Phillies: Could Hector Neris be the long-term closer?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 09: Hector Neris #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks to the sky after beating the San Diego Padres 7-1 at Citizens Bank Park on July 9, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 09: Hector Neris #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks to the sky after beating the San Diego Padres 7-1 at Citizens Bank Park on July 9, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Will Hector Neris be the long term solution at closer for the Phillies or will the team head in another direction entering next season?

The Phillies have had numerous issues this season, contributing to a poor 39-69 record entering playon Sunday. One area where they could be in good position moving forward is at closer. Albeit a small sample size, Hector Neris has been solid, converting ten of 13 saves with an ERA of 3.06. He’s struck out 53 and walked 18 in 50 innings of work.

Looking back to the 2015 season, the club appeared to be making a transition to closer from Jonathan Papelbon to Ken Giles, who combined for 32 saves and an ERA well below 2.00.

After Papelbon went to the Nationals and Giles to the Astros, Jeanmar Gomez took over in 2016. Gomez had some success, saving 37 games but had an alarmingly high 4.85 ERA for a closer and allowed ten more hits than innings pitched. Gomez is now out of the picture, pitching in the Brewers organization.

More from Phillies News

What some people may not recall, the man getting the ball to Gomez was Neris, who was excellent in 2016. Neris allowed on 59 hits and struck out 102 in 80 1/3 innings, posting an ERA of 2.58 and a WHIP of 1.11.

Clearly in rebuilding mode which likely will last another few seasons, Neris is far from a lock to close next season. Looking within the organization, Pedro Beato saved 27 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with an ERA of 2.72.

Beato has pitched in 85 career Major League games and could get a look this season or compete for the job next spring.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Looking back to Double-A Reading, no pitcher currently on the roster has more than seven saves. It’s unlikely that the Phillies closer in 2018 would come from the Double-A level, which means the rest of the roster or a free agent is the likely route the Phillies will go to search for the closer for next year. This is assuming they feel Neris isn’t the answer.

Who on this year’s roster has shown they can move into the role? Luis Garcia has had the best season of any reliever currently on the Phillies roster, posting an ERA of 2.63 in 48 innings. He has little experience as a closer, saving just three in 168 career games.

At this point the candidates for next season appear to be Hector Neris as the front runner, with Garcia and Beato as competition.

Next: Phillies legend Darren Daulton dead at 55

My best guess is for the Phillies to look to add to the mix in free agency, but the role next year is likely for Neris to lose. One can only hope the 28-year old continues to develop and be the man to close out games when they become contenders in a few seasons.

facebooktwitterreddit