Closing Time 6/8: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

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

Daniel Bard has been amazing over the past month, and while the Coors factor scares me a bit, he very much belongs in the “good, but likely to be traded” tier. Over the past month, Bard has a .64 ERA, .93 WHIP, and 21/3 K/BB ratio, which are amongst the best numbers of all closers. For the season, Bards splits tell an interesting story. Bard and his subpar changeup continue to struggle against left-handed hitters, who have a 1.121 OPS against him (12.1 IP) whereas righties have a .372 OPS against (11.2 IP). Weirdly for Bard, he has reverse Coors splits, as in he has pitched much much better at home than on the road this season. Over 17.1 innings at home, Bard has a 2.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 28% K-BB rate. On the road, however, Bard has an 8.10 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, and 9.1% K-BB rate over just 6.2 innings. So perhaps a trade out of Colorado wouldn’t necessarily be the best outcome for Bard after all.

 

Notes

 

  • Lucas Sims now has five saves over the past two weeks and it appears safe to designate him as the Reds closer moving forward. Over that two-week span, Sims has yet to allow a run despite allowing eight baserunners over his 6.1 innings of work. He does have nine strikeouts over that time period, as the spin machine continues to garner plenty of whiffs (36.3%).
  • Kendall Graveman is still out with a Covid issue, but it sounds like he could return this weekend if his rehab assignment goes well this week. He should return to the closer role upon activation, however, we should keep in mind that he is also likely to be a prime trade candidate this deadline. My guess is that Rafael Montero won’t be traded as he has two years left before he hits free agency, and could find himself back in the closer role although Keynan Middleton could give him some competition.

 

  • Josh Staumont was activated from the IL following a brief stay with a knee injury. He should slide right back into the closer role, however, the Royals have been very willing to mix and match that role most of the season. For now, Staumont is less of a most roster and more of an interchangeable third or fourth RP option.
  • The Rays continue to do their thing, which is really frustrating because I felt J.P. Feyereisen had 2019 Emilio Pagan upside, but now it looks like Diego Castillo will be the closer for the time being. That could change tomorrow or next week or a month from now for seemingly no reason, so at this point, I just wouldn’t chase any of the Rays relievers outside of deeper leagues and AL-only formats.

 

  • The Twins seem to have copied Oakland’s closer committee ways with Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers splitting saves depending on the day. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with Robles quite yet (4.70 xFIP, 15.2% BB rate, 23% Whiff rate), but he is the right-handed option so he will probably be more on the 60% side of the save chances.
  • With Michael Fulmer landing on the IL, Gregory Soto should be in line for a few more save opportunities but it’s likely the Tigers still keep him in a timeshare with another reliever.  Soto still has a huge walk rate problem (15.9%) but has been effective for the most part, with a 3.09 ERA. EDIT: Changed this to José Cisnero who should be the RH in the committee.

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Aroldis Chapman-
3Liam Hendriks-
4Edwin Diaz
T2
-
5Ryan Pressly-
6Matt Barnes-
7Kenley Jansen-
8Craig Kimbrel-
9Raisel Iglesias-
10Mark Melancon-
11Hector Neris-
12Will Smith-
13Jordan Romano-
14Lucas Sims+8
15Alex Reyes-
16Ian Kennedy
T3
-
17Daniel Bard+11
18Yimi Garcia-1
19Brad Hand-1
20Richard Rodriguez-1
21James Karinchak
T4
-1
22Kendall Graveman-1
23Tyler Rogers+1
24Paul Fry+1
25Josh Staumont+UR
26Diego Castillo
T5
+UR
27Lou Trivino-
28Hansel Robles+UR
29Jose Cisnero+UR
30Stefan Crichton+UR

 

Stash List

 

Photo by Kamp Fender/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:

    No mention in the stash list of H.Harvey who was ticketed to be the O’s closer preseason.
    Is he a non-factor?

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Yea I’d say he’s a non-factor right now. He’s just not good enough (currently) to really be a factor in high leverage situations, even for the Orioles. We’ll see how things play out but I don’t think he’s worth any investment at this point in time.

  • Avatar Ross says:

    I’m calling it right now. Barlow is the current closer for the Royals.

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