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Closing Time 5/5: Ranking The Top 45 Closers

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...

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)

TIER 2

7. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)

8. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

9. Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates)

10. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

11. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

TIER 3

12. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)

13. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

14. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)

15. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

16. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

17. Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants)

TIER 4A

18. Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers)

19. Shawn Tolleson (Texas Rangers)

20. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners)

21. Fernando Rodney (San Diego Padres)

TIER 4B

22. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)

23. Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals)

24. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

TIER 5

25. Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks)

26. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

27. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies)

TIER 6

28. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

29. Kevin Jepsen (Minnesota Twins

30. Joe Smith (Los Angeles Angels)

31. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

32-34. Ross Ohlendorf, Tony Cingrani, Caleb Cotham (Cincinnati Reds)

TIER 7

35. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

36. Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)

37/38. Tyler Clippard, Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

39/40. Justin Wilson, Mark Lowe (Detroit Tigers)

41. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers)

42. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

43. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

44. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

INJURED

Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins)

NOTES

– What the hell is going to happen in the Bronx when Aroldis Chapman returns? My money’s on Aroldis taking over for the spectacular Andrew Miller but things could get ugly. Maybe Miller holds on for a bit, maybe Aroldis has a short leash and an unlucky rough patch leads to a committee. 

Cody Allen hits another bumpy patch and while I have been slightly more bearish on Cody than others since the pre-season, deep down I think he’ll hold on to the job and finish the season with quality numbers.

– Finally starting to give Santiago Casilla some love. My knock on Casilla was his age, lack of wow factor, and because of the elite setup men nipping at his heels. Sergio Romo hurt, Hunter Strickland struggling, but Casilla has done nothing but dominate. 

Jeremy Jeffress chugs along and Shawn Tolleson is finding his groove. 

– Smart money was not on Steve Cishek or Fernando Rodney but the bounceback campaigns are going swimmingly. Their rankings are a bit more volatile than others but until they give us a reason to worry you have to appreciate the production.

– I wanted to believe in Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Papelbon but the end is on the horizon. Papelbon’s Swinging Strike % has plummeted to ~8.00%, O-Swing % is down, Contact on pitches inside and outside the zone are up. He isn’t walking guys and the BABIP is a bit inflated but he doesn’t have it anymore. K-Rod’s troubles with the long ball persist, the K/BB is fugly, and he is getting less groundballs. 

– Starting to sound like a broken record but I still think Alex Colome keeps the job when Brad Boxberger returns. Boxberger will begin his rehab assignment in about a week.

Jake McGee has security but it seems like the injury freckled past, and pitching in Colorado, has chipped away at his value. 

Brad Ziegler still hasn’t blown any saves, and his BABIP is fairly inflated, but Zona is scuffling and Daniel Hudson + Tyler Clippard are doing their thing. Hudson’s numbers are gorgeous but Clippard has closing experience. Still believe Ziegler will settle down but in the end he is on a contract year and my gut says he ends up on a new team. Maybe that means there is a shorter leash.

Glen Perkins still hasn’t resumed throwing. I’m a Kevin Jepsen believer but Trevor May has been dominant the last couple weeks and could be a decent stash. 

Jeanmar Gomez finally blew a save yesterday but Tyler Goeddel actually helped Hector Neris out in the 8th by robbing Gyorko of a bomb.The fantasy world has hopped on the Hector Neris bandwagon and while he appears to be the best reliever in the Philly pen that doesn’t necessarily mean he will get the job because $. 

Felipe Rivero isn’t really being used in high leverage situations but I think he gets the job over Blake Treinen if Paps collapses. 

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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