2014 Rest of Season Rankings: Top 20 Closers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With the All-Star game closing in, now is the perfect time to start looking at our updated Rest of Season rankings.  Who’s worth buying?  Who isn’t?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis was the players preseason ranking):

1) Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds (12)
2) Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (1)
3) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
4) Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals (6)
5) Sean Doolittle – Oakland A’s (NR)
6) Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox (3)
7) David Robertson – New York Yankees (10)
8) Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins (7)
9) Trevor Rosenthal – St. Louis Cardinals (5)
10) Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins (11)
11) Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians (28)
12) Casey Jansen – Toronto Blue Jays (13)
13) Joakim Soria – Texas Rangers (22)
14) Francisco Rodriguez – Milwaukee Brewers (NR)
15) Addison Reed – Arizona Diamondbacks (9)
16) Rafael Soriano – Washington Nationals (20)
17) Jonathan Papelbon – Boston Red Sox (16)
18) Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates (NR)
19) Huston Street – San Diego Padres (19)
20) Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles (NR)

Just Missed – LaTroy Hawkins (Col), Fernando Rodney (Sea), Joe Nathan (Det)



  • Closer is actually fairly deep this season, with some notable names just missing the list.  Of course, these are fluid rankings given the instability of the position and will look significantly different in a few weeks.
  • Chapman missed the beginning of the season (which is why his preseason ranking was so low) and has only thrown 28.2 innings thus far, yet still has managed 20 saves and 57 K.  The guy is a machine and it’s nearly impossible not to have him slotted at the top of this list.
  • It’s amazing how quickly Doolittle has emerged as one of the elite closers in the league, isn’t it?  That’s what happens when you own 61 K vs. 2 BB, though.  Considering that he now owns a career 10.27 K/9 and 1.47 BB/9, there isn’t much of a reason to think that he can’t continue this success either.
  • Trevor Rosenthal has had his issues this season, mostly with his control, but does anyone believe that he isn’t going to figure it out.  He’s proven that he can be one of the elite setup men in the league, and he certainly has the stuff to be among the best closers as well.  The Cardinals have been willing to deal with his inconsistencies thus far, so there is no reason to think his job is in jeopardy.
  • There have been a lot of closers who have had tremendous success in the first half, like Jonathan Papelbon and Rafael Soriano, but it’s also easy to imagine them floundering in the second half.  That’s not to say that they aren’t going to hold value, but simply don’t expect the moon from them.
  • Speaking of impressive first halves, Joakim Soria is right there among them.  Of course, the Rangers also hardly use him (which has to frustrate owners significantly).  It also is going to limit his value, considering the Rangers hardly win ball games.

Source – Fangraphs

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  1. Marky Mark says:

    You think Papelbon remains a closer when he gets traded? It looks like only DET and ANA have closer troubles among the legit contenders, but he could be a useful arm in nearly any bullpen.

    Related question – Giles gets the first shot at saves after Papelbon gets traded?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yes on Giles. In regards to Papelbon, who knows. If he were dealt to Baltimore, let’s say, it’s easy imagine him to sliding right into the closer’s role regardless of how good Tillman is. It really depends on where he goes.

  2. Facenda says:

    As Street is the fourth-rated closer so far this season, you obviously see some dark clouds ahead. Gotta say, that low ranking really jumps out. Behind Reed? It’d be one thing if he was faltering like K-Rod. If he gets traded, he’s not going to lose the job, just the ballpark. And that’s not enough to put him at No. 19.

  3. Bbboston says:

    Why do people discount Britton so much? To me, the guy has the perfect aki set for camden

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Facenda – His ranking has nothing to do with losing the job, it has to do with the fact that he’s pitching well over his head. Reliever or not, it’s just impossible to expect him to continue pitching at this type of clip. I’m a Street owner and hope he does, but a regression is likely in his future.

    Bbboston – I like Britton, but like Street I just don’t think he can maintain the type of numbers he’s posted thus far. While strikeouts aren’t mandatory, it’s hard to imagine any pitcher maintaining a 12.2% line drive rate or a 78.0% groundball rate. He is proving to be a very good reliever, but there’s the potential for a regression.

  5. Greg says:

    Do you not have Santiago Casilla on here because it is unclear to you he will keep his job?

  6. Greg says:

    Well…with Tulo going down, and to keep my steals up, I traded Casilla for Dee Gordon. 1) Rate that move, 2) I now have only McGee and Uehara for saves. I read your closer in waiting, I can afford to grab another, who would you take? Thayer, Giles, or other…Lindstrom is also available. I need someone, so who’s my best bet…thanks!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Not a bad move, especially if you need a SS.

      As for the closer, it’s going to be hard to imagine Giles getting his opp, because not sure the Phillies moving Papelbon at this point. Is Feliz available?

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