The 2012 season has been one of the craziest when it comes to closers as no one’s job appears to be safe. Whether it is due to injury or inability, it seems like there isn’t a day that goes by when a closer isn’t being replaced. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our most recent closer rankings:
- Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (1)
- Jonathon Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies (2)
- Rafael Betancourt – Colorado Rockies (5)
- Jason Motte – St. Louis Cardinals (4)
- John Axford – Milwaukee Brewers (3)
- Jim Johnson – Baltimore Orioles (10)
- Joel Hanrahan – Pittsburgh Pirates (7)
- Joe Nathan – Texas Rangers (6)
- Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (15)
- Santiago Casilla – San Francisco Giants (16)
- Sean Marshall – Cincinnati Reds (8)
- Fernando Rodney – Tampa Bay Rays (11)
- J.J. Putz – Arizona Diamondbacks (9)
- Jonathon Broxton – Kansas City Royals (20)
- Brett Myers – Houston Astros (22)
- Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians (12)
- Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers (19)
- Addison Reed – Chicago White Sox (NR)
- Brandon League – Seattle Mariners (21)
- Rafael Soriano – New York Yankees (NR)
- Scott Downs – Los Angeles Angels (24)
- Matt Capps – Minnesota Twins (25)
- Frank Francisco – New York Mets (17)
- Henry Rodriguez – Washington Nationals (18)
- Rafael Dolis – Chicago Cubs (29)
- Casey Janssen – Toronto Blue Jays (NR)
- Dale Thayer– San Diego Padres (26)
- Alfredo Aceves – Boston Red Sox (23)
- Brian Fuentes – Oakland Athletics (NR)
- Heath Bell – Miami Marlins (NR)
Closers currently on the DL: Sergio Santos, Drew Stanton, Kyle Farnsworth, Huston Street, David Robertson
Closers out for the year: Brian Wilson, Ryan Madson, Joakim Soria, Mariano Rivera
Closers Removed Over The Past Week: Chris Sale, Grant Balfour, Francisco Cordero
- Henry Rodriguez was a closer on the rise, but things came crashing down this past week. While blowing two saves would be enough, his control has completely abandoned him. He has potentially lights out stuff, but it will be interesting to see if Davey Johnson turns to another option as they wait for the return of Drew Storen. Sean Burnett, who cleaned up the mess on Monday night, would be my leading choice to replace Rodriguez if a change is made.
- Just when you thought John Axford had completely righted the ship, he’s allowed 3 ER over his past 1.2 IP. Granted, his 5 K in that span helps to offset some of the potential drop in value (as does his shutout inning with 2 K last night), but it’s hard to consider him a Top 3 option right now. He’s still a CL1, as he’s going to remain in the closer’s role, and I would expect him to bounce back strong.
- It looks like Jonathan Broxton is back to his old self, doesn’t it? Granted, he’s not striking out batters at the elite level that he once did (9 K in 13.2 IP), but he’s now tossed 8.0 consecutive shutout innings. Over that span he’s walked just 3 batters and hasn’t allowed more than 1 hit in an appearance. He has 9 saves to go along with a 1.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Consider him a solid option in all formats as he appears to be entrenched in the job for the foreseeable future.
- Brett Myers continues to impress and, as long as he’s the Astros’ closer, has to be considered one of the better options in the league. That said, do you really expect him to continue not allowing hits (8 H in 13.0 IP)? There is likely a regression coming, so now may be the best time to unload him.
- Rafael Dolis appears to be settling into the closers role better than anyone could’ve imagined, despite allowing 2 ER in 2 IP against the Brewers last week and taking the loss yesterday. He’s picked up 4 saves to go along with a 1.13 WHIP, though the upside is limited. It’s probably only a matter of time before he loses the job, even with Carlos Marmol currently on the DL.
- While Dale Thayer is pitching extremely well, his time in the closer’s role is limited to when Huston Street is on the DL. Once Street is healthy he should immediately be reinserted into the role, so that has to keep Thayer’s value suppressed.
- Jose Valverde did leave a game recently due to a back injury, though it is considered minor. Monitor the situation, but he appears safe for the time being.