Hey everyone, back at it this Tuesday with our final pre-season closer rankings. A few things have changed over the past month and a lot has stayed the same. The closer competitions in Washington and Colorado became a tad bit more clear, but both situations are still fluid. I listed two new names for each team as their respective closer, but again, that can still change over the next week. The Angels are the third team to see a new name at the top of their closer depth chart, following the injury to Huston Street.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Grant Dayton, Pedro Baez
2. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)—Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard
3. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)—Nick Vincent, Evan Scribner
4. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)—Brad Brach, Mychal Givens
5. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)—Luke Gregerson, Will Harris
The top 4 remain the same, with the big change being Ken Giles moving up to the 5 spot. Maybe I’m just enamored with the K potential here, but I really think he has a chance to be the #1 RP in fantasy leagues this year. He just needs to be consistent and get ahead in counts more often. Luke Gregerson was great as team USA’s closer in the WBC, but he is still better off in the set-up role. If Giles struggles at the beginning of the season though, there will sure to be talk of replacing him with Gregerson or Will Harris.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
6. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)—Trevor Rosenthal, Brett Cecil
7. Mark Melancon (San Fransisco Giants)—Derek Law, Hunter Strickland
8. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Matt Strahm, Joakim Soria
9. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Tyler Thornburg, Joe Kelly
10. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)—Hector Rondon, Carl Edwards Jr.
11. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)—Addison Reed, Hansel Robles
12. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Jason Grilli, JP Howell
13. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)—Brad Boxberger, Xavier Cedeno
14. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)—Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw
Not much change here, with the exception being Seung Hwan Oh and Mark Melancon dropping down a tier. They are still solid RP1’s, just not quite in that same group above as far as upside goes. The job security here is fairly safe, but if I had to choose once candidate to lose a job here its Wade Davis. It would be nice if Major League Baseball would just announce Jeurys Familia’s suspension already. If it is under 30 games, I would probably slide him up 2 spots. Alex Colome has been way undervalued this month and is great value ahead of guys like Cody Allen, A.J. Ramos, Francisco Rodriguez, Sam Dyson and David Robertson. I’ve even seen Tony Watson go before him in a few mocks.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
15. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)—Kyle Barraclough, Brad Ziegler
16. Fransisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)—Bruce Rondon, Justin Wilson
17. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers)—Matt Bush, Jeremy Jeffress
18. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)—Adam Ottavino, Jake McGee
19. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)—Huston Street, Andrew Bailey
20. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)—Nate Jones, Michael Ynoa
21. Neftali Feliz (Milwaukee Brewers)—Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes
22. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)—Blake Treinen, Shawn Kelley
Now things get dicey. This is the tier of closers who are in good situations and conceivably should keep the job all year but it’s far from a sure thing. There’s also been some significant changes to this group, with 3 new faces to the closers group. We’ll start in Colorado, where all signs are pointing to Greg Holland beginning the year as the teams closer. It’s a bit of a surprise as it was believed the Rockies would bring him along slowly as he works back from Tommy John surgery. His stuff of old has seemed to be there this spring, touching 96 with his fastball even, but his command still is a bit rusty. It may take him a while to be the Greg Holland of old, but the early returns are promising. The injury concerns are obviously a problem, but he carries great upside and should be considered a bargain at his current ADP. It’s nice to finally see a new face in the closers role for the Angels to begin the season. Cam Bedrosian makes for a nice late round pick, and should be able to keep the job all year even when Huston Street gets healthy. He doesn’t have the greatest K upside, but he limits hard contact and should be good for ERA, WHIP and a few saves a week. No one really knows still what the Nationals will do to begin the year at closer, but there has been more and more rumblings that Koda Glover is the preferred in-house candidate. It seems like the job will be his eventually, if not right away, so he is preferred option to own right now. He has the stuff (can get up to 100mph with a sharp slider) and makeup for the role, and there should be plenty of save opportunities in Washington this season. He’s a nice high upside waiver pickup if available, or someone to draft after pick 200.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)
23. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)—Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson
24. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)—Arodys Vizcaino, Mauricio Cabrera
25. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)—Jake Barrett, Randall Delgado
26. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)—Ryan Pressly, JT Chargois
27. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)—Carter Capps, Ryan Buchter
28. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)—Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen
29. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)—Sean Doolittle, Santiago Casilla
30. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies)—Hector Neris, Joaquin Benoit
And here we have the 8 closers who almost certainly won’t be closers come September. Tony Watson gets move down do to his rough spring and the fact he is being listed as “Co-Closer” with Daniel Hudson. If anyone in that bullpen has closer type stuff and deserves a chance at the 9th inning job its Felipe Rivero. I have a sneaky suspicion he may be the closer heading into the second half of the season. Arodys Vizcaino (or possibly Mauricio Cabrera if he can get his control issues cleaned up) will be closing for the Braves at some point, when either Johnson loses the job on his own or is traded. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Kintzler at least have no one to challenge them for the job, so they have that going for them. Brandon Maurer and Raisel Iglesias (assuming he’s healthy after his shower fall) are both nice relievers, but neither will see many save opportunities for one reason or another. Carter Capps is the one to own/stash in San Diego. Ryan Madson is stuck in a committee and fell apart the second half of last year. Sean Doolittle is an intriguing late round flier/waiver add in deep leagues. Hector Neris should be the closer sooner rather than later in Philly, it’s only a matter of time. He could be a top 12 closer if they would just give him the job right away.
Thoughts on Nate Jones or is that not really happening anymore?
I’m still high on him, and theres a good chance Robertson (or maybe Jones himself) gets dealt to a team like Washington. Its just as possible he takes over the job in Chicago if Robertson struggles early. Either way, I like Jones as a top 5 non-closer bullpen option still.