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Closing Time 8/25: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's closers for the 2020 season.

We had our first big trade of the season this past weekend, with the Red Sox sending Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies for Nick Pivetta and prospect Connor Seabold. With Hector Neris struggling mightily to begin the year, Workman has slid right into the Phillies closer role, and so far has seen mixed results. His walk rate remains way too high, but unlike last year, his BABIP (.483) is also higher than normal. That number will surely go down over time, but I’m still worried about his inability to miss bats at a high clip for a closer.

 

Notes

 

  • The Cardinals may be mixing and matching when it comes to saves, but if there’s one reliever to roster, it’d be Giovanny GallegosHe picked up the team’s latest save chance, going 1.1 IP and allowing no baserunners.
  • Taylor Williams happened to have the best week of any closer, picking up three saves and seven strikeouts in four outings. The week brought his ERA and WHIP down to 3.00 and 1.08 respectively, which as far as closers go this season, puts him in All-Star territory. His success this season can be attributed to throwing his slider more, about 24% more, with the pitch becoming his primary offering.

 

  • It’s been a rocky start to Emilio Pagan’s Padre career, but with Kirby Yates and Drew Pomeranz out, he looks to be in line for the bulk of the save chances there. Perhaps returning to the closer role he was so good in last year helps get him right and turn his season around. Some guys just pitch better in certain situations compared to others.
  • Jordan Romano seems to have taken over in Toronto as the team’s interim closer. Anthony Bass hasn’t been terrible, it’s just that Romano has been so lights out. Ken Giles still doesn’t have a timetable to return, so Romano is worth an add wherever available.

 

  • With the Workman trade, it opens up save opportunities in Boston for Matt Barnes, well at least until Barnes himself is traded. It hasn’t been a great year for Barnes, whose walk rate has been on a steady incline for the past four years. A move out of the division would do him wonders, as five of the seven earned runs he’s allowed this season have come against the Yankees.
  • Daniel Bard was used in save situation last night for the Rockies, with Carlos Estevez pitching the prior inning. Bard’s been a great story this season, but the lack of swing and miss stuff and Coors factor don’t have me too excited to roster him at the moment.

 

  • The Cubs closing situation is turning into a committee, with Rowan Wick and Jeremy Jeffress both in the mix and Craig Kimbrel still lurking. Each one earned a save this past week, although all three struggled in their last outings. I’m going to keep Wick in as the closer for now, but Kimbrel might be the best bet long term.
  • The Giants figure to mix and match Tyler Rogers and Tony Watson for saves for the foreseeable future, making neither particularly appealing from a fantasy standpoint. Rogers should get the bulk of the chances though being the right-handed half of the platoon.

 

  • There’s been no official announcement yet, but I’d imagine Joe Jimenez is out as the Tigers closer. Buck Farmer or Jose Cisnero would be next in line to take over, with the veteran Farmer likely the best bet. This is not a situation to chase after.
  • John Curtiss was the first Ray to pick up a save after the Nick Anderson injury, but this is still looking like a full-blown committee moving forward. Diego Castillo has the highest upside of the group but has yet to see a save chance this season.

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Aroldis Chapman+1
3Liam Hendriks+1
4Kenley Jansen+2
5Edwin Díaz
T2
+4
6Taylor Rogers+1
7Alex Colomé+3
8Brad Hand+8
9Ryan Pressly+2
10Raisel Iglesias
T3
-2
11Trevor Rosenthal+1
12Rafael Montero+1
13Mark Melancon+1
14Archie Bradley+3
15Giovanny Gallegos
T4
+UR
16Daniel Hudson+4
17Ty Buttrey+6
18Taylor Williams+12
19Brandon Workman-1
20Emilio Pagán+UR
21Jordan Romano
T5
+UR
22Brandon Kintzler+4
23Keone Kela+1
24Matt Barnes+UR
25Daniel Bard+UR
26Rowan Wick-4
27Tyler Rogers
T6
+1
28Buck Farmer+UR
29Cole Sulser-
30John Curtiss+UR

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm 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.

  • Ross says:

    Seems like it’s probably Richard Rodriguez in Pittsburgh with Keone Kela’s ailing forearm.

  • Armadillofury says:

    Fairbanks is the most dominant reliever in TB after Anderson, I’d go for him ahead of Castillo or Curtiss

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