Closing Time 5/1: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Rick Graham's weekly Closers update is live for 4/24, ranking all 30 closer situations.

[closing_time list_id=”18799″ season=”2018″ include_stats=”1″]


Edwin Diaz is finally looking like the pitcher many of us thought he could become last season and right now there are only two relievers I’d consider over him for fantasy purposes. I debated Diaz vs. Aroldis Chapman at 1, but ultimately think Chapman’s numbers right now are more legitimate. Diaz is still cruising with a .105 BABIP and 4.4 BB/9 number which should lead to some regression, but ultimately I think Diaz can still be a near 2 ERA, 100 K a year closer, which puts him in rare company. Not much has changed in Diaz’s repertoire this season with the lone exception being that he is throwing his slider slightly more often and slightly harder, leading to more whiffs. The only thing to worry about with him, as always, are those bouts of control problems that seem to appear just randomly. He’s only allowed 2 hits on the year so the 7 walks haven’t hurt him, but once that BABIP starts to even out, so will the ratios.

  • Perhaps having the most surprising dominant season thus far would be Sean Doolittle. What amazes me about Doolittle is how he is able to get so many whiffs while throwing his 95 mph fastball 87% of the time. His 19.6 SwStr% rate is 3rd among all qualified relievers this season and despite a low BABIP (.111) he at least does a great job of limiting hard contact, which shows to me just how well he can command his fastball. Expect a little regression but not enough to warrant much, if any drop, in the rankings. He has a chance to move up a tier as long as he can keep dotting up that fastball and stay off the DL.
  • Hunter Strickland was the best reliever in baseball over the past week, racking up 4 saves while posting a 7/1 K/BB ratio and allowing no hits. I never thought I’d say that, but here we are. The strikeouts have been the biggest surprise (career-high 9.88 K/9), but a career low 10.2 SwStr% suggests it’s not real. You can keep riding him while he’s hot, and while you certainly can’t rule out a Mark Melancon set-back you also shouldn’t bank on it so feel free to dangle him in a potential trade.
  • Greg Holland has (had?) his job back but he just doesn’t seem comfortable doing it yet. As the disaster continues, don’t be surprised to see Bud Norris get some save chances for an extended period again. At this point, Holland is far from a must hold.

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.

12 responses to “Closing Time 5/1: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. Nick says:

    Just traded Strickland for Andrelton as a Seager CI replacement in OBP/PTS league….so good idea on dangling trade offers!

    • Rick Graham says:

      Two beliefs I generally stand by when it comes to trading in fantasy baseball.
      1. Always listen and be willing to move relievers
      2. Never sell low, unless its a reliever

  2. george says:

    You should likely update Bud Norris to the no. 1 on the closer depth chart for the Cardinals.

    Cosmetically it looked like a good signing but he’s been awful and I think Norris ends up with the most saves on the team by the end of September. He should also be higher. The team is 5th in save opportunities and Bud is 5 for 5 in his.

    • george says:

      Cosmetically Holland** looked like a good signing.

    • Rick Graham says:

      We’ll see. Holland got the last chance and he’s the one making the closer type money so I just can’t rule out the Cardinals riding this out til he improves.

  3. Sean says:

    In a league that I have Giles, is Devenski a hold? He hasn’t been given a save opportunity in a bit and I’m considering cutting him.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Definitely not a must hold if you are eyeing someone on waivers/free agency. Giles job is safe as long as he is healthy.

  4. Ryan says:

    Do I drop Holland for Felipe Vazquez or stick it out and see what happens with Holland?

    • Rick Graham says:

      I’d make that move. Who knows how long it will take Holland to get the role back now that he’s lost it for a second time.

  5. Let's Play Two says:

    Knebel get his job back from Hader?

  6. Rick Graham says:

    I’d say theres about a 99% chance.

    I’d imagine ever once in a while though we will see Hader go 2-3 innings to close out a game still

  7. Aayush says:

    Why are you so low (I guess not low per se, but mediocre) on Wade Davis?

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