Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Just named as the Angels closer over Fernando Rodney by manager Mike Scioscia, rookie Jordan Walden certainly looks the part: he's a 6-5, 240 pound intimidator with a fastball that can hit 98 MPH and an improving slider. A 12th round pick in 2006, Walden signed as a draft-and-follow after pitching for Grayson County Community College in Texas in the spring of ‘07. His minor league career was marked by velocity fluctuations, erratic secondary pitches, balky control, and elbow troubles, but he blossomed after moving to the bullpen in 2010, showing improved command of his wicked sinker and no troubles with durability in the relief role. Walden has the aggressive personality managers like in a closer, and while he's moved into the role a little ahead of schedule, he seems like a good bet to hold the job long-term. The main short-term risk is control: if it wobbles too much, Rodney could get another shot at the job, but Walden is ultimately the best bet.