Closing Time 4/17: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Rick Graham's weekly Closers update is live for 4/10, ranking all 30 closer situations.

[closing_time list_id=”17619″ season=”2018″ include_stats=”1″]


I’ve long been a Ken Giles backer largely due to his combination of skill and numbers. He was dominant over the second half of last season, and despite imploding in the World Series, I was determined to believe Giles could bounce back and be himself this season. I believe in A.J. Hinch to give him the support and leash he has earned over the past few years. While I still believe the situation can be turned around, I am not looking to die on this hill and don’t think he can be trusted right now. His lowered ranking doesn’t mean you need to go drop him for Keynan Middleton right now, as Giles upside is just way to high to give up on this early, but if you are in weekly leagues, I’d probably be sitting Giles this until further notice. It’s really a weird situation because Giles has still only allowed 2 runs on the year with no blown saves, but AJ Hinch just feels the need to use 3 different relievers in the role to confuse everyone. He still thinks Giles will lead the team in saves by the end of the year, and I’d tend to agree, but it’s certainly become clear that Giles is on thin ice right now, and can’t afford any meltdowns.

  • After a shaky first two series to begin the season, Brad Hand has been crushing over his past 5 save chances. He’s racked up 9 strikeouts over 5 scoreless innings and has allowed just one hit and one walk. I love seeing him use his slider more than his fastball, and it shows in his increased SwStr% (14.4). It certainly looks like his command issues are behind him as well, so expect him to put up top 10-12 RP numbers.
  • Keynan Middleton further cemented his status as the Angels closer these past 7 days, as he saw every save chance (3) and converted each one of them. It hasn’t been the smoothest ride, and it’d be nice to see some more swings and misses, but he’s getting the job done and is definitely worth owning right now as he further distances himself from Blake Parker. Our own Andy Patton published a great Going Deep piece on Middleton yesterday, that is definitely worth a read.
  • Just like last April, I can’t believe Bud Norris is closing out games for an actual good MLB team. Sure he has been really, really good so far this season, but the Cardinals didn’t hand Greg Holland $14 million and forfeit a first-round pick to use him in middle relief. It’s unclear when Holland will get another shot at closing out games, but one would have to assume it will be very soon, possibly as soon as this week. Norris should still make a fine set up man, for what could be a loaded bullpen, but I still worry about his ability to hold up throughout a full season as a reliever. If he can and continues to pitch this well though, the Cardinals may regret not adhering to Jeff Sullivan’s wisse words back in February…

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.

9 responses to “Closing Time 4/17: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Sir says:

    Need some insight. Last year, A total of 11 relievers had 30 or more saves while only 1 had had over 30 holds. In a Saves + Holds league, would you roll with a closer such as Kela over guys like Peacock, Minter, and Edwards Jr because of this?

    • Rick Graham says:

      In that situation, I don’t think I would. I like Kela but the other stats and overall usage won’t add up to those 3 set up options you mentioned. I don’t see Kela getting to 30 saves this year.

  2. Scott says:

    I see the rankings and treinen is higher than Strickland. Do you expect treinen to have more saves this year than Strickland and/or melancon combined (I own both giants pitchers). Is treinen a trade deadline candidate? I know the A’s acquired him last year in the doolittle and madson trade. Do the A’s view him as the closer for forseeanle future. Thanks

    • Rick Graham says:

      Maybe not combined but he should lead the three. I think Treinen’s legit, and the only concern with him is will he see enough save chances to be a difference maker in fantasy.

  3. The Charles Leroy says:

    ROS- Holland over Middleton? Thanks!

    • Rick Graham says:

      Tough but probably Holland. It’s weird saying this but he likely has the better job security once he gets going again as the teams closer. Middleton could blow one save and never see another opportunity.

  4. Ryan says:

    Drop Holland for Norris or Neris? Or hold on to Holland and see what happens? I had Holland all of last year and it was awesome owning him.

    I originally dropped Neris for Holland once he was activated, but after tonight I think it’ll be awhile before Holland is saving games or let alone getting holds.

    H2H yahoo.

  5. Play Ball says:

    Do you see a reason to hold onto Knebel? What could we expect from him when he comes back?

    I’m in a standard, season-long roto league and own Rivero, Allen, Doolittle and Knebel. Out of DL slots and have taking injury hits to Schoop, Buxton and waiting for what could be ugly news with Freeman. My hitters bench includes just Acuna who is in the minors still. Feel I need to drop Knebel and get a bat now.

  6. Jack says:

    Felipe Vasquez is Felipe Rivero right? Also for Devenski, do you think he’s worth adding right now over a Bud Norris or a Nate Jones?

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