Closing Time 8/17: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

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

Following the trade of Yimi García to the Astros, Anthony Bender became a popular waiver wire target, and for good reason. He’s having an amazing rookie season and is establishing himself as one of the better relievers in the game. Of course, that meant the club was going to turn to veteran Dylan Floro as their new closer despite not being the best option. After blowing a save on Saturday, Floro did bounce back Sunday to pick up his fifth save of the season. Over the past two weeks, Bender and Floro each have two saves apiece, however, Bender has a 3.38 ERA and 0.94 WHIP compared to Floro’s 8.31 ERA and 1.85 WHIP. It still feels like only a matter of time before Bender takes over full time in Miami, but Floro is still hanging on to the job for now, so perhaps it’s too early to give up on him completely in deeper leagues.




  • It looks as if Aroldis Chapman will not need a rehab stint and could return to the Yankees bullpen later this week. Despite having a rocky July, the team desperately needs a healthy Chapman, as interim closer Zack Britton has had issues of his own and is not the same pitcher he once was.
  • I’ve talked about Mychal Givens quite often lately, so I’ll keep this short. Givens has converted the team’s last three save opportunities while allowing just two hits over his first 8.1 innings pitched in a Reds uniform. The job should remain his unless he implodes in the coming weeks.


  • It’s not that Scott Barlow has pitched poorly, it’s just that he hasn’t seen any save chances lately with just two after the All-Star break (except for the one he blew last night). The save opportunities aren’t exactly being spread out though, as the Royals just haven’t been able to manufacture chances. Now with Greg Holland out of the picture, it may give Barlow a tighter grasp on the closer role, but as we’ve seen with Mike Matheny all year, there really isn’t a designated closer in this bullpen.
  • Joe Barlow, on the other hand, is coming off a week where he converted his first and second career saves, and it appears he has passed Spencer Patton in the pecking order. The move comes as a bit of a surprise as Patton, the veteran, has pitched well this season, but you can’t argue against giving Barlow the role after he’s allowed just one run over 14.2 innings of work.


  • The Pirates relievers have only accounted for one save over the past month, and that was literally a month ago when Richard Rodríguez was still around. That said, based on recent usage it looks like David Bednar will get the first crack when a save chance eventually presents itself, as he’s been following Chris Stratton in games lately. Bednar presents the much better choice than Stratton, who has been a bit of a mess lately and could be good for a couple of saves down the stretch.
  • In Seattle, it seems that Drew Steckenrider may be the new ninth-inning option with Diego Castillo being his primary setup man and Paul Sewald presumably working the seventh inning of games. Obviously, nothing is set in stone but based on usage the past two weeks, this appears to be the plan at present. In the last three games Castillo and Steckenrider have pitched in together (8/6, 8/11, 8/13), Castillo has worked the eighth, and Steckenrider the ninth. Steckenrider also picked up a save on the eighth of August, working the final two innings following Sewald.


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


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Photo by John Jones/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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