Arodys Vizcaino began the season helping to get the ball to Jim Johnson and he ended up taking the job from him after Johnson underperformed. He could have had the job coming out of camp, but Vizcaino could not throw strikes in 2016 and the team did not trust him with the job full-time. He cut his walk rate nearly in half last season (to 3.3 BB/9) and got back to getting ahead in the count so he could expand the strike zone. He's a flyball risk in a (so far) hitter-friendly park (43.5 flyball percentage), but the strikeout rate (10.1 K/9), swinging-strike rate (14.7 percent) and walk rate are all closer worthy. He does have a bit of a splits issue, but that is only because he is so much tougher on righties whereas lefties have a better chance to square him up. He enters 2018 as a relatively low-cost closer option who could end up equaling his 33 career saves during the upcoming season.
Vizcaino gave up a hit in a scoreless inning of work during Tuesday's Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays. He now has a 0.00 ERA through his first three spring innings, but he has yet to strike out a batter -- somewhat surprising for a pitcher with a career 10.2 K/9 in the majors, although the sample size is so small as to be nearly meaningless. Vizcaino is set as the Braves' closer to begin the season, but if his lack of dominance so far is an early sign of yet another arm issue, A.J. Minter is waiting in the wings.
Vizcaino agreed to a one-year, $3.4 million deal with the Braves on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com reports. Vizcaino receives a substantial raise over the $1.55 million he earned in his first year of arbitration. He will enter this season as the Braves' closer after going 14-for-17 on save chances last season. Vizcaino is a decent fantasy option for 2018, but the Braves have a plethora of electric arms in their bullpen, in the minors and in their starting rotation, many of whom could profile as potential ninth-inning options at some point in the coming years. He will have to pitch well to hold onto the job.
Vizcaino pitched a scoreless ninth inning to collect his 14th save of the season during Sunday's win over Miami. The hard-throwing righty converted 14 of 16 saves for the campaign and posted a strong 2.83 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 10.0 K/9 through a career-high 57.1 innings. Vizcaino should open 2018 as the favorite to close out games for Atlanta, though plenty can change over the course of the offseason depending on the potential acquisition of additional bullpen help.
Vizcaino struck out all three batters he faced to collect his 13th save of the season in a win over Philadelphia on Saturday. There have been a few rough outings for Vizcaino since taking over the closing job, but he's now finished off 11 of his last 12 save opportunities and sports a 2.88 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 for the season. He's locked in as a must-own fantasy asset, and the hard-throwing righty should have a firm grasp on the closing role for the Braves to start the 2018 campaign.
Vizcaino struck out the side during a scoreless ninth inning to convert his 12th save of the season during Thursday's win over Washington. Vizcaino issued three bases-loaded walks in Wednesday's loss, so this was a strong bounce-back outing from the hard-throwing righty. The 26-year-old reliever now sports a 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 9.8 K/9 to go along with his 12 saves, and while Wednesday's poor showing is concerning, Vizcaino is locked in as the Atlanta closer. Saves are at a premium in September, too.