Raisel Iglesias is primed to be the Braves closer of the future

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Braves Country will forever cherish Alex Anthopoulos for his otherworldly 2021 trade deadline. Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, and Jorge Soler played pivotal moments in the team’s championship run. Pederson was the life of the clubhouse, Rosario won NLCS MVP honors, and Soler finished with the World Series MVP award. It was an unbelievable set of moves by AA, but one of his more recent trades has a chance to be as impactful as Raisel Iglesias is primed to be the Braves closer of the future.

It was the best trade deadline acquisition of the 2022 cycle; a move that sent Tucker Davidson and Jesse Chavez to the Angels for Iglesias. When Atlanta acquired the eight-year veteran, he had just been a solid reliever with a respectable 2021 campaign, finishing the season with a 2.57 ERA. He began the 2022 season with Los Angeles in a slump.

Through 39 games and 35.2 innings with the Angels, he had a 4.04 ERA, but his 3.17 FIP suggested positive regression was in line. The Angels were clearly feeling some buyer’s remorse. The club traded the 32-year-old just a couple of months after they had re-signed him to a four-year, $58 million contract in the offseason. But once he arrived in Atlanta, everything changed. In just two months with the Braves, he improved those numbers exponentially, finishing the 2022 season with a 2.47 ERA and FIP.

Through 28 games with the Braves, Iglesias was untouchable, posting an eye-popping 0.34 ERA. He was undoubtedly the best relief pitcher in baseball after the trade deadline. Over 26.1 innings, he only gave up one earned run and five walks, good for a 0.835 WHIP. Some of his other stats seem like a mistype, but they aren’t. He had a 1203 ERA+ during his time in Atlanta. And the advanced analytics back up that success. His Baseball SavantĀ page is a sea of red.

To make things even sweeter, the Braves have him under contract for three more years, which undoubtedly motivated Anthopoulos to get the deal done. Iglesias will be the team’s closer through the 2025 season at a very reasonable $16 million per season. And the reality is that it only cost the organization Tucker Davidson. Now, it would be asinine to expect Iglesias to pitch an entire season closing games with the same effectiveness as he did in the final 28 games. He’s certainly due for some regression, but he should’ve taken over for Kenley Jansen at one point last season, so I don’t think the Braves are worried about slight regression.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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