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Closing Time 6/14: Ranking The Top 45 Closers Every Tuesday

Closing Time, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. Welcome, everyone, to my first iteration of Closing Time. I’m Justin Perri, the newest writer here at...

Closing Time, you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. Welcome, everyone, to my first iteration of Closing Time. I’m Justin Perri, the newest writer here at Pitcher List, I’ll be taking over and writing this article and The Hold Up every week from here on out.

Every week here at Closing time we break down all the closers and speculative save options into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. As well as who is most likely to assume the closer role in the event of a change in the hierarchy. It’s a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the rest of the season.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments, I’ll be sure to respond. Follow me on twitter @Just_In_Relief for daily notes on bullpen happenings through a fantasy lens. Let’s get to it.

TIER 1

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Pedro Baez

2. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals) – Kelvin Herrera or Joakim Soria

3. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) – Andrew Miller

4. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox) – Koji Uehara

5. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) – Brad Brach 

TIER 2

6. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays) – Jason Grilli

7. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays) – Xavier Cedeno 

8. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox) – Nate Jones

9. Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Neftali Feliz or Tony Watson

10. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) – Addison Reed

11. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs) – Pedro Strop

TIER 3

12. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers) – Justin Wilson

13. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals) – Kevin Siegrist

14. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers) – Jake Diekman or Matt Bush

15. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins) – David Phelps

16. Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants) – Hunter Strickland or Cory Gearrin

17. Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals) – Felipe Rivero  Update: Paps just hit the DL and Sean Kelly got the most recent save. It’s between him and Rivero

18. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians) – Bryan Shaw

19. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners) – Joaquin Benoit

TIER 4

20. Will Harris (Houston Astros) – Ken Giles 

21. Fernando Rodney (San Diego Padres) – Ryan Buchter

22. Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels) – Fernando Salas

23. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies) – Hector Neris

24. Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers) – Will Smith

25. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics) – Sean Doolittle

TIER 5

26. Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Daniel Hudson

27. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves) – Jim Johnson

28. Carlos Estevez (Colorado Rockies) – Boone Logan 

29. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds) – Ross Ohlendorf

30/31. Brandon Kintzler / Fernando Abad (Minnesota Twins

TIER 6 – Speculative

32. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

33. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

34.  Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

35. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers)

36. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

37/38 Ken Giles / Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

39. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

40. Rasiel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds) Currently rehabbing as reliever 

41. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

42. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

43. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays) Currently on DL

44. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies) Currently on DL

45. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

46. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

47. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

48. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)

INJURED

Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

– Rasiel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)

NOTES

Alex Colome makes it into the second tier for my first closer rankings, I almost want to get him into the elite first tier level but the only thing holding me back is the looming Brad Boxberger. Colome has a 0.96 ERA, has no blown saves on the year and only allowed runs in two appearances, the last was against Toronto on May 1st. His last two outings have been a little shaky, allowing six base runners, but yet none the two before that. I think the Rays should let this guy close even when Boxberger does return.

Jeurys Familia leads the majors in saves with 21 but finds himself in tier two because of the 12 earned runs in just 30.1 innings pitched, he only allowed 16 all of last year. He has doled out 10 walks already this season and his BAA is at a worrisome .250, yet he hasn’t blown a save this year – that will change. The Mets pitching staff gives him the chance to match or pass his 43 save total from last year, but he’s going to give up some runs along the way. 

Roberto Osuna got the weekend off because he had appeared 10 times in 17 days. His job is safe, nothing to worry about. 

Will Harris was handed the closing reigns last week for the Houston Astros, Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson figure to have a chance to take the role if Harris can’t hold it down. That does not seem likely to me, however, as Harris has stellar numbers thus far: in his most recent outing he allowed his second earned run and fifth and sixth walks of the year. That should give you confidence that his 0.63 ERA and 0.80 WHIP are legitimate. The Astro’s are in the top third of the league in SvO (Save Opportunities), so I expect Harris to climb the ranks over the coming weeks.

– Dead last in SvO is the best team in baseball, the Cubs. Hector Rondon suffers from the measly 15 chances at saves that his team has created over the 62 games they’ve played. He’s still got unreal stuff, like that delicious 0.64 WHIP and 29:2 K:BB ratio, but until the Cubs offense stops blowing people out he will still continue to lag behind the leaders in saves. 

Jake McGee landed on the DL for the Rockies and after converting his save, Carlos Estevez was named the closer for the time being. Boone Logan figures to get a chance on the off days for Estevez, like last Sunday, but the job should belong to McGee upon his return. We’ll keep an eye on that situation, though.

Arodys Vizcaino heads to the fifth tier as he only holds seven saves for the season. He also could lose the job to Jim Johnson if things get rough, there’s not much job security in the Braves pen. 

Kevin Jepsen was pulled from the closer role and the Twins will now be using both Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad to close. Abad is a lefty killer, so it will be situational. Not a pretty scenario in their bullpen, though, Glen Perkins suffered yet another setback and Trevor May just hit the DL. The Twins called up their 2nd round pick from 2012, JT Chargois to fill May’s spot on the roster and since the team has nothing to play for they might give their prospect a chance to close at some point, no promises on that one. 

Santiago Casilla got a clean save on Sunday! I use the exclamation point because if you own Casilla and/or are a Giants fan, you know he’s been having some difficulty over the last few weeks. His job is safe for now, though I’m not positive who would inherit the role if that were to change. It would be between Hunter Strickland and Cory Gearrin.

– I don’t like the Reds for many reasons, but I definitely do not recommend Tony Cingrani as a reliable save option. The Reds do not give him many chances and news has come out that Rasiel Iglesias is rehabbing as a reliever and it is assumed he will be the closer upon return. Not great news for anyone who has been holding Iglesias in hopes of a starter but an interesting stash in super deep saves leagues.

– UPDATE: Papelbon just went on the 15 day DL with an intercostal strain, Sean Kelley got the save last night and it should be between him and Felipe Rivero to close games. Still awaiting word from Dusty Baker, nothing official yet.

We may see some trades happen regarding closers, most interestingly with my home town Yankees. The ‘No Runs DMC’ (Dellin, Miller, Champan) group could be used to give the Yankees much needed building blocks for the future. The rule of thumb here is that teams that are out of contention and have better than average closers are most likely to be moved.  

We’ll keep you updated here weekly on any rumors regarding trades and the like, and follow me at @Just_In_Relief to stay up to date through the week.

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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