By Todd Farino, The Closer Report
If you have been a reader of mine over the past couple of years, then you know how much I like Jason Motte. I expected him to have this job in 2010, but LaRussa felt we should all wait another year. Last September Motte took over as the closer for the Cardinals and never looked back. He saved eight games in nine opportunities and then continued his streak into the playoffs, saving five of the Cardinals nine playoff wins.
Not only has Motte been tested as a closer, but he has shown that no situation is too hot. He was a closer in waiting for two years and is more than ready for the job full-time. While Motte will deal with bouts of inconsistency upsetting his fantasy owners, they will be pleased with his final season numbers come October. I am projecting Motte as a 40+ save closer and here is why. First off, he pitches for a great team that will be in almost every game come the ninth inning. While the Cardinals have lost bats, they still have great pitching and youth and will contend.
Motte commands his 97 MPH fastball that seems even faster to hitters after 3 hours of baseball. He balances that fastball with a much improved cutter and on occasion will show his curveball to mess with hitters. His out pitch is no doubt the cutter and a closer with a good cutter can be devastating (Look up Mariano Rivera).
The Closer Report 2012 Projections: 41 Sv – 3 Wins – 1.88 ERA – 0.92 WHIP – 71 Ks
2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis:
Motte is a risk, let’s make that clear. He is starting his first full season as the closer and has a history on inconsistency. However, Motte matured a great deal in 2011 and showed us that he can handle the job. I expect him to meet ou projections and have a healthy outstanding season. Motte’s current ADP has him around 186. That is a great risk free spot to grab, but do not hesitate to grab him as early as you can. Other managers will snipe Motte from you if you wait too long.