Is Glen Perkins Becoming the Best Closer in the American League?

By Bryan Lutz
Jesse Johnson – USA TODAY Sports

I can hear you laughing as I’m typing this. Even though I just wrote the title, I keep thinking to myself that I have to be crazy. Is it really possible that the Minnesota Twins have the best closer in the American League in Glen Perkins? Just a few years ago Perkins was a guy that was a failed starter that turned into a reliever in order to stick around the big leagues. Moreover, it’s not like Perkins has a devastating fastball or off-speed pitch. Fact of the matter is: Glen Perkins appears to be a completely normal reliever to the layman — but the layman cannot see the whole picture of Perkins’ awesomeness.

It’s hard to believe that Perkins could sit atop on the AL closer rankings, but when you really think about it the best closers are in the National League. The big four in the American League, as it stands right now, are Perkins, another surprise in Casey Janssen, Jim Johnson and Mariano Rivera just because it’s Mariano Rivera. There definitely isn’t a closer out west that I would take over Perkins, although Joe Nathan is still getting it done. In terms of Perkins’ division, Addison Reed has emerged as a shutdown type of guy, but I still need to see more than a month of greatness out him. Finally, in the AL East, Fernando Rodney has remembered that he is Fernando Rodney and not Dennis Eckersley.

As it stands right now, Perkins hasn’t allowed a run for the Twins in eight appearances while striking out over 12 batters per nine innings. His great start has already earned him a 0.5 fWAR, which is pretty remarkable for a reliever.

So, even though the Twins’ pitching staff isn’t anything to write home about, they might have the AL’s best closer trotting out in the ninth inning. That will help them win games in 2013, or possibly net them a sweet package in a possible trade. Either way, Perkins is a nice weapon to have at your team’s disposal.

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