Closing Time 5/17: Ranking The Top 45 Closers Every Tuesday

Welcome to Closing Time where all the closers and speculative save options are are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. It’s a mixture of...

Welcome to Closing Time where all the closers and speculative save options are are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. It’s a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the long haul.

Added next in line arms in case a closer gets hurt or starts to get shelled.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments. Follow me on twitter @HisDudenessOfNY for the occasional snippet. 


1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Pedro Baez

2A. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals) – Kelvin Herrera

2B. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) – Andrew Miller

2C. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox) – Koji Uehara, the later in the season the more likely they will turn to Carson Smith if Kimbrel hits the DL

2D. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) – Darren O’Day, Brad Barch, Mychal Givens committee


6. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) – Addison Reed, Hansel Robles

7. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox) – Nate Jones

8. Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Tony Watson

9. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays) – Drew Storen, may be an ugly committee

10. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs) – Pedro Strop

11. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals) – Kevin Siegrist


12. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins) – David Phelps

13. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics) – Sean Doolittle

14. Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants) – Hunter Strickland

15. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros) – Ken Giles, Will Harris

16. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves) – Ugly committee with Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson


17. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers) – Justin Wilson

18. Fernando Rodney (San Diego Padres) – Ryan Buchter

19. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians) – Bryan Shaw

20. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners) – Nick Vincent

21. Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals) – Shawn Kelley, Felipe Rivero


22. Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers) – Coin toss between Tyler Thornburg and Michael Blazek

23. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies) – Hector Neris

24. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers)

25. Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Daniel Hudson, Tyler Clippard

26. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies) – Boone Logan


27. Shawn Tolleson (Texas Rangers)

28. Joe Smith (Los Angeles Angels)

29. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)


30. Kevin Jepsen (Minnesota Twins

31. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds)

32. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

33. Ross Ohlendorf (Cincinnati Reds)

34. Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)

TIER 7B – Speculative

35. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

36. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers)

37/38. Will Harris/Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

39. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

40. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

41. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

42/43. Tyler Clippard, Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

44. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)

45. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

45. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

46/47. Shawn Kelley, Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

48. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)


Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins)


Kenley Jansen is allowing more contact than usual with his cutter and the K% is down, but his 0.59 BB/9 is lovely and he hasn’t given up any bombs. Velocity has been trending up with the warm weather and I officially crowned him the clear cut #1. 

– The rest of the tier 1 gents are good at what they do and the difference in value will probably be dictated by luck and opportunity.

– Starting to lose patience with Trevor Rosenthal and his gaudy WHIP. The increased K rate is coupled with a 7.5 BB/9. He has a history of limiting the long ball so the 16.7% HR/FB should drop but I’m still bumping him to the bottom of tier 2.

A.J. Ramos is having serious control issues but he keeps getting it done. Kyle Barraclough hit a rough patch but David Phelps is still dominating. Not betting on Ramos falling apart. 

Ryan Madson’s numbers look great on the surface but his K% is down, BB% is up, and GB% is down. No serious cause for concern but he may cool down. Still not worried about Sean Doolittle taking the job back.

– I upgraded Santiago Casilla last week and then freaked out when he blew one and gave Bochy the business after another rough outing. Casilla has impressed thus far even though he blew 3 saves. My love affair with Hunter Strickland is well known and I still think there is a chance he could take over the 9th eventually. Speculative but you do have to look over Casilla’s shoulder if he stumbles.

Luke Gregerson is getting hit while Will Harris continues to beast and Ken Giles is settling in. I’ve been a Greggy believer for years and believe the rough patch will pass. 

Cody Allen’s velocity has been dropping since 2014 and he isn’t making up for it with increased control. Cody has maintained a HR/FB below 10% his whole career but perhaps the increased number of bombs allowed is slightly the result of less efficient pitching and lower velocity. He also has a lucky BABIP so the path to improvement is not that simple. Bryan Shaw has been dealing lately. 

Arodys Vizcaino is a beast but Atlanta is terrible and saves have been scarce. He does have great job security and quality ratio upside. 

– Regaining trust in Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Papelbon. The old men don’t have great stuff anymore but they can still shut the door. 

Fernando Rodney and Steve Cishek are sell highs on paper but the consensus seems to be nobody is willing to pay the increased price tag so you might as well keep riding the wave. 

Jeremy Jeffress is a quality closer but Milwaukee may deal him and Will Smith, the favorite to earn the 9th in spring Training, will be on a rehab assignment soon. 

Jeanmar Gomez leads the league in saves but Hector Neris is still lingering in the background if Gomez blows a couple. 

Shawn Tolleson is crapping out and Sam Dyson has gotten two saves in the last week. Dyson is slightly less dominant than last season but he’s still beasting and I think he takes the 9th in Texas. Jeff Banister says Tolleson is still the team’s closer but that isn’t set in stone. 

Huston Street played catch for the first time a week ago. Joe Smith still racking up saves until Street returns.

Brad Boxberger is expected back by the end of the month and will close right away. There is a chance he struggles and Alex Colome gets the job back.

Glen Perkins finally played catch the end of last week and is expected back in June. Kevin Jepsen is still the closer until then although Trevor May could get a chance if Jepsen doesn’t pull it together soon. May is getting knocked around lately too. Forced to choose I’ll take Perkins but my gut still says he is cooked. 

Tony Cingrani and Ross Ohlendorf will split what few save opps come around in Cincy. Ohlendorf has given up runs in 4 of his last 6 outings.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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