Closing Time 6/21: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

Aroldis Chapman and Cam Bedrosian made their returns this week, and while Chapman knows his exact role going forward, it still seems to be up in the air for Bedrosian....

Aroldis Chapman and Cam Bedrosian made their returns this week, and while Chapman knows his exact role going forward, it still seems to be up in the air for Bedrosian. Bud Norris landing on the DL yesterday makes Bedrosian seem like the logical choice as his replacement, but with the Angels protecting a 3 run lead last night, Mike Scioscia decided to bring him in to work the 7th inning. Ir could be that he is being eased in to higher leverage situations, but then again, the Angels next best reliever, Blake Parker, was used before him in the 6th inning. David Hernandez pitched the 9th, and probably would have regardless of the score. I still believe Bedrosian carries the most upside and is the guy to own here. Then again, Huston Street will probably be the “closer” a week from now and this will be all for nothing.

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. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)—Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard

  • Aroldis Chapman returned from the DL on Sunday, pitching a clean inning against the A’s while striking out 1 in a non-save situation. He was sitting 100+ with his fastball most of the outing so there doesn’t appear to be any lingering effects from the rotator cuff problem that landed him on the DL. He should be one of if not the best RP option’s going forward, although I doubt he could K 50 batters in a row without walking anyone…

TIER 2: Save Tonight

4. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)—Hunter Strickland, George Kontos

  • Cody Allen and Andrew Miller have switched roles, which caused a bit of panic amongst Allen owners, but it is nothing more than a temporary switch to allow Miller some rest. I’d expect Allen to start seeing save chances again within a week or so. If owners are willing to sell low on Allen right now, closer needy teams should take advantage.
  • Mark Melancon may be the most frustrating closer to own right now. 21 days into the month of May, and he has only seen action in 3 games. To make matters worse, he has not pitched well in his past 2 outings, which came 10 days apart. The fact he hadn’t pitched in so long could have something to do with his 4th blown save Sunday, when he allowed a walk off HR to Nolan Arenado. It’s concerning, both his usage and performance recently and if it wasn’t for the fact his job is as safe as anyone else’s, he would be down a few more spots.

TIER 3: Bound for the Floor

15. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Joakim Soria, Mike Minor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)—Blake Parker, David Hernandez 

  • I was originally planning on waiting out the month before endorsing and putting some trust into Fernando Rodney, but then he went ahead and managed to be the best RP in baseball last week (4 SV’s, 8 K’s, 0 baserunners). He is 40 years old and has always been a rollercoaster ride throughout his career, but he still somehow has 98 in his arm with a devastating changeup. He is pitching on one of the best teams in baseball right now, so ride him while he is hot. I’m still not sold that these good times will last forever for Rodney.
  • As Cam Bedrosian makes his way back to the Angels bullpen, the team loses Bud Norris to a knee injury. It means Bedrosian will be closing out games in the near future for sure. But what does it mean when Huston Street gets back (possibly this weekend)? Or when Norris returns, as he is only expected to be out for the minimum 10 days. There is still no clarity in this situation, but the job should be Bedrosians to lose here on out, regardless of when he was used last night.

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

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

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

27. Santiago Casilla/Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)—Ryan Madson

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

30. Enny Romero? (Washington Nationals)—Matt Albers, Blake Treinen

  • Sean Doolittle has done a great job filling in for Santiago Casilla while he dealt with some soreness in his non-throwing shoulder. I still see this situation reverting back to how it was prior to Doolittle ending up on the DL, with the 2 splitting the role based on matchups. It makes neither particularly appealing in most leagues, but I still feel Doolittle has more upside and is the better option for the A’s.

Disabled List

Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)

Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)

Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays)

Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

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 6/21: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday”

  1. Andrew says:

    At this point, how is Justin Wilson still a top 20 guy when Brandon Kintzler remains near bottom of the barrel? No bias because I own both (along with Kimbrel and Knebel), and since Wilson has taken over the closer job his results have not justified him being started over Kintzler. I understand Wilson’s strikeout potential is infinitely higher, but is that worth it at the expense of literally every other stat that’s accounted for? Since Wilson took over the closer role on May 9th, here’s how they shape up::

    Wilson: 4.61 ERA, 5.25 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, 1.61 WHIP, 11.20 K/9, 2.13 K/BB

    Kintzler: 3.18 WHIP, 3.36 FIP, 3.10 xFIP, 0.94 WHIP, 7.41 K/9, 7.00 K/BB

    Again I get that Wilson has much better stuff – look at the strikeouts. But the results have been really clear, and we aren’t talking about a small sample size anymore (for relievers, anyway).

    Anyway, love the work, thanks for always putting it all together. The Wilson love vs. downgrading of Kintzler (not just on this site, but everywhere) just confuses me.

    • Andrew says:

      Typo in the above, that should be 3.18 ERA for Kintzler.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Upside for me is why Wilson is still higher. He has struggled recently, but the forst month and a half he was one of the best relievers in baseball. Kintzler has just fringe-average upside at best.

  2. Andrew says:

    Appreciate the response, thank you. I understand that over the first month and a half he was one of the best relievers in baseball, but he now has an identical number of innings pitched in the closer role as he did prior. Here’s the breakdown since the switch:

    Wilson’s numbers prior to May 9th:

    13.2 innings pitched, 1.32 ERA, 1.74 FIP, 2.24 xFIP, 0.59 WHIP, 14.49 K/9, 5.50 K/BB

    Wilson’s numbers since being moved to the closer role on May 9th (pasted from above + innings pitched):

    13.2 innings pitched, 4.61 ERA, 5.25 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, 1.61 WHIP, 11.20 K/9, 2.13 K/BB

    So yeah, you can say he was one of the best relievers in the year over the first month and a half, but there is literally an identical sample size since then telling a very different story. Plus, in two of the last three seasons, he’s put up an ERA over 4 (including last year), so it’s not like history is totally on his side. I completely understand the upside with the strikeout potential, but at what point is upside simply that, upside, instead of the reality that’s playing out on the field? My team pitching numbers would look drastically different had I been starting Wilson over Kintzler since May 9, and there’s much more to say that’s not going to change vs. the alternative.

    Thanks again for the hard work – fun debate.

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