Another wild week in the realm of MLB closers, as we lost another to injury, possibly one or two to ineffectiveness and about 4 teams still havn’t made their situations anymore clearer than before. Zach Britton will also be activated from the DL today, giving the AL East some strong representation, with 4 of the top 5 closers right now. Kenley Jansen is still the top dog though, even if the save opportunities havn’t been there in the first half.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
- Aroldis Chapman had another sketchy week, capped by a brutal outing against Toronto Monday, but it’s too early to write him off as an elite closer option. The velocity is still there and it’s not like he is walking the yard in any of these games. I expect him to be much better after the All-Star break as the Yankees make their playoff push.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
- I had a tough time in placing Zach Britton, as I feel like he should be in tier 1 but after a lengthy DL stint, I think its best to take a wait and see approach with him. If he is his normal self for the next week or so, he gets bumped up a tier for sure. But I am a little bit concerned about him right out of the gate here.
- Addison Reed, who continues to be steady for the Mets, picked up 3 saves last week and is now up to 14 on the season. The best part about Reed is his command, as he has only walked 5 batters all year, to go along with 42 K’s over 41.2 innings.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
- Alex Colome was one of the more reliable closers in baseball not too long ago, but the wheels have suddenly fallen off as of late. In his past 4 appearances, he has allowed a total of 8 earned runs, allowing 8 hits and 4 walks. He is lucky to not have much competition behind him, but Brad Boxberger did just come off the DL and it was Colome who snagged the job from him in the first place. Boxberger through an inning last week, striking out the side in order. No change here is imminent, but another bad outing from Colome and more good ones from Boxberger could warrant a change in Tampa.
- I am giving Hector Neris a big boost on this list this week for a few reasons. The main factor being the situations in places like Texas, San Fran and St. Louis, but also because Neris has been dealing over the past few weeks. Since blowing a save on June 21st, he hasn’t allowed a baserunner in 5 innings, while striking out 7. The potential is there for him to next the next step and become a legitimate top end closing option.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)
- Safe to say, at the very least, last week was harsh on closers. Matt Bush may have lost his job for a minute, before Keone Kela was placed on the DL. He still figures to get the first crack at save chances going forward, but will have the shortest of leashes going forward. It’s certainly not out of the question that Kela will be the closer post All-Star break, if healthy. Jose Leclerc needs to be monitored closely as well, although he hasn’t been as sharp of late either.
- The Cardinals closing situation is also in flux, with both Seung Hwan Oh and Trevor Rosenthal struggling mightily lately. Mike Matheny tried Rosenthal in 2 save chances, and Rosenthal went on to allow runs in both. If I had to guess, I’d say he turns back to Oh this week. Meanwhile, Brett Cecil has been dominant lately. Take away one bad outing on June 7th against the Reds, and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in 20 straight outings. He has some closing experience, and could be a potential fallback should Oh and Rosenthal continue to falter.
- Somehow Sam Dyson gets another chance to serve as closer, this time for the Giants with Mark Melancon hitting the DL. He was absolutely horrible in Texas to begin the year, but has been solid for the Giants lately. Over the past 2 weeks he has 9 K’s in 7 innings, limiting opponents to only 4 hits and 2 walks while picking up 2 saves. It’s still really hard to trust him, but the Giants certainly seem to.
Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)
Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)