Closing Time 6/11: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

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  • Wade Davis is back for the Rockies, and slots back in at number 17 on the list for the time being. I can see him moving up a few spots if all goes well, but I wouldn’t expect him to make it into the top 12 this season.
  • In your weekly Red Sox closer update, Matt Barnes saw a pair of save chances this past week, but things did not go so well, as he allowed 5 hits and 3 earned runs in 1.2 IP. Despite entering the season as the team’s best reliever, the Sox have never seemed comfortable with Barnes in the 9th inning, so I wonder if his latest blown save may end that experiment. Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree have been the Sox best relievers of late, so I’d imagine one of them gets the next save chance. You could do worse than speculate on one of the two.
  • Despite Craig Kimbrel signing with the Cubs, don’t forget about Pedro Strop for the next few weeks as Kimbrel gets ready to make his debut. Strop tied for the league lead in saves this past week with 3 and could have another 3-6 left in him before Kimbrel is ready. Once he arrives, Kimbrel should slot into the top 10 moving forward.
  • The Twins continue to approach saves with the Blake Parker and Taylor Rogers committee, but you have to wonder if Rogers starts taking over the majority of chances with Parker faltering lately. Neither one has exactly done anything special to steal the job from the other, but Rogers to me is still the better long term play.
  • Jose Leclerc was so close to getting his job back it seemed, but this weekend was definitely a step back, albeit a small one. Chris Woodward still is talking like Leclerc will get his job back soon, so I’m still holding on where I can, especially with how poorly Shawn Kelley has pitched this past month.
  • There’s a chance Hunter Strickland could return to the Mariners by the end of this week, which would be a boost to a bullpen struggling to find any consistency. I still don’t think this is something I’d want to chase outside of deeper leagues, and I’d imagine he’ll be in the mid 20’s upon returning.

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.

  • Avatar EB says:

    Hey Rick,

    Are you unsure that Strickland will regain the closer gig, or is your reluctance to chance him due to time share or other concerns? Saves are hard to come by in my league and I had hoped he could make a good 3rd option. Most competitive teams have 3-4 closers which means they are non-existent on the wire.

    • Avatar EB says:

      *chase not chance

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Given the Mariners situation and Stricklands career, I’m just not optimistic he brings a ton more value than Sergio Romo. He’s worth an add in most standard 12 teamers but I’m not rushing out and dropping someone with upside for him right now.

      • Avatar EB says:

        Read he had some soreness and is being shut down again, so don’t think I’ll be chasing him afterall. I’ve been holding LeClerc ( but he has had 3 bad outings in a row with tonight’s appearance) and Kelley has blown a few save chances lately…either worth rostering iyo?

  • Avatar Donnie says:

    lol @ dropping Ken Giles to third tier. Third best K% in baseball, 1.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, hasn’t allowed an earned run since mid-April – and you’ve randomly dropped him to the third tier this week. If you’re going to have an article specific to closers, don’t just arbitrarily shuffle guys around.

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Its not due to the player but one of those rare instances where the situation/team really effects the players value. He has 4 saves the past 8 weeks as the Blue Jays continue to bottom out. I love the player, but he’s close to useless for saves.

      • Avatar Donnie` says:

        Have you looked into how teams factor into save opportunities? From what I’ve read in the past there’s not a strong correlation at all (i.e. teams who don’t win a lot of games don’t necessarily produce fewer save opportunities, just as good teams don’t produce abundant save opportunities). I don’t know, just a thought – seems pretty myopic to drop Giles due to lack of recent save opps, but that’s just my opinion. Thanks for the article.

        • Avatar Rick Graham says:

          Theres no real correlation when it comes to teams over .500, but of the five worst teams in baseball by winning percentage, 4 are in the bottom 5 for saves this season. The lone exception is Detroit who is actually 7th.

          I think Giles would be a good trade chip for the Jays, so hopefully he gets moved to a contender and could finally rejoin that first tier.

  • Avatar WheelhouseWreck says:

    Aw snap. What are you guys, dating?

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