Mitchell Boggs, the St. Louis Cardinals' 27-year-old de facto closer, picked up his third save of the season Sunday night against the Cincinnati Reds, striking out two in a scoreless inning marred only by a bases-empty double from Joey Votto. For all Tony La Russa's claimed ambivalence on the topic, that marks three consecutive save situations Mitchell Boggs has been thrown into, and this one, which featured a basically safe three-run lead, might be the most telling at all.
Boggs's numbers in 2011 are his best to date; he's struck out 15 against just three walks in his 12 1/3 innings this season on his way to a 1.46 ERA, overshadowed only by Eduardo Sanchez's explosive debut. Boggs was uneven in 2010, his first full year as a reliever, but he never had a month like this; only last September did he finally manage to strike out a batter an inning.
Potential fantasy baseball suitors looking for saves should be advised mainly of Tony La Russa's general orneriness; Boggs certainly has the stuff to be a closer, flashing a fastball that touches 97 and a hard slider that's tough on right-handers. He struggled with his control as a starter and has had his difficulties with left-handers, but he's got more than enough potential to be thought of as a closer for the next few years.