Closing Time 5/5: Ranking The Top 45 Closers

May 05, 2016 | Closing Time

Welcome to Closing Time where the Top 45 Closers are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. It's a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the long haul.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments. Follow me on twitter @HisDudenessOfNY for the rare tweet regarding secondary players most people don’t care about and the occasional timely injury news snippet.

TIER 1A

1A. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)

1B. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals)

TIER 1B

3. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

4. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

5. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)

6. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)

Kevin Siegrist's Changeup + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Wednesday's Games

May 05, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Kevin Siegrist's Changeup - The camera was set up perfectly for us to get a look at Siegrist's stuff and my-oh-my did his stuff look good.  This Changeup to Darin Ruf was downright filthy as it faded away from the plate in a hurry.

Even Stevens

May 05, 2016 | SP Roundup

I think it's important to take a moment to appreciate how fantastic Steven Matz has been thus far in the season.  After bulldozing through the Braves with a 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks line, Matz now holds a 2.83 ERA (2.36 FIP, 2.76 xFIP), 9.42 K/9 and 2.20 BB/9.  That's Top 10 material considering how everyone else has performed thus far, and keep in mind, those numbers include his first start of the year where he allowed 7 ER in just 1.2 innings on the hill.  Sure, there are some concerns about his health and he hasn't faced the most difficult of teams (NL Easy for the win), but I'd be damned if you weren't stoked grabbing him around pick #120 in your drafts.  Considering that he'll continue to get excellent matchups - outside of a date with Coors in a ten days - there's little reason to expect Matz to suddenly hit a wall.  If there's a owner who thinks he's selling high and/or is worried about his injury risk, I'd jump on it ASAP.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Buy & Sell 5/4: Identifying Which Trending Hitters You Want To Own

May 04, 2016 | Buy/Sell

Every Wednesday, Dapinder joins Pitcher List to outline the best position player buys and sells of the week.  He'll outline the hitters to trust in your lineups and who to shop while their price is high.  Make sure to stay ahead of the curve and use the market to your advantage.

BUY

Edwin Encarnacion (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) - In April of 2015, Encarnacion batted .205 with 4 home runs. In April of 2016, Encarnacion batted .235 with 3 home runs. Throughout his career, Encarnacion’s worst month by wOBA and wRC+ is April. Encarnacion’s HR/FB% and Isolated Power are both below his career average. He’s due for a power surge. The decreased walk rate and strikeouts are somewhat concerning. April is the month where these are at their lowest and highest rates respectively for Encarnacion. While I can’t see him hitting .277 like he did last year due to a 23% strikeout rate, his zone contact rate is similar to last year making a not-so-terrible batting average around .260-.265 reachable. Batting fourth in the Blue Jays lineup, behind OBP beasts Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, E5 is in a good position for counting stats and reaching 30 home runs.

Jose Quintana's Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Tuesday's Games

May 04, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Jose Quintana's Curveball - It was business as usual for Quintana as he allowed just one earned run across eight frames of work against the Red Sox.  His best moment may have been this deadly Curveball to David Ortiz as he stunned the retiring slugger for strike three. (Thanks to @tbellaga for the tip!)

Fool On The Till

May 04, 2016 | SP Roundup

Last time out, Chris Tillman struck out nine batters as he excelled against the Rays.  He faced the slumping Yanks Tuesday evening and put on an encore with a line of 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks.  Before rushing to waiver wire, note that Tillman hadn't collected more than 5 Ks in any start prior to these two, and don't forget the tales of Sir Till.  Yes, I have heard the legends near and far of Tillman - the commoners call it the "Fool On The Till" - and it goes like this.  Tillman shows up to a village, detailing how he'll bring wealth and prosperity if they plead their loyalty.  The following day, when the people of the village gather to listen to him speak, he is nowhere to be found - he had been plundering their homes and making their weeks a living hell.  That's a really bad story.  Fine, not my best, but I think the message is kinda clear...?  Be careful with Tillman as he'll promise success moments before falling on his face.  Take the risk if you'd like, I'm staying away.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The Hold-Up 5/3: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Tuesday

May 03, 2016 | The Hold Up

Tuesday has arrived and with it comes updated setup men rankings. This is a great day for hold leagues, and therefore the world. These rankings mostly reflect rest of season value, and are based on about 50% general ratio and strikeout potential, 50% pure hold totals. Holds are pretty volatile so in most cases your best bet is to focus on ratios, take advantage of the RP + P slots by rolling out a hefty number of setup men, and let the holds naturally trickle in. Managers should always make decisions and alter this list based on their specific league setup. 

