Closing Time 7/2: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday
Light pink row designates Closer By Committee
- After last week’s meltdown against the Phillies, Edwin Diaz saw his ERA shoot up to the high 4’s, a far cry from the 1.96 ERA he finished last season with. It’s been a trying year for him, and the Mets in general, but it’s still too early to give up on Diaz just yet. He’s been unlucky with not only his .397 BABIP, which is 2nd highest among all relievers, but also a 22.6% HR/FB rate that’s much higher than his 14.8% career average. He still ranks in the top 10 among relievers in K-BB% (30.4%), SwStr (18.2%) and SIERA (2.53), so better days should be ahead. I’d be looking to buy low where I can, with hope the second half treats him better than the first.
- Blake Treinen‘s IL stay looks likely to be a short one, with the latest reports suggesting he will be activated tomorrow when he’s 10 days are up. I’d imagine he will get his job back eventually, but I’m not so sure it will be right away with how well Liam Hendriks has pitched. Hendriks has allowed just three runs since the beginning of May while having a 38/9 K/BB rate over 28.1 IP over that span while Treinen’s ERA sits at 4.08 to go along with a 1.53 WHIP. Was last season just a fluky career year for Treinen, or were the injuries he’s battled all year to blame for his bloated ERA and WHIP? The answer probably lies somewhere in between, but we should get more clarity on the issue during the All-Star break. For now, both Treinen and Hendriks are worth owning in most leagues, at least until we see how the situation plays out.
- It’s now July so that means we have to start considering all the potential trade candidates who could lose or gain save opportunities come August 1st. Starting with tier 2, it’s nice to hear confirmation that Felipe Vazquez is not going to be moved as he has thrived since arriving in Pittsburgh 3 years ago. There have been some rumblings that Brad Hand could be made available but I don’t see why the Indians would rush to move him while in the middle of the AL Wild Card race. Will Smith is far and away the best reliever guaranteed to be moved at the deadline, and barring a deal with the Dodgers, should still be closing wherever he ends up. The same goes for Ken Giles. Other closers like Shane Greene, Alex Colome and Greg Holland, while having success this season, are looking at more of a 50-60% chance at closing once being moved this month.
- Raisel Iglesias’s struggles continue and it’s becoming clear that a non-traditional closing role is not for him. I’m sure the Reds will be shopping him this deadline but it remains to be seen what kind of market there will be for him given his remaining contact. As much as the Rockies would love to get out of their Wade Davis commitment, that seems to be almost impossible at this point. For now, they’ll keep rolling Davis out there in the 9th, but one or two more blown saves in the coming weeks could change things.
- Finally, on July 1st, we finally have some clarity regarding the Red Sox bullpen and especially the closer situation. Brandon Workman seems like the favorite for saves for now, but the job will go to Nathan Eovaldi once he returns from the IL. This move has been rumored for a while now, and it makes sense as bullpen help is the biggest need for the Sox right now and Eovaldi was lights out coming out of the pen this past postseason.