Texas Rangers: Should Keone Kela Be The Closer in 2018?

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: Keone Kela (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: Keone Kela (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The off-season is far from over, but the Texas Rangers have not added a significant bullpen arm yet. If they don’t add a closer, could Keone Kela get a shot at the job in 2018?

It’s difficult to determine who is going to be the closer for the Texas Rangers. It’s not looking like the team has decided yet, and that could make for an interesting battle in Spring Training. Does Keone Kela have what it takes to survive in the ninth inning?

Last season, Kela went 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 39 games and two saves. He struck out 51 batters in 38.2 innings, and kept opposing batters to a .135 batting average. That was the best AVG of any Rangers pitcher that appeared in at least 15 games.

It’s clear that Kela is one of the elite arms in the Rangers bullpen. He finished with a 0.91 WHIP which was the best on the Rangers organization. The 24-year-old has more potential than most of the pitchers in Arlington.

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The stats don’t lie, and the Rangers need to seriously consider Kela as the future in the ninth inning. Lefty Alex Claudio finished the season as the closer, but the team never announced him as the closer.

The Rangers will likely give multiple pitchers a chance to grab the closer role this spring. Although, Claudio is better in the setup role, and Matt Bush is going to stretch out as a starter. At the end of the day, it looks like Kela is the clear front-runner.

Kela has just three career saves in the Majors, but that shouldn’t be an issue. He is by far the best reliever in the Rangers organization, and has earned an opportunity to close out games. We’ll have to wait and see, but Kela definitely looks like the next closer in Arlington.

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