Since returning from a hamstring injury in mid-June, San Francisco Giants reliever Santiago Casilla has not allowed a run and has walked just one batter in seven appearances. Overall this season he has a 1.08 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 29 appearances (33.1 innings), and after picking up his second straight save on Sunday manager Bruce Bochy named him the team’s closer going forward.
Casilla has been primarily a set-up man during his career, and a very good one at that with an ERA below 2.90 in each of the last four full seasons (231 appearances), but he did have 25 saves in 31 opportunities for San Francisco in 2012 and should be able pitch effectively in the closer role again.
Casilla has fastball velocity befitting a closer (94 MPH this year, per FanGraphs.com), and a high-end ground ball rate (57.8 percent) to go along with it. But his K/9 rate of 6.5 so far this season and 7.7 for his career is not quite at the level of the best closers around, and his BB/9 rate was above 4.0 in three of the last four years before falling to 2.7 so far this year.
Casilla is currently owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and with save opportunities coming that should continue to rise steadily in the next few days. Mixed league owners should strongly consider adding him right away, even for the short-term with some chance he struggles and moves back to a set-up role. Casilla will carry value in leagues that count holds (10 so far this season) even if he is removed as closer, and with other solid peripherals NL-only league owners can consider him a virtual must-add regardless of a potential change in role down the road.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.