Closing Time 9/14: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday

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

Joe Barlow reeled off three saves this past week and has four total now since returning from his IL stint in late August. With that being the good news, it’s not exactly encouraging that he has only been able to strike out one batter over those six innings of work after having a 32.3% K rate over his first 16.2 innings pitched. After having a 13.8% SwStr rate in those first 16.2 innings, that number dropped to 4.5% over his last six outings. He should be able to hold off Spencer Patton and remain as the Rangers closer for the rest of the year, but the upside may remain limited given the disappearance of his swing-and-miss stuff, as well as the team he plays for.




  • After his four-run meltdown last week, Giovanny Gallegos has gone on to rip off four straight scoreless outings and four straight saves. Despite reports of a potential committee to replace Alex Reyes in the ninth, Gallegos has gone on to pick up the team’s past six saves and hopefully finishes the season in the role.
  • Mychal Givens has had an up and down start to his Reds career, but he continues to be the favorite for saves. After failing to record a save from Aug. 21 through Sept. 3, Givens now has three saves over the past ten days while the competition (Michael Lorenzen, Lucas Sims) continues to be inconsistent.


  • Ian Kennedy had another poor showing this past weekend, but it sounds as if manager Joe Girardi will stick with him still despite how well someone like Héctor Neris has been pitching as of late. It’s tough to completely give up on Kennedy, as the Phillies’ schedule is very easy to end the year, so just monitor how this plays out as one more blown save and/or loss could result in a change.
  • David Bednar hasn’t been placed on the IL (yet) but it feels like something that could very well happen on Tuesday. Bednar is dealing with side discomfort, which if it’s an oblique injury there’s just no reason for him to pitch again this year for a Pirates team with nothing to play for. Chris Stratton should fill in, but is far from a must-roster player.



Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Ryan Pressly-
4Raisel Iglesias-
5Kenley Jansen
6Edwin Díaz-1
7Aroldis Chapman-
8Emmanuel Clase-
9Jordan Romano-
10Will Smith-
11Jake McGee-
12Mark Melancon-
13Giovanny Gallegos
14Scott Barlow+1
15Drew Steckenrider+UR
16Mychal Givens+6
17Joe Barlow+2
18Andrew Chafin+3
19Gregory Soto-2
20Andrew Kittredge
21Kyle Finnegan+2
22Ian Kennedy-6
23Dylan Floro+1
24Alex Colomé+2
25Rowan Wick+3
26Carlos Estévez+1
27Adam Ottavino-2
28Tyler Clippard+1
29Chris Stratton+UR
30Cole Sulser-


Stash List

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/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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