The Closer You Might Not Know

Camilo Doval pitching
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The MLB closer you might not know was named the NL Reliever of the Month for May. He is Camilo Doval of the San Francisco Giants. It is OK if you do not know who he is. Doval is used to being under the radar as top closer. However, his teammates and manager certainly know he is one of the best closers in the game today.

One of the Best

Doval has emerged as one of the finest closers in the majors over the past two seasons. He was a perfect 11-for-11 on save chances in May, posting a 1.32 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. With May’s accolade, he has won three Reliever of the Month awards in his short big-league career.

Since coming onto the scene in 2021, he has 46 saves in 122 1/3 innings with 158 strikeouts and only seven blown saves in 125 games. He has earned the respect of his teammates and the confidence of manager Gabe Kapler.

Where He Came From

Camilo Doval signed with the Giants in 2015. It took him six years to appear on the mlb.com top 30 for the Giants. Doval was not seen as a closer but rather a setup man. However, when he got called up in 2021, he was given the opportunity to save some games. He finished the season with three saves and a chance to compete for the closer’s job in Spring Training 2022.

Pitching Cache

His pitching cache includes a fast ball, clocked at 104.5 mph at Triple-A. However, it stays in the upper 90’s range on a consistent basis. Most of his strikeouts come from his slider. He also has worked on a cutter and a sinker and received advice from pitching coaches Andrew Bailey, Brian Bannister, and J.P. Martinez on utilizing those pitches.

Powerful Stuff

With his powerful pitching and quiet gumption, he has all the necessary tools to become one of the best closers in the game. With his blazing fastball and intense slider, he has given the Giants a true closer and he is one of the top reasons why the Giants have climbed back to a .500 team this season.

No Signs of Flopping

Camilo Doval shows no signs of flopping in the spotlight. Yes, he may blow some saves, but the sky is the limit for him at this point. Doval just needs to continue to show and prove it. The Giants have a top ten bullpen, and these pitchers have shown they can hold the lead for Doval. If the bullpen continues to pitch as well as they have been and Doval can remain effective, he could get close to saving 40 games or more by season’s end — and give the Giants a great shot at postseason play.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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