Closing Time 3/27: The Top 30 Closers For 2018

Rick Graham's weekly Closers update is live for 3/27, ranking all 30 closer situations.

Rank Change Pitcher Previous Next in Line
1 Kenley Jansen 1 Pedro Baez
2 Craig Kimbrel 2 Matt Barnes
3 Aroldis Chapman 3 David Robertson
4 +1 Roberto Osuna 5 Ryan Tepera
5 -1 Ken Giles 4 Joe Smith
6 Corey Knebel 6 Josh Hader
7 Felipe Rivero 7 Michael Feliz
8 +1 Cody Allen 9 Andrew Miller
9 -1 Edwin Diaz 8 Juan Nicasio
10 Sean Doolittle 10 Ryan Madson
11 Brad Hand 11 Kirby Yates
12 Raisel Iglesias 12 David Hernandez
13 +1 Wade Davis 14 Jake McGee
14 -1 Hector Neris 13 Pat Neshek
15 Mark Melancon 15 Sam Dyson
16 Brandon Morrow 16 Carl Edwards Jr.
17 +1 Jeurys Familia 18 A.J. Ramos
18 UR Dominic Leone UR Tyler Lyons
19 Blake Treinen 19 Emilio Pagan
20 Alex Colome 20 Sergio Romo
21 Arodys Vizcaino 21 A.J. Minter
22 Kelvin Herrera 22 Brandon Maurer
23 Fernando Rodney 23 Addison Reed
24 +4 Brad Brach 28 Mychal Givens
25 +4 Shane Greene 29 Joe Jimenez
26 +4 Brad Ziegler 30 Drew Steckenrider
27 -7 Blake Parker UR Cam Bedrosian
28 -2 Brad Boxberger 26 Archie Bradley
29 -2 Keone Kela 27 Alex Claudio
30 UR Nate Jones UR Joakim Soria


With Spring Training winding down and opening day just 2 days away, we will be here every week updating our relief pitcher rankings, starting with closers on Tuesdays.

There haven’t been too many changes since the initial February release, but there are some new names to the closer market which led to a few movers around the list.

  • No changes in the top 3, with that grouping separating from the rest of the pack in my mind. I’m expecting a big bounce-back season from Aroldis ChapmanAfter a shaky spring debut, he has been dominant in his last 4 appearances and should build off his September turn around.
  • While both Roberto Osuna and Ken Giles were good this spring, and have as much upside as anyone else from spots 4-30, but I’m leaning more towards Osuna being the safer option after AJ Hinch suggested he wouldn’t shy away from using Giles in some non-save, high leverage situations if they were to arise. I think that may just be coach speak and don’t see it playing out, but it’s still something to remember.
  • Cody Allen deserved a bump up, as I was admittedly sleeping on him a little in my earlier ranks. He is probably the safest bet in this second tier, which runs from Osuna (4) to Edwin Diaz (9).
  • Similar to the Giles situation, I moved Hector Neris down a spot not because I’m all of a sudden down on him, but because Gabe Kapler hasn’t exactly sounded too committed to using him as the team’s strict 9th inning guy. He’s still one of my favorite mid-late round targets and has a safe spot in tier 3, which goes from Sean Doolittle (10) to Brandon Morrow (16).
  • I’ve liked Dominic Leone a lot for some time now, and while I had a feeling he’d get save chances this year, I was not expecting them to come this early in the season. With Luke Gregerson on the DL for an uncertain amount of time, Leone should see the bulk of the save opportunities for the Cardinals to begin the year and I think there is a high probability he hangs on to the job. Tyler Lyons may get some chances, but it looks like it’s still going to be Leone’s job to lose. Tier 4 runs from Jeurys Familia (17) to Arodys Vizcaino (21).
  • Brad Brach, Shane Greene, and Brad Ziegler all get a nice 4 spot bump in the ranks, strictly because they have secured their respective jobs for the start of the season. They are less than ideal RP candidates but should be able to help you out in the save category if you are desperate.  Consider Tier 5 Kelvin Herrera (22) to Ziegler (26).
  • Tier 6 represents the 4 teams that refuse to name a closer or have named co-closers (that’s still a thing?). Blake Parker (he has the job again…?) and Keone Kela have some nice upside with their strikeout ability, but it’s become impossible to trust anything Mike Scioscia says, even when he does name someone to the role, and the only thing we really know in Texas is that Alex Claudio probably won’t be used in the 9th inning. Brad Boxberger may (probably?) get the first chance at saves in Arizona, as the team likely prefers Archie Bradley in that “fireman” role. If Fernando Rodney could provide solid value last year, I don’t see why Boxberger can’t, especially given the fact he is basically a free add right now in most leagues. Nate Jones and Joakim Soria are co-closing for a team projected to win 68 games. If you need to choose one, I’d go with Jones.

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.

2 responses to “Closing Time 3/27: The Top 30 Closers For 2018”

  1. Vinny says:

    Thank you for taking the time to put this up! In light of the Boxberger news would you drop Bradley in a 12-team points league that doesn’t award anything for holds? I’m contemplating going no-catcher in order to keep him

    • Rick Graham says:

      Thanks Vinny. I think I would, as it doesn’t seem like the Diamondbacks want any part of locking Bradley into that 9th inning closers role.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login