Updated 2015 Closer Rankings: Two New Faces In Top 3 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve updated our closer rankings and obviously a lot has changed.  Always one of the most frustrating positions to try and fill for fantasy owners, let’s take a look at how things currently stand (previous ranking in parenthesis):

1. Kenly Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (NR)
2. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds (1)
3. Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles (6)
4. Andrew Miller – New York Yankees (NR)
5. Trevor Rosenthal – St. Louis Cardinals (9)
6. Craig Kimbrel – San Diego Padres (2)
7. David Robertson – Chicago White Sox (5)
8. Jeurys Familia – New York Mets (NR)
9. Huston Street – Los Angeles Angels (10)
10. Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins (8)
11. Drew Storen – Washington Nationals (NR)
12. Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals (3)
13, Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates (4)
14. Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox (7)
15. Jonathan Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies (14)

The Next Five:
16. Hector Rondon – Chicago Cubs (13)
17. Francisco Rodriguez – Milwaukee Brewers (NR)
18. Brad Boxberger – Tampa Bay Rays (NR)
19. Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians (11)
20. Joakim Soria – Detroit Tigers (15)

Coming on Quickly:
Shawn Tolleson – Texas Rangers (NR)
A.J. Ramos – Miami Marlins (NR)
Brett Cecil – Toronto Blue Jays (NR)

Notes:

  • Obviously Jansen was only unranked thanks to spending the first few weeks of the season on the DL. Since returning, though, he has quickly regained his old form. In fact in his first 5.0 IP he owns a perfect 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP and 9 K. Given the control issues Chapman has faced this season it makes sense to have Jansen sitting at the top.
  • When we last did this rankings over a month ago we were unsure if Andrew Miller was going to be able to hold onto the closer’s job all to himself or if he would have to share it with Delin Betances. While that question is still there, at least in the back of our minds, there is no question that Miller has established himself among the elite closers in the game.
  • It may look odd having Zach Britton slotted third on these rankings, but there simply aren’t many closers we’d prefer at this point. As expected his strikeouts are up (11.17 K/9), while he’s continued to show incredible control (1.40 BB/9) and groundball stuff (70.6%). With that type of skill set he’s going to continue to entrench himself as one of the elite closers in the game.
  • It’s been a surprisingly poor season for Craig Kimbrel, with a 4.74 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Home runs have been a problem (1.42 HR/9), as has an extremely elevated line drive rate (31.8%), but he’s started turning things around of late. With the strikeouts and control still there, hopefully this is the beginning of him living up to his ability.
  • Greg Holland is simply too good to drop out of the Top 15, though injuries have certainly helped to drop him down the rankings. His velocity is down over 2 mph (93.5 mph) and his control has deserted him (6.35 BB/9), so he’s not out of the woods yet. Keep a close eye on him, as he could easily continue to struggle.
  • Speaking of closers with diminished velocity, while Mark Melancon has seemingly figured it out (he averaged nearly 91 mph on his fastball in May) the concerns have not completely gone away. We have to continue keeping a close eye on him, just in case.

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