Closing Time 8/24: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

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

Alex Colomé is back closing out games for Minnesota after losing the job earlier in the year, and despite his last outing, he has been pretty effective with five saves this month. While he does have a 2.16 ERA and .96 WHIP this month, that also comes with a paltry 2/3 K/BB rate over 8.1 innings and a 5.26 xFIP. It’s really tough to recommend him based on his “under the hood” numbers, however, he has been one to prove the Statcast metrics and xStats wrong before and the Twins have a pretty sweet schedule the rest of the way after this weekend. The Twins get to play the Tigers, Cubs, Royals, and Cleveland in 21 of their remaining 32 games, making Colomé an intriguing desperation add for those needing saves heading into next week.




  • There was a stretch between June 17 and July 24 where Emmanuel Clase failed to record a save with James Karinchak picking up four saves over that time frame. It’s strange because the two pitchers have been polar opposites since that June 17 date, with Clase having a 2.25 ERA (2.43 xFIP), .80 WHIP, 25.3% K-BB and 18.1% SwStr rates over 23.2 IP, while Karinchak has a 5.56 ERA (5.57 xFIP), 1.59 WHIP, 3.8% K-BB and 9.2% SwStr rates. With Karinchak all but out of the picture now, Clase should be locked into the closer role for the remainder of the season for a Cleveland team that has seven more series against non-playoff teams.
  • The acquisition of Brad Hand has unsurprisingly been a flop for the Blue Jays, but he never really should have been a threat to Jordan Romano in the first place. Romano hit a wall in the early/middle parts of July but since then he’s been fantastic. Over the past month Romano has a 2.31 ERA (1.25 xFIP), 1.03 WHIP, and 39.1% K-BB rate over 12.1 innings pitched. With no competition to worry about anymore, Romano should be a top ten closing option the rest of the way.


  • It’s been a brutal month for Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, and while he’s been getting some bad luck (.571 BABIP), this is a team that may need to switch things up in the back end for a little while, as they had gone 7-15 heading into Barnes sixth blown save of the season yesterday afternoon. While he’s only made it through 5.1 innings in August, he has a 15.19 ERA and 2.44 WHIP, and is clearly battling some fatigue.
  • While the Mariners continue to mix and match in the later innings, Paul Sewald once again is looking like the favorite for the majority of save chances with Diego Castillo out. Drew Steckenrider will still be in the mix and isn’t a bad option in deeper leagues, but Sewald is the one to roster in most leagues going forward. Over the past two months, Sewald leads all qualified relievers in xFIP (1.79) and SIERA (1.37), and is second in K-BB% (42.1%). He may not see consistent save opportunities but he needs to be rostered in every league going forward.


  • The Reds continue to play musical chairs with their closer spot, but perhaps Michael Lorenzen could take the job and run with it (which is what I said about Mychal Givens recently). Givens had a lot of luck on his side heading into his blown save on Saturday with his 6/6 K/BB ratio in August really leaving him no room to make mistakes. Lorenzen has been great this year in his first 13.1 innings having yet to allow a run but that 12/7 K/BB ratio is also a bit of a concern.
  • Just as Joe Barlow was settling into the closer role in Texas, he winds up on the IL with a blister issue. Hopefully, it’s just a minor issue and he will be back in ten days, but Spencer Patton should be considered the acting closer in the meantime, although I wouldn’t recommend chasing saves here as this Rangers team is just not very good.


Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Ryan Pressly-
4Raisel Iglesias-
5Edwin Díaz-
6Kenley Jansen
7Emmanuel Clase+6
8Jordan Romano+6
9Aroldis Chapman-3
10Will Smith-2
11Jake McGee-2
12Mark Melancon-
13Alex Reyes-2
14Matt Barnes
15Paul Sewald+UR
16Scott Barlow+4
17David Bednar+4
18Ian Kennedy-2
19Lou Trivino-4
20Michael Lorenzen+UR
21Gregory Soto-3
22Kyle Finnegan
23Alex Colomé+1
24Daniel Bard-1
25Tyler Clippard+1
26Dylan Floro+1
27JT Chargois+2
28Rowan Wick-
29Spencer Patton+UR
30Cole Sulser


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Photo by Joe Robbins/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.

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