Detroit Tigers: Only Two Real Closing Candidates Other Than Francisco Rodriguez

Apr 8, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) and relief pitcher Justin Wilson (38) celebrate after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann (34) and relief pitcher Justin Wilson (38) celebrate after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Apr 13, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Joe Jimenez pitches in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Wilson
Age: 29
Throws: Left-Handed
Career Saves: Two (Both in the Majors)

Justin Wilson struggled at times in 2016 for the Detroit Tigers, but has been superb this season.

In eight appearances, the southpaw has totaled 7.1 shutout frames.

Functioning as Rodriguez’ top setup man, Wilson has punched out 13.50 batters per nine innings, while posting a miniscule 0.409 WHIP. He also owns a 14.5 swinging strike percentage.

The only downside to moving Wilson into a closer is who takes over as the top eighth inning option.

This could be Rodriguez in time, but Alex Wilson and Greene seem like the most logical choices. Jimenez is another hypothetical option if he doesn’t close.

Joe Jimenez
Age: 22
Throws: Right-Handed
Career Saves: 54 (All in the Minors)

Speaking of Jimenez, the Detroit Tigers’ top relief pitching prospect has already pitched for the team this season.

In his Major League debut, the 22-year-old struck out a batter in a perfect inning.

Entering Thursday, Jimenez had worked four innings at the minor league level in 2017, striking out seven of the 16 batters he faced while surrendering just three hits and two walks.

All told, the right-hander has struck out 13.1 batters per nine innings in his career. His lifetime WHIP sits at 0.860.

Next: Previewing the Rest of the Tigers' April Schedule

In his professional career, Jimenez has only posted a FIP over 2.00 once. That was in 2016 with Triple-A Toledo. His FIP with the Mud Hens that season? Just 2.72.