MIAMI -- It took 11 seasons and handling several bullpen roles before Brad Ziegler reached the century mark for saves.In the Marlins' 6-3 win over the Braves on Friday at Marlins Park, Ziegler recorded his 100th Major League save. When the time comes for Miami to pass the torch to
MIAMI -- It took 11 seasons and handling several bullpen roles before Brad Ziegler reached the century mark for saves.
In the Marlins' 6-3 win over the Braves on Friday at Marlins Park, Ziegler recorded his 100th Major League save. When the time comes for Miami to pass the torch to a new closer, Ziegler feels three relievers currently on the roster are capable of reaching 100 or more saves in their career.
The trio consists of 27-year-olds: Drew Steckenrider, Kyle Barraclough and rookie Tayron Guerrero.
"Those three guys have a possibility to go way, way higher than that, too," Ziegler said on Saturday. "Stuff-wise, they all have got power stuff, and command of it. That's a huge plus. Walking guys in the late innings makes it really hard. The biggest thing you see is hitters are uncomfortable in their at-bats.
"When big league hitters are reacting that way against guys, then you know that there is something that is very deceiving, very overpowering to hitters. Assuming they stay healthy, and assuming they just keep enhancing their stuff and their command, it's just going to get better."
The Marlins currently aren't looking to make a change to the back of their bullpen, because they like the way the unit is constructed. Based on matchups, Barraclough, Steckenrider and Guerrero have been handling the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, bridging the game to Ziegler in the ninth.
Once this year, Barraclough recorded the save when he was called upon because Ziegler wasn't available.
Still, on any given night, Steckenrider, Barraclough and Guerrero could get the nod to close.
"In that role, you'd like for that guy to be able to hold runners, and you'd like for that guy to be able to throw strikes, and make them earn what they get," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "And you'd like some swing and miss. You'd like to be able to get out of a jam with a strikeout."
Barraclough has the most experience, with 179 2/3 career big league innings.
In terms of pure velocity, Guerrero brings a four-seam fastball that averages 97.97 mph, according to Statcast™. But the right-hander doesn't have much experience, having logged 20 1/3 career frames in the Majors.
Steckenrider entered the series with the Braves as arguably the Marlins' top reliever, but the right-hander has struggled in two outings. In Saturday's 10-5 loss, he was charged with two runs in the eighth inning, walking three and allowing one hit with a strikeout.
For the season, Steckenrider has struck out 24 and walked eight in 17 1/3 innings. He recorded a save last season as a rookie.
"They've all been in tough situations within innings and pitched out of it," Ziegler said. "The ninth inning is no different. The only difference in the ninth is you get a lot more pinch-hitters.
"Teams are playing matchups. They don't care if they're pinch-hitting for their catcher with an outfielder off the bench. They'll figure out the defensive stuff later. It's just anything they can do to extend the game."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.