Closer Rankings (May 23, 2012): Heath Bell Surging, Aroldis Chapman Emerges & More

Fantasy owners who have been waiting for Aroldis Chapman to be named the Reds’ closer finally got their wish, but that is hardly the only change to the rankings this week.  Heath Bell has rediscovered himself, J.J. Putz is imploding and much more.  Let’s take a look at how everything currently stands:

  1. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (1)
  2. Jonathon Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies (2)
  3. Jim Johnson – Baltimore Orioles (6)
  4. Joe Nathan – Texas Rangers (8)
  5. Joel Hanrahan – Pittsburgh Pirates (7)
  6. John Axford – Milwaukee Brewers (5)
  7. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (9)
  8. Jason Motte – St. Louis Cardinals (4)
  9. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds (NR)
  10. Rafael Betancourt – Colorado Rockies (3)
  11. Santiago Casilla – San Francisco Giants (10)
  12. Fernando Rodney – Tampa Bay Rays (12)
  13. Brett Myers – Houston Astros (15)
  14. Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians (16)
  15. Jonathon Broxton – Kansas City Royals (14)
  16. J.J. Putz – Arizona Diamondbacks (13)
  17. Heath Bell – Miami Marlins (30)
  18. Addison Reed – Chicago White Sox (18)
  19. Matt Capps – Minnesota Twins (22)
  20. Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers (17)
  21. Frank Francisco – New York Mets (23)
  22. Rafael Soriano – New York Yankees (20)
  23. Scott Downs – Los Angeles Angels (21)
  24. Dale Thayer– San Diego Padres (27)
  25. Alfredo Aceves – Boston Red Sox (28)
  26. Casey Janssen – Toronto Blue Jays (26)
  27. Rafael Dolis – Chicago Cubs (25)
  28. Brian Fuentes – Oakland Athletics (29)
  29. Brandon League – Seattle Mariners (19)
  30. Henry Rodriguez/Tyler Clippard/Sean Barnett – Washington Nationals (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: Sean Marshall, Henry Rodriguez

Thoughts:

  • While Kenley Jansen blew a save earlier this week, he still whiffed three in that performance as he continues to excel.  On the season he’s posted a 2.38 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 36 K over 22.2 IP.  It’s going to take a lot more than one blown save to send him spiraling down the rankings (in fact, has he continues to prove he can excel in the ninth inning he actually moves up a few spots).  He’s entrenched himself as one of the best closers in the league thanks to his ability to rack up the Ks.
  • Aroldis Chapman continues to thrive, regardless of the role.  He’s thrown 3 consecutive perfect innings, striking out 5, while picking up 2 saves.  He’s struck out 2 batters in 4 of his last 5 outings.  On the season he’s sporting a 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP and 41 K over 23.1 innings.  Before long he is likely going to be a Top 5 option.  We just need to give him a chance to prove it.
  • Jose Valverde has been on the sidelines for the past week due to a lower back strain.  While he’s still holding his job (in theory), he’s done little to help wipe the sour taste from his last poor outing out of our mouths.  Until he gets the job done on the mound, he’s going to see his ranking suppressed.
  • Is Brandon League on his way out as closer?  Be prepared to move on, that’s for sure.  League has been tattooed for 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB over his last 1.1 innings of work and Tom Wilhelmsen could be waiting in the wings (3.63 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 27 K over 22.1 innings).  If you are looking to stash potential saves, he’s a good bet.
  • If Dale Thayer was going to keep his job, his ranking would be a lot higher.  However, since we know he’ll return to a setup role once Huston Street is healthy, we can’t really push him up too far.  That said, if Street struggles upon his return, don’t be surprised if the Padres have a quick hook.

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