No. 1 – Alexis Díaz, CIN
My choice for the Red Sox closer in 2023, if they choose to look externally, is Edwin Díaz’s younger brother.
Rookie Alexis Díaz has some flaws – his 4.7 BB/9 is pretty glaring. But there is so much upside that he managed to put together an incredible season despite the walks.
In 63.2 IP, Díaz posted a 1.84 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 0.958 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, and 0.7 HR/9. His 97th percentile whiff rate is elite, leading to a 93rd percentile K%. His opponent slash line of .131/.260/.216 shows a lot of potential, if he can lower the walks. He’s stingy when it comes to hits and extra-base hits, but he gets beat by walks too much.
Would the Reds trade Díaz? Possibly, but it might take some convincing. A top-5 prospect is too steep, but the Red Sox have a few mid-level prospects who can get it done.
It’s tough to find a long-term closer of Díaz’s caliber, so the Reds’ may be inclined to hold onto him. My only issue with acquiring him is what it might take to get him, but the Sox are in dire need of long-term stability in the bullpen, so if they’re serious about winning, they need to be willing to give in order to get.