Closing Time 6/25: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

[closing_time_2019 list_id=”32928″ include_stats=”1″]

  • In what has been a historically bad year for relievers around the league, it’s really tough to see one of the more exciting pitchers go down with a season-ending injury. Jordan Hicks has been diagnosed with a torn UCL and will likely undergo TJS in the near future, so don’t expect to see him until late 2020 or possibly 2021. The Cardinals will now turn to Carlos Martinez and/or John Gant to handle the closing duties the rest of the year, with the early favorite among beat writers being Martinez. Gant’s been awesome this year and I’d love to see Giovanny Gallegos get a chance to close out games, but if the Cardinals don’t plan on moving Martinez into the rotation this year anyway, they may as well try to maximize his talent in the 9th inning of games. For now, I’d make sure both Martinez and Gant are owned in 12 teamers as we see how things play out, but Martinez is slightly the preferred add.
  • Hicks wasn’t the only closer to be lost to injury this past week, as Blake Treinen was placed on the IL with a strained shoulder with no timetable to return yet. Liam Hendriks, the team’s best reliever this season, will fill in the closer role for the time being and is worth a pick up in all leagues where he still may be available. Hendriks has had luck on his side this year, with his 2% HR/FB rate being the lowest among all relievers in baseball (and leading to a 4.55 xFIP) but it’s worth riding as long as he is closing out games for Oakland.
  • We do have some positive news this week ,as Ken Giles was able to return this past weekend, only spending the minimum amount of time on the IL. He’s been lights out this year and if he were to find himself on a better team, could be a top tier closer. Craig Kimbrel is looking at a Thursday/Friday debut for the Cubs and while he will have his limitations early on, should slot right into the closer role from the get-go. His minor league appearances have been ok, although I am a little worried about the fact his fastball was 94-95 his last time out. It’s something the Cubs don’t seem too worried about, but it’s worth monitoring once he comes up.
  • Blake Parker‘s not dead yet in the Twins bullpen, it seems, as he picked up a hold this past weekend and now we may be back to an even split in Minnesota. Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen could be headed towards a similar platoon, as the Reds plan on using Iglesias in different situations going forward.
  • Emilio Pagan is currently filling in as the Rays closer, and could continue to see some saves even once Jose Alvarado returns, whenever that may be.
  • I know it’s frustrating but I’m still holding onto Jose Leclerc, even as Chris Martin seems to be splitting save chances with Shawn KelleyThis should still be Leclerc’s bullpen sooner rather than later, and as long as he isn’t destroying your ratio’s, he still will help add to your strikeouts for the time being.
  • In Boston, I’ve just about given up on this bullpen and at this point. No one is worth owning in most mixed save only leagues. Brandon Workman and Ryan Brasier seem to be doing the least amount of damage as of late, so if you need to take a flier, go with one of them.

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 Evan says:

    In a 5×5 Roto Dynasty League w/ salaries, would you drop a $16 Jordan Hicks now that hes done for the year? Or just IL him and swallow the roster spot?

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      We should find out soon enough if Hicks will get TJ, so I’d hang on until then. My guess is since he’s so young he will get surgery, meaning he’ll miss most of, if not all of 2020, in which case you’ll probably want to drop him.

  • Avatar Cody says:

    Where is Leclerc and Alvarado ranked if the take over full closing duties? I have Kimbrel and those two and Hendricks is available.

  • Avatar Ernest says:

    I have had Neris all year, but was just offered Diaz for him. I really like Neris and his peripherals, but do you think Diaz is too good to pass up?

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Both have significant upside but I still feel Diaz is the safer option. He’s been unlucky this year (.400 BABIP!) but is still missing bats at an elite rate. As is Neris, but considering Kaplers bullpen management and the Phillies likelihood to try and add a closer at the deadline, Diaz’s job security gives him the edge.

  • Avatar Chris says:

    I’ve been following this list all year and I feel it is the most thoughtful ranking of closers out there. You balance out job security with upside and you aren’t afraid to aggressively move guys up or down based on how the landscape has changed that week. Thanks for all the hard work!

    With that in mind, you don’t even know how excited I was this morning to see Carlos Martinez and Liam Hendriks sitting at 14 and 15. I feel like every year a couple of high-upside closers emerge in the middle of the season due to injury or poor performance of the incumbent closer and then just kill it in the 2nd half. My gut says these two could be those guys and I was pleased to see them already sitting right after that tier of established closers.

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Thanks Chris!

      I think Martinez especially could be in line for a big second half. He was great in the role last year and hopefully having the chance to close keeps him happy despite pleading to join the rotation.

      Hendriks should be fine too and depending on how much time Treinen misses, I’d say theres a non zero chance he could finish the year closing out games.

      There will be others to emerge as this figures to be a very active trade deadline for relievers.

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