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Closing Time 4/12: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Ranking baseball's closers for the 2022 season.

Welcome back for the first Closing Time of the MLB season! We finally have some usable data to work with, albeit a miniscule sample size, but the most important thing to look out for right now is usage. It’s still too early to panic over the top half of the list (Liam Hendriks will be fine), the pitchers who have steady job security and have proven they can be great closers. Even when it comes to dips in velocity (looking at you, Ryan Pressly), I think we should allow more time before jumping to conclusions, especially considering the short/scattered spring training these guys dealt with. I will probably wait until the end of the month to start moving the top 15 around (barring something drastic or injury-related), and I’d urge you to use the same restraint before making any moves this early in the year.

 

Notes

 

  • Anthony Bender has seen the Marlins’ first two save chances, allowing just one mistake so far. I think it’s more likely that Bender retains his closer role than the next guy on the list, as Dylan Floro isn’t in the same category as a Lucas Sims and we still don’t have a timetable for Floro’s return (although he did throw a bullpen on Sunday). If either one of these two are able to stick in this role for the majority of the season, they should easily be top 15 RP options in saves leagues, so they are worth the speculative add for the time being.
  • Art Warren picked up the Reds’ second save of the season, and should be considered the favorite (for now) over Tony Santillan. As with Bender and the Marlins, we likely won’t know for sure if Warren will be “the guy” for at least another week or so, as Lucas Sims should return to this bullpen over the weekend. Sims, like Floro, was the favorite to lead the team in saves this season, but has been slowed by injuries to begin the year. Warren has injury concerns of his own, but he should still be on your radar at the moment.

 

  • We have yet to see who the Twins may call upon for a save chance (following Tyler Duffey’s blown save this past weekend) but they did go with rookie Jhoan Duran in the ninth inning last night, up by four runs, possibly a sign they want him to take over that role. As far as metrics and stuff go, Duran certainly should be the guy here, but it’s still rare we see a team going with a rookie in the role, despite whether or not they are the teams most talented bullpen arm. For now, Duran is certainly worth the speculative add as we wait to see how things play out, as the upside is too high to leave him on your wire.
  • Tanner Rainey, not Kyle Finnegan, notched the first save of the season for the Nationals, and while I do prefer the general upside Rainey brings to the role over Finnegan, I’m not convinced Rainey is back to his 2019-20 ways quite yet. After averaging 97.7 mph on his fastball in ’19, Rainey so far has been down to 94.9 mph this year, which isn’t bad, but with his command, it could become problematic real quick. Like I said at the top, it’s still VERY early on, and you want to take a chance on Rainey given what we’ve seen in the not too distant past, but just be aware there is a real chance it goes bad here quickly.

 

  • Jake Diekman closed out the Yankees in emphatic fashion on Sunday night, striking out Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo in order for his first save with the Red Sox. I think given that performance, it’s safe to say he will likely get the teams next save chance as Matt Barnes is still trying to work through some things (Barnes pitched the 6th inning of a tie game yesterday). Cora has said he wants Barnes to work himself back into the role, so I’d still predict Barnes becomes the closer again at some point, but when that may be, is very much up in the air.
  • The Giants surprisingly gave Camilo Doval the first save chance of the season, and while he fell flat on his face, he’s not exactly out of the picture as Jake McGee, Dominic Leone and Tyler Rogers usage have all been all over the place as well. If I had to guess, McGee gets a chance this week, but we really have no idea how this bullpen will play out yet. I wouldn’t go running to add someone like Leone yet, with McGee and Doval the two to roster for now if you want shares of this bullpen.

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Raisel Iglesias-
4Edwin Díaz
T2
-
5Craig Kimbrel-
6Ryan Pressly-
7Emmanuel Clase-
8Jordan Romano
T3
-
9Taylor Rogers-
10Kenley Jansen-
11Aroldis Chapman-
12Giovanny Gallegos
T4
-
13Scott Barlow-
14Corey Knebel-
15Mark Melancon-
16Andrew Kittredge
T5
-
17Paul Sewald-
18Gregory Soto-
19David Bednar+1
20Lou Trivino+3
21Anthony Bender
T6
+UR
22Art Warren+UR
23Jhoan Duran+UR
24Camilo Doval+UR
25Tanner Rainey+UR
26Joe Barlow-1
27David Robertson-1
28Jorge López+1
29Daniel Bard-1
30Jake Diekman+UR

 

Watch List

 

Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Rick Graham

Rick resides in the Boston area and has experience as a player and coach at the collegiate level. He has been covering relievers for Pitcher List since 2017.

2 responses to “Closing Time 4/12: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Joe says:

    Good stuff! Need to update Pagans info in the table below—I think you were referring to Duran there

  2. Perfect Game says:

    Might be rare for a rookie like Duran to become a closer. But, he has elite talent and Clase won the job as a rookie too if I remember correctly.

    I’m in a S+H league and scooped up Duran as he will soon be able to slot in the SP and RP slots in Yahoo after 5 games in relief.

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