Searching for Saves: Could Kevin Ginkel Emerge As Arizona’s Closer In 2020?


Archie Bradley is penciled in as the Diamondbacks closer once again for 2020, whenever the season commences, but does that mean he’s guaranteed to hold onto the role all year long?  It’s not like he was lights out in the role in 2019, who posted a 1.44 WHIP courtesy of some poor luck (.337 BABIP) and subpar control (4.52 BB/9).  Considering his 42.3% Hard%, his second straight season north of 40%, there’s obvious concerns.

Enter Kevin Ginkel, who made his presence felt late in 2019.  Overall he posted a 1.48 ERA over 24.1 IP in the Majors (after a 1.62 ERA in 16.2 IP at Triple-A), and the Diamondbacks showed confidence in his late inning ability as he picked up 2 SV over the final two weeks of the season.

Ginkel did the job with impressive swing and miss stuff, as he was generating impressive SwStr% at Double-A (19.7%), Triple-A (21.3%) and the Majors (14.1%) last season.  Clearly his slider is his best pitch, with a 22.47% Whiff%. 

Is the arsenal deep enough to play in the Majors?  Here’s how describes his stuff:

Ginkel’s 93-96 mph fastball features a high spin rate that causes it to play at a higher effective velocity that nets him swinging strikes inside the zone. He throws his plus slider with depth and bite in the mid-80s and recorded a whiff nearly 45 percent of the time with the pitch in his first taste of the Majors. Ginkel has a serviceable changeup at his disposal, though he rarely throws it, instead relying on the strength of his fastball-slider pairing. He’s consistently around the plate with all three pitches and has a track record of missing bats, having posted K/9 rates of 13.0 in Double-A, 19.4 in Triple-A and 10.4 with Arizona.

As a reliever he can get by with two pitches, though it’s fair to be concerned.  That said we’ve seen elite closers thrive with one pitch, assuming it’s dominant enough, so we aren’t going to hold it against him.

Home runs could become an issue, however, given his lack of groundballs at each level:

  • Double-A – 48.4%
  • Triple-A – 39.1%
  • Majors – 34.5%

Obviously it wasn’t an issue last season, but it’s something to watch closely.  Much like the arsenal, it’s not enough of a concern to discredit him, and it’s highly possible he gets his opportunity.  At the very least he should be a great source of HLD, but even as a sleeper for SV he’s well worth targeting.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball,


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