Closing time baby. One final rundown of closers and speculative saves before the season starts. Tiers 1-3 are safe and sexy, arms in tier 4 are locks for saves but contain some flaws, tier 5 is ugly but saves don’t have a face, and tier 6 is speculative.
It’s a big season ahead of us, and check back on Thursdays for adjusted closer rankings through the year.
The Astros haven’t declared a closer yet and after a rough Spring Giles is no longer a lock. Seems silly to overvalue ST but Gregerson has proven he can get it done and reliever value hinges more on opportunity than skill. Giles is tier 2 once he is officially handed the 9th. Osuna gets the nod in Toronto and has tier 2 upside.
10. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)
11. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)
14. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)
15. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)
Zero faith in Grilli but Vizcaino might not get the job until Grilli is shipped out of town. I actually trust Ziegs but the low strikeouts are a bummer. Can’t shake the feeling that Perkins is half broken and another physical meltdown is coming. McGee still hasn’t gotten the job but it is almost certainly his, however pitching half your games in Colorado is brutal. Already rumblings Texas might spread it around a bit in the 9th. Doolittle has injury risk. I’m worried old man Casilla slows down and he has Strickland/Romo breathing down his neck. Jeffress and Hoover may find their way into tier 3 relatively soon. Colome is the heavy favorite to get saves while Boxberger is out, his numbers out of the pen last season were truly dominant but he has to do serious work to keep the job all season.
18. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)
27. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)
Gregerson has tier 3 skill but Giles is the heavy favorite. Andrew Miller/Betances are undeniably valuable in roto leagues with IP limits, but after Miller’s chipped non-pitching wrist it is tough to say who will close until Aroldis is back, and even if you guess right (and pay for both) you’re only getting potential saves out of 30 games. Not that exciting if you are just chasing saves.
Tier 6 – Speculative Saves
Jepsen and Madson are vultures waiting for Perkins and Doolittle to get hurt. Strickland and Kela are two of my favorite stashes although Romo and Dyson could also be considered if Casilla and Tolleson crap out. Betting on Cishek losing the job eventually, Benoit is old reliable and Zych is the sexy option after an insane Spring. Quack is likely the guy if/when Rodney falls apart. Could see Geltz get some opps while Boxberger is out. Osuna is a superstud but youngins do have a shorter leash so Storen might get the call up if Roberto hits a rough patch. Knebel is more of a wait and see at this point but he has been called the closer of the future so a terrible Milwaukee may give him a shot down the home stretch.