Sure, the kid is young, has a decent fastball and 29 saves. Problem is, he is no where near a consistent closer and every save opportunity he gets is a thrill ride – and not a fun one where you get off buzzin’ but instead the kind where you get off and puke and wonder why your back hurts. You want your mommy and you cry and want your money back, too.
Leo Nunez is responsible for the oil spill in the gulf, the ozone layer deteriorating, and the Marlins’ dip away from the postseason. Ok, maybe the first two are an exageration, but you can argue the last one is not.
You’ve got to wonder what the Marlins’ brass sees in this kid. Edwin Rodriguez keeps dumping him onto the mound in the 9th during close games. He has shown no ability to get outs consistently or even to be consistent with his control. In fact, of the 37 save appearances, he has made 29 saves. That means 8 blown saves. The Marlins lead all of baseball with 23 blown saves. Think about that.
Take half of that number – 12.5. Ok, 12. Add that to the Marlins win total. Where does that put them? You’re damn right, ahead of the Braves, that is for sure.
Now, 8 blown saves out of 37. That means Leo Nunez has almost a 22% failure rate on the season. Now, of the team’s total blown saves, 23, Nunez accounts for 35%.
Let’s face it, that just sucks.
It isn’t that he only has 8 blown saves, but even of his 29 saves there have been some which could have gone the other way, too. Sure, in 53.1 innings, he has only 16 BBs and 58Ks. Solid numbers. He also sports a 3.38 ERA – but that was before giving up 2 home runs to the Braves today. Still, even that number has come down from last year – his ERA was 4.06. He also came into this game only giving up 3 home runs while giving up 13 last season. He even has improved his ground out to air out ratio. Last year it was .91 (meaning more air outs to ground outs – 78:66). This year it is 1.91 (32:59). His WHIP is respectable (1.29) vs. last year (1.25) and he has only given up 53 hits in 53.1 innings.
The problem goes beyond the stats though and into Nunez’s mind. If you watch him come out to the game, he is a wreck. He is chewing his gum faster than a crack fiend, and is sweating like a “woman of ill repute” in church (hey, this is a family site!). What’s worse is, he usually hasn’t thrown a pitch by this point!
Nunez would be a terrific set up man. He can come in, throw his stuff around and if he does any damage, the Fish will at least have a chance to clean it up on offense. There is also no pressure. He is not the last one to take the ball. Clearly, he is not the right choice for the Marlins to end games. They need someone who can throw strikes and be a calming presence at the end of games. Whomever that is, it sure isn’t Hanley’s buddy, Leo Nunez. Get him out of there and NEVER let him close again.
Unless it is for the Phillies, Braves, Mets, etc.