Closer In Waiting Power Rankings: April 20, 2017: Rosenthal Jumps to #1, J. Wilson Joins Ranks & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Are you someone constantly on the lookout for the next potential closer? That’s what we are trying to pinpoint here, with our Top 5 Closer In Waiting Power Rankings. These rankings look at the pitchers who appear capable of taking over their team’s respective closing duties (though in some cases, will need some help to get there). Keep in mind, if a pitcher is currently part of a committee they will not be included in these rankings (i.e. the Oakland A’s and Cincinnati Reds situations) despite not currently “holding” the job outright.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how things stand:

Rank
Player
Team
Current Closer
Note
1.Trevor Rosenthal (2)St. Louis CardinalsSeung-Hwan OhThere are a lot of problems with the Cardinals right now, but we can't ignore the ones Oh is having. He's yet to have an IP without a H (12 H in 6.2 IP) and has allowed R in four of six appearances. With Oh getting the day off on Wednesday (46 pitches in two previous days) Rosenthal stepped up and got job done. He's not "the man" yet, and may not be option until he works back-to-back, but his time could come soon.
2. Justin Wilson (NR)Detroit TigersFrancisco RodriguezThe thought had always been that Rodriguez wouldn't lose his job unless he's traded, though that could be quickly changing. He blew a save on Wednesday (his 2nd of the season) and has allowed runs in four of his seven appearances. With Wilson pitching well, a change could be coming.
3.Corey Knebel (NR)Milwaukee BrewersNeftali FelizFor now we will consider Knebel the next up, though our preseason sleeper Jacob Barnes is making a strong case. Regardless Feliz was always a questionable choice and is coming off an epic blow save (4 ER on 3 H and 1 BB). Not enough to make change, but enough to open some eyes.
4.Luke Gregerson (NR)Houston AstrosKen GilesIs there change coming? Seeing Giles work in the 8th inning when the team has a four-run lead is eye opening. It's definitely a situation to keep an eye on.
5.J.J. Hoover (5)Arizona DiamondbacksFernando RodneyThe problem in Arizona is that they don't have a clear alternative, but Rodney's struggles should ultimately lead to a change. for now it's Hoover who could step in if needed, though Archie Bradley could be transitioned into the role.

Graduated:

  • Shawn Kelley/Koda Glover (1) – Washington Nationals

Dropped Off Rankings:

  • Brad Hand (3) – San Diego Padres – Brandon Maurer bounced back strong and it’s possible he holds his role until Carter Capps is ready to take it
  • Hector Neris (4) – Philadelphia Phillies – He’s one of the elite setup men in the game, but the Phillies clearly have no interest in him closing right now

Others We’re Monitoring:

  • Kyle Barraclough – Miami Marlins
  • Luke Gregerson – Houston Astros
  • Joakim Soria – Kansas City Royals
  • Arodys Vizcaino – Atlanta Braves

Injured Setup Men To Monitor:

  • Jake Barrett – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Carter Capps – San Diego Padres

Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:

Top 50 Prospects1-50
Catcher1-10
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Shortstop1-10
Third Base1-10
Outfielders:1-1011-20
Right Handed Pitchers:1-1011-20
Left Handed Pitchers:1-10

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