Closing Time 7/27: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's closers for the 2021 season.

Joakim Soria has emerged over the past month as a quality closer for the Diamondbacks … just in time for the team to ship him off at the trade deadline. He obviously won’t be the only closer of interest this week, as I’d expect a dozen or so veteran relievers to change teams. Pitchers with more than one save over the past month who have a high probability of being moved by this Friday’s deadline: Soria, Daniel Bard, Brad Hand, Richard Rodríguez, Ian Kennedy, Hansel Robles, Yimi García, Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland, and Taylor Rogers (depending on injury severity). When speculating on who will get save chances for those teams come this weekend, make sure not to make too big of an investment in the two popular “next in line relievers” who are just as likely to be moved at the deadline as well; Ryan Tepera and Daniel Hudson




  • Craig Kimbrel is the only closer on the market that is a near-lock to remain in a closer role with his new team, wherever that may be. Teams like the Dodgers and Padres are likely to be interested despite having solid closers in place, but I’d still imagine Kimbrel would become the primary closer in either situation (definitely in San Diego, probably in Los Angeles). With Andrew Chafin already moved, the Cubs still are looking for new homes for not just Kimbrel, but Ryan Tepera as well who should be able to net the team a similar return as Chafin.
  • Edwin Díaz has a nice bounce-back week after last week’s pair of blown saves, as he converted three saves while striking out seven and allowing just one baserunner. That’s the Díaz I envisioned we would see this season, but consistency has been an issue for him. He still provides one of if not the highest ceiling out of any current closer, it just comes down to consistency.


  • Scott Barlow leads the Royals in saves over the past month with four, as he continues to operate as closer option 1A. Part of me wonders if the Royals are trying to beef up Barlow’s resume and attempt to trade him while his value is at its highest, but I still see that as doubtful. With Greg Holland likely on the move, that should leave Barlow as the sole closer than for the remainder of the season, but with Mike Matheny, we can never really be so sure.
  • Gregory Soto has converted the Tigers last five saves and despite the high walk rate and WHIP seems like a good bet to remain in the closer role moving forward. Michael Fulmer’s return is imminent however and that could throw a wrench in things. Like with about ten other teams in the league, we should have some more clarity on the situation in about a week’s time.


  • Brad Hand has picked an inopportune time to unravel as the Nationals will be looking to move him (and others) this week after allowing six earned runs over his past 2.2 innings pitched. Teams in the playoff hunt will surely still be interested in Hand as a left-handed setup/depth piece but I could see Daniel Hudson getting a better return than Hand.
  • Also unfortunate were the Twins, who lost All-Star Taylor Rogers (and likely his trade value) to a finger injury last night. While Rogers may stay put for now depending on the severity of the injury, I’d still expect to see Hansel Robles and possibly Alex Colomé moved as contenders try to shore up their bullpen depth.
Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Craig Kimbrel
4Ryan Pressly-
5Matt Barnes-
6Raisel Iglesias+1
7Will Smith+1
8Edwin Díaz
9Kenley Jansen-3
10Alex Reyes-1
11Aroldis Chapman-1
12Mark Melancon+1
13Jordan Romano
14Jake McGee-
15Scott Barlow+4
16Diego Castillo+2
17James Karinchak-
18Lou Trivino-2
19Kendall Graveman+1
20Ranger Suárez+2
21Gregory Soto+UR
22Heath Hembree-1
23Brad Hand
24Taylor Rogers-1
25Richard Rodríguez-1
26Ian Kennedy-1
27Joakim Soria-1
28Daniel Bard-1
29Yimi García-1
30Dillon Tate


Stash List


Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

One response to “Closing Time 7/27: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday”

  1. David says:

    I think it’s time to start preparing to have Nick Anderson on this list!

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