No. 5 Brandon Maurer
It’s obvious Brandon Maurer has the stuff to be a closer. There’s a reason he held that role on a San Diego Padres team that also employed Brad Hand. The problem is, he has yet to learn how to turn that talent into results.
Maurer managed to nail down 20 saves for the Padres with a 3.23 FIP and 1.19 WHIP before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in July along with fellow pitchers Ryan Buchter and Trevor Cahill. From that point on, both numbers basically doubled to a grisly 5.31 and 2.25 respectively. He simply couldn’t get anyone out. A HR/9 of nearly 2.0 didn’t help matters.
So will Maurer be in charge of the ninth inning in 2018? Probably not. His career FIP of 3.91 is much better than his career 5.14 ERA, suggesting his overall performance has been better than his results. Plus, Ned Yost does seem to have some faith in him, giving him a handful of save opportunities before Maurer made it obvious that it wasn’t a great idea. With that said, if a couple of names on this list are not a part of the team next year and he has a strong spring, it could happen.