A good closer is hard to come by in the Major Leagues. That’s why there is only one Mariano Rivera. Recording the last three outs of the game is something that is extremely difficult to do, and it’s something that a lot of pitchers simply can’t handle. The Miami Marlins seem to have found a solution to this problem. The former Jamestown Jammer, Steve Cishek, has emerged as one of the more successful and reliable closers in the game the past few years.
Coming out of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Steve Cishek was drafted by the Marlins in the 5th round of the 2007 amateur draft. His professional debut came that season for the Jamestown Jammers. In 25 games for the Jammers, he pitched to a 1.95 ERA, piled up 30 strikeouts, and recorded nine saves. His ascension up the organizational ladder continued in 2008 and 2009, where Cishek played for the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League, and the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League respectively.
After pitching well in 2010 for the Hammerheads again, and the Jacksonville Suns (Double-A), Cishek got the call up to the Marlins toward the end of the 2010 season. He made his Major League debut on September 26th, and pitched 4.1 scoreless innings in three combined appearances towards the end of that season.
Cishek began the 2011 season with the New Orleans Zephyrs (Triple-A Affiliate of the Marlins). After making 15 appearances for the Zephyrs, he once again got the call up to the Marlins, but this time it was for good. He threw 54.2 innings for the Marlins in 2011, had an ERA of 2.63, and struck out 55 batters.
The next season, Cishek’s role on the Marlins expanded greatly. After Heath Bell was demoted from the closer’s role, Steve Cishek stepped in and performed great. He recorded 15 saves throughout the ‘12 season, and made it extremely difficult for the Marlins to consider any other options to fill the role of closer permanently.
2013 was Cishek’s best season to this point. He converted 34 of his 36 save opportunities, while posting a 2.33 ERA. He was also one of only three relievers in 2013 to record a consecutive save streak of 29 or more games. Cishek has carried the momentum of an amazing 2013 into the early part of the 2014 season as well. As of May 28th, he has 11 saves in 12 opportunities, and has already made 21 appearances.
As time goes on, look for Steve Cishek to continue to emerge as one of the better options toward the end of games throughout the Major Leagues. He has to be considered a crucial part of the core of a young, athletic Marlins team. He has shown that he can be counted on when the game is on the line, and really, that’s all you can ask for from a closer.
Cody Crandall is an intern at the Jamestown Gazette. To read more of his insights, commentaries, and news about the world of sports and the Jamestown Jammers, visit www.jamestowngazette.com. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.