Ryne Stanek, RHP, 27
Ryne Stanek made a name for himself as the first consistent opener in MLB history. Of his 59 appearances, 29 of those were opens. With his high-octane fastball, Stanek went right after the best hitter teams had to offer, whether it was in the 1st, 8th, or 9th innings.
This experience going after the best of best, will surely put him in the conversation for the Rays closer job. Even as a closer he will be able to open a few games, but the Rays have plenty of opener options.
He was fantastic in 2018, with an ERA of 2.98 over 66.1 innings of work. In those 66.1 innings, he struck out 81 batters and had an outstanding ERA+ of 140.
Look for Ryne Stanek to be putting out fires early and late in games for the Rays in 2019.
Jose Alvarado, LHP, 23
Even better than Ryne Stanek in 2018, was Jose Alvarado. Coming out of the pen 70 times for the Rays, Alvarado pitched to a fantastic 2.39 ERA. In 64 innings pitched, he struck out 80 batters and had an outstanding ERA+ of 174, which was second on the Rays only to Blake Snell.
Jose Alvarado will likely be named the Rays closer in 2019 and beyond, taking the place of Alex Colome. After all, he did record 8 saves in 2018.