Current Closer Rankings (July 20, 2018): Who’s The Best, Who Should We Be Concerned About & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that over the next two weeks there are going to be significant changes to these rankings.  Forget about players who will lose their roles because of performance, the Trade Deadline is always a time for free agent to be closers to be moved to contenders (and most of the time falling into a setup role).  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look:

 

1) Edwin Diaz – Seattle Mariners
2) Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
3) Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox
4) Sean Doolittle – Washington Nationals
5) Blake Treinen – Oakland A’s
6) Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates
7) Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds
8) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Angels
9) Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
10) Corey Knebel – Milwaukee Brewers
11) Jeurys Familia – New York Mets
12) Bud Norris – St. Louis Cardinals
13) Hector Rondon – Houston Astros
14) Keone Kela – Texas Rangers
15) Wade Davis – Colorado Rockies
16) Brad Boxberger – Arizona Diamondbacks
17) Joakim Soria – Chicago White Sox
18) Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres
19) Fernando Rodney – Minnesota Twins
20) Blake Parker – Los Angeles Angels
21) Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers
22) Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians
23) Kyle Barraclough – Miami Marlins
24) Ryan Tepera – Toronto Blue Jays
25) Will Smith – San Francisco Giants
26) Sergio Romo – Tampa Bay Rays
27) Wily Peralta – Kansas City Royals

Committees Omitted:

  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Atlanta Braves (while Arodys Vizcaino is on the DL)
  • Chicago Cubs (while Brandon Morrow is on the DL)

Thoughts:

  • It would be easy to rank Edwin Diaz atop these rankings if you looked solely at his save total. That said, that’s not why he’s there.  He’s showing an elite strikeout rate (14.81 K/9), better control than the other two candidates for the top spot (2.44 BB/9, better than Aroldis Chapman’s 3.60 and Craig Kimbrel’s 3.54) and he’s also kept the ball in the ballpark (0.38 HR/9).
  • Kenley Jansen simply isn’t the same closer that he once was. He’s not generating an elite strikeout rate (9.32 K/9), he’s not generating groundballs (38.7%) and his control is good but not elite (2.33 BB/9).  Throw in his velocity being down (92.3 mph), helping to explain a decline in his SwStr% (12.3%) and O-Swing% (32.9%) and it all makes sense.  He’s a very good option, but he’s not among the top tier today.
  • Remember the slow start Felipe Vazquez got off to? Your not alone, as he’s put it behind him and again looks like one of the better options in the league.
  • We all know that a healthy Zach Britton has Top 5 potential, and he’s finally starting to show it. The problem is that he may not hold down the closer job for much longer.  Maximize his value while you can and hope that he’s traded somewhere he’s allowed to slide into ninth inning duties (Houston perhaps?).
  • Corey Knebel has shown signs of returning to a Top 5 closer, but he’s struggling of late. With Josh Hader looming (though the off-the-field issues could play a role) there’s always the chance that he loses a few opportunities, though Hader’s flexibility makes him more valuable pitching earlier in games.
  • The upside is there for Boxberger, but he’s struggled with his control (4.58 BB/9) and home runs (1.53 HR/9, despite a 50.6% groundball rate). Throw in Archie Bradley looming to take over and there’s reason to be skeptical.
  • Joakim Soria doesn’t get the credit that he deserves, as he owns a 2.75 ERA, 11.25 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9 over 36.0 IP. Maybe it’s because he only has 14 saves, and there is risk in regards to home runs (34.4% groundball rate), but as long as he’s closing fantasy owners shouldn’t make the mistake of overlooking him.
  • Prior to hitting the DL yesterday Brandon Morrow had been slotted in at #9.  He’s not expected to miss much time and will return to being a Top 10 option upon his return.

Sources – Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Baseman
Outfielder
Pitcher

2 comments

  1. KT says:

    Is Clippard still in the mix for saves in Toronto or can he be dropped?

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