Ranking All 30 MLB Closers (As Of July 14, 2011)

Let’s take a look at how the closers currently rank based on their performances to date in 2011 (their previous ranking is in parenthesis):

  1. Heath Bell – San Diego Padres (1)
  2. Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants (2)
  3. Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees (3)
  4. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (4)
  5. Jonathan Papelbon – Boston Red Sox (6)
  6. Joel Hanrahan – Pittsburgh Pirates (7)
  7. Carlos Marmol – Chicago Cubs (8)
  8. Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers (10)
  9. Joakim Soria – Kansas City Royals (9)
  10. Huston Street – Colorado Rockies (11)
  11. Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians (12)
  12. Jordan Walden – Los Angeles Angels (14)
  13. Drew Storen – Washington Nationals (20)
  14. Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers (15)
  15. Francisco Cordero – Cincinnati Reds (5)
  16. Andrew Bailey – Oakland Athletics (13)
  17. Leo Nunez – Florida Marlins (18)
  18. Kyle Farnsworth – Tampa Bay Rays (17)
  19. Sergio Santos – Chicago White Sox (16)
  20. John Axford – Milwaukee Brewers (19)
  21. Fernando Salas – St. Louis Cardinals (22)
  22. Antonio Bastardo – Philadelphia Phillies (23)
  23. David Hernandez – Arizona Diamondbacks (26)
  24. Matt Capps – Minnesota Twins (28)
  25. Brandon League – Seattle Mariners (24)
  26. Kevin Gregg – Baltimore Orioles (25)
  27. Bobby Parnell – New York Mets (NR)
  28. Mark Melancon – Houston Astros (29)
  29. Javy Guerra – Los Angeles Dodgers (30)
  30. Jon Rauch – Toronto Blue Jays (27)

Currently on the DL:

  • Ryan Madson – Philadelphia Phillies
  • J.J. Putz – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Jonathan Broxton – Los Angeles Dodgers


  • David Hernandez has been impressive as the Diamondbacks closer, picking up 5 saves in his last 5 appearances (4.1 innings), allowing 0 ER on 0 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, in the process.  However, the Diamondbacks will turn back to J.J. Putz once he’s healthy, so there is currently a shelf life on his value.  Of course, given Putz’ history, would it be surprising if Hernandez was pressed into action again?  Keep him stashed, even once Putz returns.
  • Francisco Cordero certainly went from hero to zero in a blink of an eye, didn’t he?  He blew three saves last week, posting an 18.90 ERA and 3.60 WHIP over his 3.1 innings of work.  We all knew a regression was coming, but couldn’t he have spread it out a bit?  He should remain closer, unless his struggles really continue, but he certainly takes a tumble in these rankings.
  • How streaky is Jordan Walden?  When he struggles he does it in bunches, but when he’s on he is lights out.  Granted, the strikeouts haven’t been there of late (only 3 K over his past 6.2 innings), but that really shouldn’t be a major concern.  He has 41 K in 38.0 IP and should start whiffing people again before long.
  • Drew Storen has gone seven consecutive outings without allowing a run (7.0 innings) and has posted a 2.53 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while accumulating 23 saves on the season.  He certainly appears to be establishing himself as one of the best closers in the league, doesn’t he?
  • Antonio Bastardo continues to pitch well, but it doesn’t make sense to move him up too far with his job in jeopardy, does it?
  • The Blue Jays have replaced Frank Francisco with Jon Rauch, at least for now.  That is by the far the most frustrating situation for fantasy owners and one that should be avoided, if possible.
  • For now John Axford will remain listed as the Brewers closer, as it is hard to imagine the team risking Francisco Rodriguez’ option actually vesting.  However, we’ll have to keep a close eye on the situation moving forward.  As for the Mets, I am assuming that it will be Bobby Parnell who takes the job, though Jason Isringhausen and Pedro Beato could also factor into the mix.


  1. Pat says:

    What about the possibility that Bell gets traded and becomes a setup man?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Pat, that certainly is a concern, but it is hard to downgrade him over speculation. Until he is actually traded we have to consider him an elite closer.

      That’s not to say I would go out and trade for him right now, of course

  2. Brewers could have done better IMHO. K-Rod may be my least favorite player in baseball (funny that both K-Rod and A-Rod are on that list!). If indeed Bell was potentially available that would have been far better.

    K-Rod is highly paid, poor performing. Not a good combo. But maybe the less volatile environment in Milwaukee will help. We’ll see.

  3. Pat says:

    I own Bell in my h2h league, but holds also count, so I’m good either way. In a non holds league I don’t think his trade value would be as high as his ability.

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