Updated 2014 Rest of Season Rankings: Top 20 Closers

by Eric Stashin

Closers have felt even more volatile than ever in 2014, with some of the more dependable options (i.e. Trevor Rosenthal) on the cusp of losing their job.  It makes it that much more difficult to predict who will be the most valuable for the remainder of the season, but here’s our current rankings (the number in parenthesis is their previous ranking):

 

1) Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals (4)
2) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
3) Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds (1)
4) Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves (2)
5) Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins (8)
6) Sean Doolittle – Oakland A’s (5)
7) David Robertson – New York Yankees (7)
8) Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox (6)
9) Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins (10)
10) Jake McGee – Tampa Bay Rays (NR)
11) Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles (20)
12) Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians (11)
13) Addison Reed – Arizona Diamondbacks (15)
14) Huston Street – Los Angeles Angels (19)
15) Francisco Rodriguez – Milwaukee Brewers (14)
16) Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates (18)
17) Fernando Rodney – Seattle Mariners (NR)
18) Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres (NR)
19) Rafael Soriano – Washington Nationals (16)
20) Jonathan Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies (17)

Just Missed – LaTroy Hawkins (Col), Casey Jansen (Tor), Joe Nathan (Det), Trevor Rosenthal (Stl)

Thoughts:

  • Greg Holland is sitting atop this list?!  Before you call me crazy, keep in mind that he has the strikeouts (12.77 K/9), control (2.92 BB/9) and groundballs (47.7%).  He also plays for a team that is hardly an offensive juggernaut, which helps to explain why he’s sitting atop the league leaders in saves with 39. He has the talent and opportunities, so what’s not to like?
  • We are really splitting hairs when it comes to the top names on this list, as you really can arrange them any way you want.  Jansen gets the edge for me for the #2, for now, as he’s shown the best control this season and also has seen his line drive rate drop dramatically in the second half (33.7% vs. 20.0%).  If you want to argue Chapman or Kimbrel belong in that spot feel free, I could definitely buy it.
  • No one is going to argue against Uehara, but a 99.5% strand rate?  There’s not much time left so maybe he can maintain it, but there is a bit of risk involved in him despite the other impressive numbers.
  • Britton continues to excel by generating an unbelievable amount of groundballs (77.1%).  While he’s not striking out a ton of batters (7.71 K/9), it’s more than enough.  It’s a tremendous recipe for success, and there’s no reason to think he can’t continue to excel at this point.
  • The problem for Addison Reed has been the long ball and little else, as he’s shown strikeouts (10.37 K/9) and control (2.15 BB/9).  As long as he’s keeping the ball in the ballpark, he’s going to be among the better options in the league.  With only 1 HR allowed in the second half, he owns a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.

Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:

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8 comments

  1. Johnny Wheelsucker says:

    You have Street and Benoit’s teams wrong. I don’t know if that factored into your analysis, but on the LAA, I’d have Street in the 9/10 slot. Doesn’t hurt you in K/9, and is additive in ERA, WHIP, and Saves compared to others in that range.

  2. Bruce says:

    If Rosenthal gets bumped from the closer spot, does Neshek make it onto this list? If so, where?

  3. Seth says:

    Did Papelbon go back to Boston and I missed it?

  4. Seth says:

    Guess Eric has moved onto football this year…

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Sorry about the team typos on the list. It does not change the rankings (for those who asked). Simply typos and I promise that they won’t happen again.

    As for Neshek, he’d be borderline but not quite there. There’s a lot of luck in his numbers and there is the risk of regression.

  6. Carlito says:

    Eric, could u see Doolittle as a top 5 closer next year? Someone dropped him and I picked him up. Good keeper for a closer? Or one year wonder?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Definitely should be a good option. Is he Top 5? That may be a stretch but not impossible. If I had to guess, he’ll enter the season in the Top 10-12, though.

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