Closing Time 6/29: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's closers for the 2021 season.

Things haven’t been smooth for Raisiel Iglesias in his first season with the Angels, but there’s reason to be optimistic for the second half of the season. Iglesias is still missing bats at an elite rate and currently ranks in the top five amongst all relievers in SwStr%, CSW%, Whiff%, and K-BB% rate. His xStats all suggest he’s performed better than the 3.74 ERA suggests, with a 2.02 xFIP and 1.87 SIERA, which also rank amongst the top five of all qualified relievers while his .244 xwOBA and 2.36 xERA are career bests for Iglesias. Now is the time to buy Iglesias where you can, but coming off a week where he had two saves and ten strikeouts while not allowing a baserunner, the price may be higher than what you hoped for.

 

Notes

 

  • I talked about last week how the Blue Jays would rather not use Jordan Romano in a traditional closer role but they are forced to due to a lack of alternatives. The thing is he’s been awesome in the role, and I wonder if they just keep him in the role even when Julian Merryweather and Rafael Dolis return. It’s hard to trust Dolis in the role anyway given his high walk rate but Merryweather may be better suited to be that potential multi-inning setup/fireman type.
  • Diego Castillo continues to act as the Rays “closer” but we know that could change at any minute. While he has a 4.15 ERA for the month of June, Castillo does have four saves to his name to go along with an impressive 14/1 K/BB rate. Pete Fairbanks had a rough week and J.P. Feyereisen is dealing with drastic drops in his spin rate (albeit successfully at the moment) so perhaps Castillo gained some leash this past week. Then again it’s the Rays, so probably not.

 

  • Kendall Graveman had himself his best week since returning from the IL, as it looks like his velocity has returned. He is dealing with a small drop in spin rate on his sinker and slider, perhaps the reason behind the lack of strikeouts as he’s lost some break on his slider and horizontal break on his sinker so that is worth keeping an eye on.
  • There’s not much to report on in the “Trade Tier”, but I just want to plug Eric Dadmun’s article from last week on potential closers who could be on the move next month. While I could definitely see one or maybe two from this tier wind up in a closer role elsewhere, I think it’s time to start planning for life without them helping out in the save category.

 

  • With both Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone on the IL with arm injuries, the Reds seem to have no other choice but to turn back to Amir Garrett as the team’s closer. My concern with Garrett entering the season was that he has pretty poor splits against right-handed hitters, and those concerns have certainly not gone away this season as they hold an absurd 1.103 OPS against him this year. The Reds really need to limit him to facing lefties only as much as possible, as he has yet to develop a pitch that can counter righties. That being said, Garrett has put together a solid couple of weeks here, only allowing two runs over his past 6.1 innings of work with a 10/2 K/BB rate.
  • The closer situation in Philadelphia came full circle last Friday as Héctor Neris lost and regained the role in the same day, then proceeded to blow a save on Saturday and once again cough up the job. Archie Bradley is currently the favorite for saves here I suppose, but he’s obviously not someone that can be recommended at this time. Neither is José Alvarado and his league-worst walk rate. Neris or perhaps even Connor Brogdon are the best options in this bullpen right now, but I would definitely expect the Phillies to look for outside help next month.

 

  • With Michael Fulmer landing on the IL again, it looks like José Cisnero will get a chance to close out some games in the meantime, perhaps splitting the role with Gregory Soto. Cisnero holds good ratios for the season and has closer type stuff but he’s not a must-add by any means as he is in a closer committee for the Tigers.
  • Paul Fry struggled again yesterday in a save opportunity, and at this point, I’d imagine they turn to someone else for the next save chance. Cole Sulser has pitched well for them all year and despite entering in the fourth inning of yesterday’s game should get a chance to lock down the closer role for this team. Sulser does have the most saves on the team over the past month, albeit only two.

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Aroldis Chapman
T2
-
4Edwin Diaz-
5Ryan Pressly-
6Craig Kimbrel-
7Matt Barnes-
8Kenley Jansen-
9Raisel Iglesias-
10Will Smith
T3
-
11Jordan Romano+5
12Alex Reyes-
13Mark Melancon+1
14Brad Hand+1
15Diego Castillo
T4
+3
16James Karinchak+1
17Jake McGee+2
18Kendall Graveman+3
19Taylor Rogers+1
20Lou Trivino+2
21Ian Kennedy
T5
+3
22Yimi Garcia+3
23Richard Rodriguez+3
24Daniel Bard-1
25Amir Garrett
T6
+UR
26Archie Bradley+UR
27Jose Cisnero+UR
28Greg Holland+1
29Cole Sulser+UR
30Joakim Soria
T7
+UR

 

Stash List

 

Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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 Mike Honcho says:

    Leading in saves with Hader, Barnes, Pressly, and Fairbanks. Need K’s.
    Are either Barnes or Pressly too much to give for T.Mahle?

  • Avatar Mallex P. Keaton says:

    It wasn’t really a save situation yesterday for Paul Fry. Technically, it was, but he pitched the 8th (perfect inning) and then Hyde ran him back out for the 9th. He struck out Yordan Alvarez, then fell victim to a HBP, 2 GB singles, and a floating opposite-field “line drive” that all resulted 2 ER (his 3rd ER came after he was replaced by Pluto). He did end up with the W, so it wasn’t all bad.

    • Avatar Mallex P. Keaton says:

      Plus, Sulser came on in relief of Eshelman the middle of the 4th and didn’t look very good in his 1.2 IP.

      • Rick Graham Rick Graham says:

        Yea Sulser isn’t exactly exciting but Fry has really struggled since the league started talking about cracking down on the sticky stuff. With his RPM’s way down, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

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