Share your questions and critiques in the comments. Follow me on twitter @HisDudenessOfNY for the rare tweet regarding secondary players most people don’t care about and the occasional timely injury news snippet. 

TIER 1

1. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

3. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

4. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

5. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

6. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

7. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers)

8. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

A.J. Griffin's Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Monday's Games

May 03, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

A.J. Griffin's Curveball - The Blue Jays are never an easy matchup, but Griffin carved them up for nine strikeouts across just six innings of work on Monday evening.  His slow Curveball was a thing of beauty across the night, especially when it staggered Troy Tulowitzki during this full count. (Thanks to Redditor SoundGuy4Life for the tip!)

Malice In Dallas

May 03, 2016 | SP Roundup

The pre-season Top 20 is in shambles with guys all over the place underperforming and making owners sweat more than Prince Fielder going for a triple.  The latest focus of disappointment is Dallas Keuchel after he showed no signs of recovery against the Twins: 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks.  Now, this umpire was squeezing both him and Berrios all night, but that's not the issue at hand.  Nay, the problem is Keuchel's lack of effectiveness with his Fastball, which has carried him through seasons generating plenty of soft contact and grounders.  This season, his elite groundball rate has dropped to a "really good" 55.5%, soft contact down five points, and his walk rate has soared - and I mean R. Kelly soared through the that open door - almost three full points to 4.38 BB/9.  I'm selling for whatever I can get, honestly.  Sure, I'm willing to believe that there will be great outings from Keuchel this year and he may click into place at some point, but I want someone else to sit around and wait for that.  It could happen in a few weeks, it could happen in July, it could happen never.  Get out now while you may still have some name value left.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The List 5/2: Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

May 02, 2016 | The List

Every Monday, I will be releasing "The List" where I rank the current value of the Top 100 pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season. Use these rankings to help understand what to expect from pitchers for the rest of 2016, and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.

Note: We're working on fixing the "change" and "prev" columns.  Please ignore them this week.  

Let's see how the SP landscape has changed since last week:

Chris Archer's Changeup + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From This Weekend's Games

May 02, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Congrats to Kelvin Herrera's Slider for winning GIF of the Week!  Hard not to love the action on Herrera's breaking ball.

 

Chris Archer's Changeup - It was a plentiful weekend of filthy pitches with many excellent offerings missing the cut simply because we could only feature so many.  Archer leads the way with a Changeup that featured crazy good late bite to dive underneath the bat of Michael Saunders. 

On The Marcus

May 02, 2016 | SP Roundup

April didn't treat Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman very well, as he failed to collect more than five strikeouts in a single game, held an ERA of 4.37 and looked a bit lost overall.  Well, throw all that out the window because he just went 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks.  THE STRIKEOUTS HAVE RETURNED.  It looks like he changed his approach, throwing Curveballs for 22 of his 93 pitches, despite holding a 9.3% usage rate thus far in the season.  Wait a second.  That sounds familiar..."I think Stroman will increase the strikeouts eventually, as he's currently reserving his nasty hook in favor of generating quick outs with his lively heater.  I see that changing soon as his approach hasn't been all too successful and he has the stuff to be dominant."  That's what I said after Stroman's last start.  I think we've seen him turn a corner and that's a damn good thing.  I'll wait to see if he can do it again versus a team not based in Tampa Bay before giving him a major boost in The List, but I love what I'm starting to see.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The Stash 5/1: Ranking The Top 10 Pitching Prospects To Stash Every Weekend

May 01, 2016 | Prospect Rankings

Every Saturday, Alex is here to write about which minor league pitchers you should be stashing on your team.  This list will range from the top prospects to the more esoteric that should potentially be on your radar. Players who I believe are likely to receive the call to the Show soonest will be at the top and players who may be more of a long term stash will be featured closer to the bottom. Picking up these prospects can be a great way to stay ahead of the curve in your league regardless of whether it’s a deep dynasty league or a shallow 10 teamer. 

The minor leagues features hundreds of pitchers that are rotating through farm systems and major league clubs daily. Injuries or even extra inning games can turn a fledgling AAA pitcher into a spot starter. If you feel there is someone who should be mentioned who wasn’t or if you have a general question about anyone on the list, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get to it ASAP. 

1. Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays) – Snell’s first start back in the minors, after what was arguably the best prospect debut so far this year, went a lot better than it looks: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Of the first 14 batters he faced, he struck out 6 and walked 1, not allowing a hit until the 5th inning. The 6th however is where Snell’s control started to fade a bit as he started to leave pitches a bit in the zone. Having given up back-to-back singles to start the inning, Snell was left to face the Reds best prospect Jesse Winker with a man on first and second. Snell tried to work him on the outside corner throughout most of the at-bat, only throwing one curveball in his 7th pitch of the at-bat before leaving a Fastball over the plate that Winker hit for a three-run tate. Aside from this one off inning, Snell looked to continue right from where he left off last week against the Yankees and is still someone you should definitely be stashing.

Ventura Capital

May 01, 2016 | SP Roundup

There are a handful of pitchers that are like a really good looking parachute - so alluring but they will constantly let you down.  Don't invest in them.  These guys often have major walk issues as they simply can't harness the power they hold. Yordano Ventura is a prime example and even two years after he made a big splash out of spring training, he still puts up lines like 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 1 Ks.  It's not going to happen, guys.  It's unwise to bank on them putting it all together, and you're better off going for players with a more dependable upside or pitchers that will hold a high floor but not hold the same price tag as their interpreted ceiling is lower.  It's why I'm not as high as others on guys like Garrett RichardsCarlos Rodonand Tyson Ross.  Keep it in mind, y'all.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Kelvin Herrera's Slider + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs Of The Week

May 01, 2016 | GIFs of the Week

Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article. 

 

Kelvin Herrera's Slider - Kelvin has been working on using his Slider more this year, and if this GIF is any indication, he should continue the trend.  There was nothing Manny Machado could do but watch its filthy movement. (Thanks to Redditor Kanabuss for the tip!)

THE LIST

Rank Change Player
1 Clayton Kershaw
2 Jake Arrieta
3 Chris Sale
4 Max Scherzer
5 Noah Syndergaard
6 Jacob DeGrom
7 Stephen Strasburg
8 Corey Kluber
9 Jose Fernandez
10 David Price
11 Madison Bumgarner
12 Matt Harvey
13 Gerrit Cole
14 Chris Archer
15 Zack Greinke
16 Felix Hernandez
17 Jon Lester
18 Dallas Keuchel
19 Carlos Carrasco
20 Cole Hamels
21 Danny Salazar
22 Drew Smyly
23 Steven Matz
24 Sonny Gray
25 Marcus Stroman
26 Johnny Cueto
27 Carlos Martinez
28 Jose Quintana
29 Taijuan Walker
30 Justin Verlander
31 Joe Ross
32 Yu Darvish
33 Garrett Richards
34 Jake Odorizzi
35 Kenta Maeda
36 Aaron Nola
37 Vincent Velasquez
38 Jaime Garcia
39 Masahiro Tanaka
40 Jordan Zimmermann
41 Carlos Rodon
42 Raisel Iglesias
43 Lance McCullers
44 Jose Berrios
45 Jerad Eickhoff
46 Patrick Corbin
47 Francisco Liriano
48 Rich Hill
49 Kyle Hendricks
50 Jason Hammel
51 Rick Porcello
52 Drew Pomeranz
53 Kevin Gausman
54 Aaron Sanchez
55 Michael Pineda
56 Matt Moore
57 Michael Wacha
58 Gio Gonzalez
59 Juan Nicasio
60 Wei-Yin Chen
61 Hisashi Iwakuma
62 Blake Snell
63 Tyson Ross
64 Eduardo Rodriguez
65 Luis Severino
66 John Lackey
67 Ian Kennedy
68 Michael Fulmer
69 Sean Manaea
70 Tyler Duffey
71 Yordano Ventura
72 Adam Conley
73 Scott Kazmir
74 Edinson Volquez
75 J.A. Happ
76 Marco Estrada
77 James Shields
78 Jeff Samardzija
79 Hector Santiago
80 John Lamb
81 Jameson Taillon
82 Tyler Glasnow
83 Lucas Giolito
84 Adam Wainwright
85 Tanner Roark
86 Josh Tomlin
87 Mat Latos
88 Collin McHugh
89 Aaron Blair
90 Ross Stripling
91 Nate Karns
92 Jesse Hahn
93 Julio Teheran
94 Nathan Eovaldi
95 Alex Wood
96 Mike Fiers
97 Bartolo Colon
98 Derek Holland
99 Nick Tropeano
100 Alex Cobb