For years, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman was considered one of the best closers in baseball. His blazing fastball and devastating slider made him nearly un-hittable in the ninth inning. But now, there's a new sheriff in town.
Alexis Diaz, the younger brother of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, has taken over the reins as the Reds closer and has quickly established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
Diaz made his major league debut in 2022 and showed flashes of brilliance Diaz had an incredibly high strikeout-rate and recorded 10 saves in 63.2 innings of work. We're not even two months into the 2023 season, and Diaz has already recorded 11 saves and is perfect in save opportunities.
Reds pitcher Alexis Diaz has replaced his brother as the best closer in baseball.
Diaz's success can be attributed to his electric stuff. He has a fastball that plays extremely well in contrast to his slider; one that is nearly as devastating as his brother's. But what sets the younger Diaz apart is his command.
Diaz is a perfect 11/11 this season when facing a save opportunity. Diaz's has only given up seven hits and four earned runs so far, and tallying 37 strikeouts through 19.2 innings pitched. His bid for Reliever of the Year is well under way and there's much more to come.
Of the top closers in the game today, only Carlos Esteves of the Los Angeles Angels rivals Diaz with a flawless record of 12 saves in 12 opportunities and Pierce Johnson of the Colorado Rockies, who's also 11-for-11. Diaz, however, has more punch outs, a lower WHIP, and has yet to allow a home run.
While it's still early in his career, Diaz has already established himself as one of the best closers in baseball. He's a key piece of a Reds team that has playoff aspirations, and his dominance in the closing moments of a game gives the Reds a huge advantage over their opponents.
As for his brother, Edwin Diaz is still a talented pitcher in his own right. He's currently the closer for the New York Mets and has yet to pitch this season due to an injury he suffered celebrating Puerto Rico's win in the 2023 Baseball World Classic. But for now, the title of best closer in baseball belongs to Alexis Diaz.