Winner: Jordan Romano
Honourable Mentions: Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, and Trevor Richards
After a solid sophomore campaign during the COVID shortened 2020 season, Jordan Romano entered the 2021 season as one of the potential closer options in the Blue Jays bullpen.
At first, it seemed like the club would be using a few different pitchers to close games in Romano, Rafael Dolis, and Kirby Yates, but with Yates missing the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Dolis being very unreliable, the role went to Markham, Ontario’s Romano in mid-May and he ran away with the closer position the rest of the way.
The right-handed fireballer would finish the season with a team-high 62 appearances and would pitch to a 2.14 ERA through 63.0 innings with 85 strikeouts and 25 walks. Romano would also convert 23 saves in 24 opportunities and would hold opponents to a .181 batting average and a 1.05 WHIP with 12.14 strikeouts through nine innings.
He did have two rough stretches in early July and September where he gave up a few earned runs in back-to-back outings but for the most part was solid in the high pressure situations this season. He was able to effectively use his fastball mixed in with his slider to limit the damage and give fans confidence that he would come in and shut down the opposing team and seal the win for the Blue Jays.
With the bullpen going through quite a few different pitchers and with Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards arriving in late July/early August, the only competition for this award for Romano was southpaw Tim Mayza, who was also impressive this season in his late-inning role. In the end, the award goes to the Ontario product and the Blue Jays appear to have a dependable closer for the foreseeable future.