Closing Time 6/21: Ranking The Top 45 Closers Every Tuesday

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Closing Time! A weekly check in on everything saves related, Closing Time is where all the closers and speculative options are broken down into tiers...

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Closing Time! A weekly check in on everything saves related, Closing Time is where all the closers and speculative options are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. Accompanied by who is most likely to assume the closer role in the event of a change in the hierarchy. It’s a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the rest of the season.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments, I’ll be sure to respond. Follow me on twitter @Just_In_Relief for daily notes on bullpen happenings through a fantasy lens. Let’s get to it.


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

2. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals) – Kelvin Herrera or Joakim Soria

3. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) – Brad Brach

4. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) – Andrew Miller

5. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox) – Koji Uehara


6. Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Neftali Feliz or Tony Watson

7. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) – Addison Reed

8. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays) – Xavier Cedeno

9. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers) – Jake Diekman or Matt Bush

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

11. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs) – Pedro Strop

12. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays) – Jason Grilli


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

14. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers) – Justin Wilson

15. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners) – Joaquin Benoit

16. Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants) – Hunter Strickland or Cody Gearrin

17. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians) – Bryan Shaw

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

19. Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals) INJURED – Sean Kelley


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

21. Will Harris (Houston Astros) – Ken Giles or Luke Gregerson

22. Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Daniel Hudson

23. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies) – Hector Neris

24. Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels) – Fernando Salas

25. Sean Kelley (Washington Nationals) – Felipe Rivero


26. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves) – Jim Johnson

27. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds) – Ross Ohlendorf

28. Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers) – Will Smith

29. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics) – Sean Doolittle

30. Carlos Estevez (Colorado Rockies) – Boone Logan

31/32. Brandon Kintzler / Fernando Abad (Minnesota Twins)

TIER 7 – Speculative

33. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

34. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

35. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers)

36. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

37/38 Ken Giles / Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

39. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

40. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)

41. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

42. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds) Currently rehabbing as reliever

43. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

44. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

45. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

46. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays) Currently on DL

47. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies) Currently on DL

48. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

49. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

50. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)


Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals)

Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins) OUT FOR THE SEASON

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

– Rasiel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)


Kenley Jansen stays in the number one spot, he bounced back from his second loss on June 11th by posting 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 3 Sv, 1 W since last week’s rankings. It will be hard for me to find someone who will usurp Kenley and his 35:4 K:BB ratio and 0.72 WHIP thus far this season.

Zach Britton claims the number three spot this week even though he allowed four men to reach base in his last two outings, maybe if that resulted in his WHIP being more than the stellar 0.69 that it sits at now, I would be worried. I’m not worried a bit, he has 21 saves on the year which is good for first in the AL.

Mark Melancon is at the doorstep to the top tier. Feels almost like a slow year for Marky Mark, but he just nailed down his 20th save. If it wasn’t for his 22:8 K:BB ratio in 28.1 innings, which contributes to his meh 1.09 WHIP compared to 0.93 last year, he wouldn’t be settling for tier two. He’s still a top option and will continue to get saves.

– This second tier saw some other interesting changes: Sam Dyson cracks the top 10 having recorded 8 saves in June already and is a great candidate to continue his success and frequent usage on a winning team in the AL West.  Meanwhile Robertson, Rondon, and Osuna are all candidates to see themselves in the third tier next week.  Robertson has not been himself, which is clear by his 2.23 WHIP over the last month of play, one more week on the benefit of the doubt for you, sir.  Rondon and Osuna have nobody to blame but their offenses for their potential fall. 12 and 13 saves, respectively, for these two, they both clearly have the stuff but don’t get the chances.

AJ Ramos gets a bump this week; he is a perfect 100% in converting save chances and sits atop the league leaders with 22. Ramos has a favorable K/9 of 11.44 and has struck out a batter in each of his last 10 appearances. He’ll likely find himself in the second tier if he keeps it up for this next week.

– The third tier shrinks with Trevor Rosenthal continuing to be badder than bad and not in a cool way, but you can’t knock the Cardinal’s closer completely, even if he probably should have lost the job already to Final Boss Seung Hwan Oh. The fact that he hasn’t been given the crook makes me feel okay leaving him at the top of tier four.

– I gave Steve Cishek some well-deserved respect bumping him into the top 15. Our pal Steve plays in the AL West for a good team, has a 0.92 WHIP, and although I wish he didn’t have 10 BB on the year already, the 39 K in 31.2 IP is getting the job done for the Mariners.

– Don’t look now, Fernando Rodney has not allowed a run all season. Seriously, now is the worst time to look, this can’t really keep up. You can’t exactly ignore it either though… 25.1 innings of no run ball with 27 K and 14 saves. That’s okay to make the third tier in my opinion, I expect a regression but Petco Park is a nice place to pitch, time will tell with this one.

Jonathan Papelbon is hurt. He stays at the bottom of the third tier because he’s going to be back in about a week it seems. Sean Kelley will be handling the closer role in the time being. Go grab him if you want an extra save or two this week but he’s temporarily in his fourth tier spot.

– A quiet type of closer, or maybe I just feel that way; Brad Ziegler makes his way into tier four this week. He’s putting together yet another solid season and sports a 2.64 ERA, which has been falling this month. I wish he struck out more batters but 43 straight save conversions means he is finding a way to do what needs to be done.

– I like both Will Harris and Jeanmar Gomez in the fourth tier, I think they both have a shot to make the third, especially Harris who has a sub 1 ERA and WHIP. However Harris is new to the job and I want to continue to see what he does. As for Gomez, he’s got the stuff but the chances have been slowing for the Phillies pen, 23rd is fair for him.

– In tier five I moved up Tony Cingrani, the Reds have been giving him some chances and he has been doing pretty decently. The Red’s closer is still not one I would advise.

– In the speculative tier not much changed, and not much should. The big injury news is that Glen Perkins is done for the year.

That sums it up for this week on Closing Time. Be sure to give me a follow @Just_In_Relief, I’ve been a little busy this weekend recovering from jet lag, but I’ll get back to updating the twitter feed later today. Look out for my next article on Thursday and as always feel free to leave your questions, comments and concerns down below – I’ll be sure to respond. 

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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