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Closing Time 5/3: Ranking The Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

As we enter the month of May, things seem to be settling down in the closer realm. There’s finally some hope at the back-end of this list, as there are...

As we enter the month of May, things seem to be settling down in the closer realm. There’s finally some hope at the back-end of this list, as there are some names there that actually carry some upside. The only big change this week would be the return of Zach Britton to one of the leagues best teams right now. Brad Brach filled in admirably while he was out, and should probably still be owned for the time being just to make sure Britton’s forearm injury doesn’t linger.

TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Pedro Baez, Sergio Romo

2. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)—Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard

3. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree

4. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)—Brad Brach, Darren O’Day

  • Kenley Jansen was pure dominance last week (and all year for that matter). He now has 17 K’s to 0 walks on the year to go along with 7 saves.
  • It’s time Craig Kimbrel gets bumped up here. He seems like his old Braves self again, racking up 9 saves to go along with a 20/2 K/BB ratio.
  • I’ll admit, I am a tad bit skeptical placing Zach Britton here right away, but his track record helps ease that skepticism. He wasnt great last night, but should settle in and start to work that WHIP down closer to his usual sub 1 number.

TIER 2: Save Tonight

5. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)—Hector Rondon, Carl Edwards Jr.

6. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)—Nick Vincent, Tony Zych

7. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)—Luke GregersonChris Devenski, Will Harris

8. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)—Derek Law, Hunter Strickland

9. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)—Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw

10. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)—Adam Ottavino, Jake McGee

11. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)—Addison Reed, Fernando Salas

12. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)—Jeremy Jeffress, Tony Barnette

13. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Joakim Soria, Peter Moylan 

14. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)—Trevor Rosenthal, Brett Cecil

15. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)—Danny Farquhar, Tommy Hunter

  • Ken Giles has quietly put together a real good stretch here over the last few weeks. He hasn’t allowed a run since April 17th, racking up 5 saves and most importantly, ZERO walks. He only had 5 K’s in that span, but owners will surely sacrifice a few K’s for better ERA and WHIP numbers.
  • Jeurys Familia got off to a rocky start to begin his 2017 campaign, but it seems like he is beginning to settle in now. It doesn’t look like the Mets are going to allow him to see as many save chances as last season the way that rotation is shaping up, but he should still be a solid play the rest of the way.
  • It’s certainly refreshing hearing Jeff Banister name Matt Bush his closer moving forward, even with Sam Dyson returning to the Rangers last week. He has only converted 1 save so far, but the 12/1 K/BB ratio over 8.2 innings are still mouth-watering considering the saves chances will eventually come.
  • Seung Hwan Oh has also gotten his act together as of late. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 18th, adding 5 saves and 10 K’s in that time frame. The decision to hold tight after a brutal start to the season seems to be paying off for owners now.

TIER 3: Bound for the Floor

16. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Jason Grilli, Joe Biagini

17. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)—Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen

18. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)—Nate Jones, Dan Jennings

19. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)—Blake Treinen, Matt Albers

20. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)—Kyle Barraclough, Brad Ziegler

21. Neftali Feliz (Milwaukee Brewers)—Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes  

22. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)—Joaquin Benoit, Edubray Ramos

  • I’m not ready to totally write off Roberto Osuna as a wasted pick for owners yet, but his certainly trending in that direction. I was really low on him heading into the season, and if it wasn’t for his job security and the Blue Jays being an expected playoff contender, I would have had him in the bottom 15 of closers. The good news is he hasn’t walked anyone, is averaging a K an inning and has only allowed 1 HR. He should be better going forward, but overall regression seems inevitable.
  • Shawn Kelley finally has the closer’s job to himself, and has yet to blow a save, so that’s a positive for owners and the Nationals alike. I still like him to stay in the role until the Nationals make a trade for someone. Koda Glover being healthy and effective is of course the other roadblock for his rest of season value, but I’d be more worried about a trade right now.
  • I finally got me wish of Hector Neris closing out games and of course he has done nothing but disappoint so far. He still seems to have the job locked down over Joaquin Benoit, and as long as he can keep the HR’s in check, he should settle in to the role and be more like his dominant self.

TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom and Out)

23. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)—Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle

24. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)—Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson

25. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)—Blake Parker, David Hernandez

26. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)—Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter 

27. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)—Arodys Vizcaino, Jose Ramirez

28. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)—Justin Wilson, Shane Green

29. Santiago Casilla/Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)—Ryan Madson 

30. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)—JJ Hoover, Tom Wilhelmsen

  • Tony Watson and Brandon Kintzler continue to be OK sources for saves, while not killing your ratios. However the K/BB ratios for both indicate some tough times may be ahead for both of them. They also play on 2 potential bottom feeder teams, so those save chances will be few and far between usually.
  • Bud Norris has been insanely good, but lets not get carried away and temper our expectations here. Cam Bedrosian is still expected to return to the role when he gets of the DL (whenever that may be) and his saves have come against 3 teams that are struggling mightily to begin the season. The Angels themselves aren’t great, and the chances for Norris should begin to dwindle, but he still needs to be owned and used while he is this hot.
  • This is actually been the best this tier has looked since our pre-season edition. Brandon Maurer was quietly really good in April, which leads me to think Carter Capps may not be worth the speculative add now. Jim Johnson and Francisco Rodriguez have seen better days, they still both have some ability left in them to bounce back this season. Even Santiago Casilla has a chance to be serviceable to teams in need of a few extra saves and K’s.
  • Fernando Rodney though…Jake Barrett is one of my favorite deep spec adds right now.

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.

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