Could Rule 5 Draft Pick Garrett Whitlock Be A Future Closer for the Red Sox?

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When the Red Sox drafted Garrett Whitlock in the Rule 5 draft, the club envisioned he would be depth as a swingman type pitcher.  This spring, Whitlock has wowed the Red Sox, including his manager Alex Cora.

Photo courtesy of Pinstripe Alley

"He's been great for us, the way he's throwing the ball," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "The way he's getting better, his changeup, his slider, breaking ball, holding runners. He's been solid. As a citizen in the clubhouse, he's been great, following the leaders. He goes to every bullpen that he can, he goes to B games and sim games, he's just enjoying the experience, which is awesome. He's grown as a baseball player in the last few weeks. He's a guy who's opening some eyes. Obviously we have to make a decision, but this is a guy that we really like. We've been very impressed not only with the way he performs on the field, but also the other stuff that comes into it."

The Red Sox have decided that they will keep Whitlock on the 26-man roster for the season. MLB rules dictate that the Red Sox will need to keep him on their roster the entire season. If Boston does, he will officially be part of the organization beyond this season.

The 24-year-old has made his case with his play on the field this spring to be a permanent member of the Red Sox.  This spring, he has an 1.00 ERA and has shown poise while on the mound.  While he has delivered on the mound for Boston, where could Whitlock be used for the Red Sox?

On the Section 10 Podcast this week, co-host Coley Mick asked the question whether or not Whitlock could be the future closer for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox haven’t officially named a closer for this season.  Cora has both Matt Barnes and Adam Ottavino to choose from to shut the door in the ninth.  It is expected that Barnes is the leader in the clubhouse to earn the opportunity, but if he fails to keep the job Boston will need another option.

During his time in professional baseball, Whitlock has not been a closer at any level.  He did have some saves while in college with Alabama-Birmingham.  Despite never closing at the professional level, he has the stuff and make up that he could be an option in the future.

Whitlock talked about his mindset while at camp this spring.  Before finding out he made the team, Whitlock worked hard on and off the field to show his coaches and front office he wanted to be a member of the Red Sox.  "I'll give you the clich√© answer because it's genuinely my mindset," Whitlock told Rob Bradford.  "I'm not taking any days for granted.  Each day I'm here I'm joyful about it and working my tail off.  Keeping my nose to the grindstone.  Until AC says, 'Hey son, you're on the team,' I'm going to keep fighting,  I'm going to keep clawing, and I'm going to keep working my tail off to try and earn the spot."

There has been players who have come out of nowhere to become the closer for the Red Sox.  Back in 2013, Koji Uehara was dominant in his role as closer during the team’s championship run.  While the possibility for Whitlock to be the next closer in Boston is slim right now, that doesn’t mean he isn’t an internal option for the future.


Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

Check out the Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later, the Syndicate’s podcast dedicated solely to the Boston Red Sox and the rest of Major League Baseball.  Follow our Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later on Twitter @RedSoxPod_BSS.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Could Rule 5 Draft Pick Garrett Whitlock Be A Future Closer for the Red Sox?
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