Addison Reed told the media that he never wants to feel he is a lock as the teams closer. He wants to compete and prepare every year the same way he did last season. Manger Robin Ventura would not name Reed as the closer, but it's his job to lose. The Sox have a strong bullpen with other options to close if Reed fails, but my prediction is that Addison Reed will save at least 40 games in 2013.
Reed was 3-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 2012. He converted 29 of 33 save attempts and set a new rookie record for the White Sox. After taking over the closer position from Hector Santiago, Reed was lights out early in the season. Reed struggled in the second half of the season, but most of that was due to amount of innings pitched at the Major League level. His ERA inflated with a few bad outings. With a full year under his belt, Reed now has a better idea what to expect in his second full season. Reed has been working on developing his off speed pitches during the off season and in Spring Training. Reed knows that there will be a book on him this year. Hitters will be looking for the fastball that Reed went to often last year. This season Reed plans to keep hitters off balance with a mixture of pitches. So why do I believe he will save 40 games?
Despite PECOTA predictions, the White Sox are going to contend in 2013. I predict the Sox wining between 84-87 games. They will be in tough race for the Central Division with the Detroit Tigers. Fans shouldn't forget that there are two Wild Card spots as well. With the Sox winning, Reed is going to be called upon in the 9th inning to lock down close games. If you asked Reed he would tell you he wouldn't want it any other way. Reed has a fearless mentality that a closer needs. For Reed being a closer is all he ever wanted. Also, the addition of new bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen will be helpful to Reed. Thigpen was a closer for the White Sox and will bring his experience as a sounding board for Reed.
Watch Addison Reed closely, he has that look in his eye. Reed learned a lot last year in his first full season. Hopefully, in 2013 he can add a trip to the post season for some October baseball. Being on the mound in the World Series needing three outs is Reeds dream come true. Let's hope his dream becomes reality.
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