouldn’t be on the Braves’ roster.

He brings velocity and an approach that would best benefit the team coming out in the 7th or 8th innings. Vizcaino lacks that mental edge to be a closer in my opinion. An edge bordering on overconfidence, one that Braves fans were spoiled to see for years from Craig Kimbrel.

Arodys Vizcaino is a solid bullpen piece, but one who isn’t suited for the role of a closer on a contending team. Leaving the question as to whether or not the Braves are attempting to contend in 2018?

The answer will be evident both in who the Braves call up and how long of a leash they allow Vizcaino.

In fairness to Vizcaino, he is an upgrade over last year’s closer Jim Johnson.  But he still is far from the shutdown arm the Braves could use in the 9th inning.

One of the six walks that Vizcaino gave up early this season was walking a run home for a walk-off win.  Yet another example of the fact that Vizcaino lacks the needed mental toughness to close out games consistently.

The walk was thought to be a product of Vizcaino’s confidence struggles after he nearly threw a slider away and didn’t look the same since.  Failing to throw a strike, he lost the game in horrible fashion.

Arodys Vizcaino is a nice addition to the Braves’ bullpen. A nice addition that should be utilized in any other role aside from closer.

That leaves the question of who the Braves could use to address the closer role if Vizcaino’s struggles continue? A surprising answer could be A.J. Minter.

Think about the reasoning for a moment and look at what the rookie has done in the early going.  Minter has pitched six shutout innings, only giving up two hits.

Not only that but he has shown a fearless approach on the mound that could earn him a chance at later innings.

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Regardless, of how the Braves choose to address the problem, Vizcaino isn’t the answer at closer. A reality the Braves will have to face soon as long as Vizcaino remains the closer.