by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know the strategy of “don’t draft a closer early”, right? If that’s right or wrong is a conversation for another day (though it isn’t necessarily recommended), but that doesn’t matter today. Right now let’s take a look at who the best options are for the 2014 season:
- Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
- Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
- Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
- Joe Nathan – Detroit Tigers
- Trevor Rosenthal – St. Louis Cardinals
- Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
- Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
- Sergio Romo – San Francisco Giants
- Addison Reed – Arizona Diamondbacks
- David Robertson – New York Yankees
- Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins
- Casey Janssen – Toronto Blue Jays
- Danny Farquhar – Seattle Mariners
- Jim Johnson – Oakland Athletics
- Right now we are working under the assumption that David Robertson and Danny Farquhar will operate as their respective team’s closer, and they certainly have the ability to thrive in the role. However, there have been rumblings tying the Yankees and Mariners to free agent closers so their roles should be considered uncertain. Time will tell, but for now both are viable options until something changes.
- There’s no questioning that Craig Kimbrel opens the year as the elite closer in the game, but would it be surprising if either Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman outperform him this season? The three of them are elite and the clear top tier in the league.
- Koji Uehara has long been among the best relievers, featuring strikeouts (10.45 K/9) and control (1.20 BB/9). Can anyone realistically replicate a 1.09 ERA and 0.57 WHIP? A regressed Uehara should still be among the best in the league, but make no mistake that he’s likely going to regress.
- The Marlins’ Steve Cishek rarely gets respect, but he’s proven capable of generating strikeouts (9.56 K/9 in ’13) and groundballs (53.1% in ’13). The question was the control, but he posted a 2.84 BB/9 in ’13. For most of his time in the minors he worked as a starter so maybe there was an adjustment period, but if he’s solved the problem (2.81 in the first half, 2.89 in the second) he should be a CL1.
- Trevor Rosenthal has a 12.90 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9 in 2013 with a fastball averaging 97.3 mph. What else do we really need to know?
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: