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San Francisco Giants: Evaluating Free Agent Closer Options

May 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (46) reacts after getting pulled out of the game in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (46) reacts after getting pulled out of the game in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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Nov 2, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws a pitch against the Cleveland Indians in the 8th inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman throws a pitch against the Cleveland Indians in the 8th inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If the San Francisco Giants simply want a flame-thrower who misses bats the most feared closer in the game is set to hit the open market. Aroldis Chapman, 27, barely needs introduction, but his numbers will serve as a reminder in case the world forgot.

He dominated the NL and AL pitching to the tune of a 4-1 record, with a 1.55 ERA in 58 innings pitched, converting 36/39 saves, while striking out 90 and posting a solid 0.83 WHIP.

Beside the fact that Chapman throws 104 mph fastballs, he mixes in a slider and changeup extremely well to keep hitters off balance.

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That assortment of pitches contributes to chapman posting the highest K/9 (13.97), matching Melancon for the highest percentage of saves converted (92%), and the lowest ERA (1.55) amongst his free agent competitors.

His best pitch according to PITCHf/x is his fastball, which averaged 100.4 mph this season, and was used 81.1 percent of pitches thrown. Chapman posted a wFA/C of 2.51 runs saved per 100 pitches thrown, well above average.

However, there are questions about Chapman’s character, spurring from domestic violence charges, which may concern the Giants as they imagine how he’d fit into the culture of their club.

The San Francisco Giants’ culture also involves winning in October, and Chapman has shown out of all available free agent options, he knows how to do it better than his competition, leading the Cubs to a World Series championship.

Chapman posted a 3.55 ERA in 15.2 innings pitched this postseason, while racking up 21 strikeouts. Like Jansen, Chapman was asked to pitch multiple outings of more than one-inning by his manager. Five of his 13 outings were more than an inning, four of which came in the World Series. His longest outing was 2.2 innings during a game five World Series victory, where he struck out four while allowing just one hit.

Chapman is clearly the biggest prize on the free agent reliever market and his price won’t come cheap. He may break the record for a contract inked by a reliever and this may result in the Giants looking at the latter two.

Furthermore, look for the Giants to do more than just check-in with Chapman once, since this time prospects aren’t tied to progression of a deal.  The San Francisco Giants will also check in with another closer that they were close to acquiring at the deadline.

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