Closing Time 6/14: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

The Pirates have climbed right back into the playoff picture, and should get a boost after ousting Tony Watson from the closer role finally. Felipe Rivero will get the first...

The Pirates have climbed right back into the playoff picture, and should get a boost after ousting Tony Watson from the closer role finally. Felipe Rivero will get the first crack at saves and is certainly talented enough to run away with the job, although Juan Nicasio has also been very good this season. While the Pirates are fixing their bullpen problems, I am really starting to feel a tiny bit bad for Dusty Baker. A managers worse nightmare is not having that reliable late game pitching, and Baker has absolutely no one at the moment whom he can rely on to protect a lead. They seem destined to make a deal before the deadline, and at this point, might have to bump up the urgency and get a deal done soon.

TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Pedro Baez, Josh Fields

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Matt BarnesJoe Kelly

3. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)—Jake McGee,Adam Ottavino

4. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)—Carl Edwards Jr., Koji Uehara

5. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)—Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren

  • Dellin Betances has been flawless since Aroldis Chapman went on the DL a month ago, striking out 16 in 8+ innings while not allowing a run. It’s a shame that this will likely be his last week on the list, with Chapman expected back by the weekend. Right now, I think I would put Chapman in between Craig Kimbrel and Greg Holland at #3 upon returning. Betances would return to elite set-up status, right behind Andrew Miller.

TIER 2: Save Tonight

6. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera

7. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)—Will HarrisChris Devenski

8. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)—Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw

9. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)—Nick Vincent, Tony Zych

10. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)—Derek Law, Hunter Strickland

11. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)—Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen

12. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)—Jacob BarnesCarlos Torres

13. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)—Danny FarquharTommy Hunter

14. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)—Juan Nicasio, Daniel Hudson

15. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)—Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc

  • Felipe Rivero is finally getting his shot to close out games for the Pirates, after they finally pulled the plug on Tony Watson. They had originally announced that Rivero and Juan Nicasio would split duties, but so far it has been Rivero getting the opportunities. I am being a bit conservative with his ranking here, as he really could be a top 10 option the rest of the way. Just need to make sure he is the guy, and that Nicasio won’t be vulturing any saves.
  • Matt Bush find’s himself dropping down several spots after a very sketchy week, to say the least. Lucky for him, there isn’t too much competition behind him in that bullpen at the moment, and his job should be relatively safe despite his terrible past 4 game stretch (3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3/3 K/BB). It’s fair to wonder if there is some shoulder fatigue wearing on him, as he missed some time with an AC Joint issue.

TIER 3: Bound for the Floor

16. Addison Reed (New York Mets)—Fernando Salas, Paul Sewald

17. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)—Alex Wilson, Shane Green

18. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)—Trevor Rosenthal, Brett Cecil

19. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Joakim SoriaMatt Strahm

20. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)—Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier

21. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)—Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak 

22. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)—Kyle BarracloughDavid Phelps

23. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)—Arodys Vizcaino, Jose Ramirez

24. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)—Blake Parker, David Hernandez 

  • Addison Reed was great this past week, as he continues to fill in admirably for Jeurys Familia. While he continues to be hit around a bit and has allowed 5 HR’s already, he’s been great at limiting free passes which has helped minimize potential damageWith Familia out until August at the earliest (and possibly the whole year), Reed should continue to be valued as a legit RP2 option for the rest of the season.
  • Zach Britton heads out on a rehab stint next week, meaning the end is near for Brad Brach’s on this list. Brach has been much better filling in after Britton hit the DL for the second time this season back in May, although with the Orioles scuffling, has seen a lack of save chances. He has only allowed one hit in his last 8 appearances/innings, to go with a 10/1 K/BB ratio. He is locked in right now and should return to being a top 10 set-up man once Britton finally returns.

TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)

25. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)—Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin

26. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)—Taylor Rogers, Matt Belisle

27. Santiago Casilla (Oakland Athletics)—Ryan MadsonSean Doolittle

28. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)—Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit

29. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)—Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter 

30. Matt Albers? (Washington Nationals)—Shawn Kelley, Joe Blanton

  • I have come to the conclusion that the Nationals closer job is just cursed, and anyone who is given an opportunity to protect a lead in the ninth inning for them is bound for trouble. They currently have 6 different RP’s with blown saves on the year. Matt Albers blew the first save chance the team had post Koda Glover injury, and who really knows who will get the next chance. With Dusty Baker basically begging the front office to make a trade for relief help, I’d suggest staying away from any and all options in that bullpen until the dust settles. I think Enny Romero deserves the next chance, with Trevor Gott getting a look at some point perhaps if he pitches well in the coming weeks.

Disabled List

Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)

Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)

Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)

Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)

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.

4 responses to “Closing Time 6/14: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday”

  1. Goingfish says:

    I have Reed and Melancon (12team H2H)
    I feel Melancon is worth rostering despite lack of chances, hopefully he’s traded.

    That being said do you think it’s worth dropping Reed for Rivero?
    I get that Rivero likely has a higher ceiling but ROS who do you like more?
    I don’t really have another drop option.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Unfortunately Melancon probably won’t be traded after signing a 5 year deal this offseason with the Giants. Rivero should be owned, and I think Reed is droppable to make this happen, although all 3 would be nice to have. Theres a chance Familia is back in August, while Rivero should be closing the rest of the season.

  2. Sticki says:

    Bush looked pretty good last night against Altuve.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Altuve looked lost against that slider. It was nice to see him have a clean outing after his last 3. Perhaps the biggest positive though was that even after his recent struggles, Bannister still went to him for the 4 out save.

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