No disrespect here to Santiago Casilla.
The guy really hasn’t done anything noteworthy to make Giants fans scream for a new man in the ninth.
But Sergio Romo brings more to the table than Casilla (both physically and emotionally) that this club needs as a closer to replace Brian Wilson.
Now, I know Romo doesn’t have the fastball velocity Casilla does. But I’m a huge believer that the stats don’t lie. Here’s a comparison of Romo and Casilla’s key stats last year:
WHIP - Romo: 0.71, Casilla: 1.19
ERA - Romo: 1.50, Casilla: 1.95
K/IP - Romo: 1.46, Casilla: 1.01
K/BB - Romo: 14, Casilla: 1.8
BAA - Romo: .173, Casilla: .183
OBPA - Romo: .197, Casilla: .290
P/IP - Romo: 13.8, Casilla: 16.5
(Key: BAA-batting average against, OBPA-on-base percentage against, P/IP-pitches per inning pitched)
The most overwhelming stats have to be the K/BB ratio and the OBPA. Romo walked just five batters in his 48 innings pitched in 2011, while Casilla walked 25 in almost the same amount of innings (51 2/3). Pair that with Romo’s 70 strikeouts to Casilla’s 45 and you’ve got a K/BB ratio for Romo that shatters that of Casilla.
Think about what you want out of a closer. Fewer guys on base: Romo wins. Fewer runs allowed: Romo wins. Fewer balls in play: Romo wins.
Even Romo, who is considered a “righty specialist,” had a better BAA against lefties (.229) than Casilla (.234).
To top it all off, Romo’s demeanor on the mound is exactly what this team needs in the ninth. Part of what makes Wilson so effective is the atmosphere his entrance creates at AT&T Park. Romo not only sports a fan-crazed beard that rivals Wilson, but he contains a similar love from the fans that would induce the routy crowd that ensues once Wilson trots in from the pen.
Again, nothing against Casilla. He’s a vital piece to the Giants bullpen. But his ninth inning entry is nothing for the fans, both statistically and emotionally, to get excited about.