For the first time all season, we have no new names on Closing Time, which is crazy considering we are almost 2 months into the season. With injuries up roughly 50% this year, it’s been rough finding consistency, especially in the pitching department. These should be the same names week in and week out for a while, outside of the absence of Edwin Diaz, who I’d expect to be back in the closers role by the end of the week or early next week at the latest.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
- Two new addition to the tier, as both Greg Holland and Wade Davis have really pulled away from the rest of the crowd. Holland is on pace for an insane amount of saves this season and at this point shows no signs of slowing down. His 16.7% SwStr rate is 5th among active closers, while his GB% (52.8%) ranks 3rd. As long as he can remain durable all season, which is questionable, there’s nothing that indicates he will hit any rough patches anytime soon.
- Wade Davis’s numbers seem to indicate he probably will cool off at some point. He is letting up a lot of fly balls, while franking only in the middle of the pack in SwStr%. Ride him while he’s hot, or maybe it’s better to sell high on him.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
- I’m buying on Justin Wilson and Corey Knebel being top 15 closers for the rest of the season. Wilson ranks in the top 10 among closers in FIP and SwStr%, while his 1.86 xFIP trails only Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel. His K/BB is very nice at 6 also. Oh, and his 1.46 SIERA (ranked 3rd), ain’t too shabby either.
- Corey Knebel is in a similar position, with a better FIP but he’s not missing bats at the same rate. However, he (and Wilson as well) both rank in the top 10 for fastball velocity here, which might not mean anything, outside of the fact both guys clearly posses plus stuff potential. I don’t see either team using another closer this season, unless an injury occurs.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
- Jim Johnson has sneakily put together a very solid year so far. He’s getting ground balls at the highest rate (57.1%), which is very important given he ranks 27th in SwStr%. The fact that he’s not allowing free passes also give’s him a nice edge. As long as he is keeping the ball out of the air and the Braves continue to stay in ballgames, he should be a solid RP 2 all season.
- Koda Glover is now finally, officially in the closers seat in Washington although for how long remains to be seen. It sounds like they will roll with him and while there isn’t really any crazy upside here, he should see plenty of save opportunities for a dominant Nationals team.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)
- Brandon Maurer once again is an interesting case to look at. His xFIP ranks him 5th among all closers, so it’s safe to say his 6+ ERA isn’t exactly fair. He’s also got decent numbers across the board, unfortunately for him though, the Padres won’t be in a position to win too many games this season.
- Once again, as far as the Mariners situation goes, Edwin Diaz is the only name worth owning. It sounds like he could very much be back in the 9th inning as soon as this weekend, but the more realistic estimate would be early next week. I still have him as a top 15 option the rest of the way.