Closing Time 7/26: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

One week to go before the MLB trade deadline and just like last week, there were two moves that have a direct impact for fantasy owners looking for saves. The...

One week to go before the MLB trade deadline and just like last week, there were two moves that have a direct impact for fantasy owners looking for saves. The first being the deal the Royals made to acquire Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter. Maurer was finally starting to settle in and had been one of the better producing RP’s over the last month, so moving into a set-up role in Kansas City is a blow to owners not in holds leagues, where he can be dropped now. Anthony Swarzak, who was in line for some save chances potentially for the White Sox also was moved, leaving closing duties solely to *sigh* Tyler Clippard. He is still almost impossible to recommend outside of the deepest of leagues.

TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Pedro Baez, Brandon Morrow

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree

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

  • Kenley Jansen showed he indeed is vulnerable, as he let up a 3 run HR to Matt Adams on Sunday which resulted in his first blown save of the season. He still is without question the best closer in baseball.

TIER 2: Save Tonight

4. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)—Juan NicasioTony Watson 

5. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)—Dellin BetancesDavid Robertson

6. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)—Brad Brach, Mychal Givens

7. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)—Jacob BarnesAnthony Swarzak

8. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)—Luke GregersonChris Devenski

9. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)—Nick VincentDavid Phelps

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

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

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

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

14. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)—Joakim Soria, Brandon Maurer

  • 3 lefties start of Tier 2, with one of the biggest surprises of the season atop the group. While Aroldis Chapman and Zach Britton have battles injuries for large portions of the year, Felipe Rivero has been absolutely lights out for the Pirates and is making a name for himself as one of the games best one relievers. He and Edwin Diaz have been the most productive closers since the All-Star break and despite an inflated xFIP, Rivero should stay locked in as a borderline elite RP option for fantasy owners.
  • The only guy in this tier not currently on a team fighting for a playoff spot would be Rasiel Iglesias. It says something about just how good he has been this season that he continues to be a very solid RP option despite the Reds losing ways. Theres a chance, probably about 3%, that he is traded in the next week, but even staying put he is a must own and started option going forward.

TIER 3: Bound for the Floor

15. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)—Brad BoxbergerTommy Hunter

16. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)—Cam Bedrosian, David Hernandez

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

18. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)—Ryan Madson, Enny Romero

19. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)—Kirby YatesPhil Maton

20. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)—Bruce Rondon, Shane Green

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

22. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)—Kyle Barraclough, Junichi Tazawa 

23. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)—Archie BradleyJorge De La Rosa 

24. Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)—Hunter Strickland, George Kontos

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

  • While Brad Hand is the “next in line” option for the Padres, he isn’t expected to stick with the team much longer leaving three potential closing options in San Diego. The most likely would be Kirby Yates, who was plucked off waivers at the beginning of the season and has since been one of the best swing and miss relievers in the game. The dark horse would be Phil Maton, a young fireballer who only just made his MLB debut June 11th. He does have plus stuff and is probably the Padres closer of the future, but may not be deemed ready for the role yet. The last option would be Carter Capps, who has been better lately in AAA, but still hasn’t seen his typical fastball velocity which is obviously a big concern for his long-term outlook.
  • Justin Wilson also seems like someone who will be dealt in the coming days, leaving a fairly large hole at the back-end of the Tigers bullpen. That hole will probably be filled by Bruce Rondon, at least until Joe Jimenez is ready to take over. This situation is really interesting because both flash dominant ability, with each showing high strikeout potential to go along with low ratios, possibly. Both need to tighten up their command a bit, but could produce a nice 1-2 punch at the end of games if everything works out.

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

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

27. Santiago Casilla (Oakland Athletics)—Blake Treinen, Liam Hendriks

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

29. Alex Claudio (Texas Rangers)—Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc

30. Tyler Clippard (Chicago White Sox)—Dan Jennings, Gregory Infante

  • Jim Johnson and Santiago Casilla have not been very effective and both may be traded soon. Owners should be prepared to move on from both. There still hasn’t been much clarity regarding St. Louis and Texas’s closer situations. Trying to move away from Seung Hwan Oh, both Brett Cecil and Trevor Rosenthal have blown saves, and Mike Matheny has yet to commit to who will get the next chance. Alex Claudio keeps getting the bulk of save opportunities for the Rangers, but I find it hard to imagine they won’t be dishing out chances to Keone Kela, Jose Leclerc and/or maybe Matt Bush still.


Disabled List

Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)

Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)

Will Harris (Houston Astros)

Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Brad Ziegler (Miami Marlins)

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 7/26: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday”

  1. Chris from Detroit says:

    Hey Rich great content as usual! Been racking my brain, I have one spot open in a competive 14 team league. Brad Brach OR Mychal Givens?! I need to go on run and it’s starts now! Thank you sir!

    • Rick Graham says:

      Thanks Chris! Great question actually. I’d lean Brach just because he is still 2nd in line if Britton is traded and the odds they trade Britton and Brach have to be lower than them just trading one or the other. If Givens finds himself closing games though, he is a must add in all formats.

  2. leftover says:

    So I have a standing offer of my Manea for his Rivero, should I take it?
    My other starters are Faria, Sale, CC, Lamet. My closer are Diaz, Doolittle.

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