I was trading emails with a fellow UBA owner yesterday morning and he thought the Twins should usestarting pitcher Francisco Liriano as their closer to replace Joe Nathan. I think it is a great idea, as Liriano really hasn't held up as a starter in recent years.
In his first two years in the majors, Liriano has made a total of 38 starts. In his career, ;Liriano has performed well in crunch time. According the Baseball-Reference, in high leverage situations, Liriano has held opponents to a .238 BA and a .678 OPS. He has identical stats in situations where there are runners in scoring position with 2 outs. When the situation is "late and close", he holds opponents to a .254-.324-.328-.653 slash line.
And here is an even more telling stat, his opponents first plate appearance again Liriano, batters are hitting .216-.292-.342-.634 with a K/BB rate of 178/56. Quite impressive. In his first 25 pitches of the game, Liriano is holding hitters to a .211-.274-.313-.587 slash line with a K/BB rate of 130/31.
The Twins have their closer and they don't have to look any further than Francisco Liriano.