by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
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). We’ve already seen significant changes, with the Orioles (Britton), Mets (Familia), White Sox (Soria) and Padres (Hand) moving their closers ahead of the deadline and a few others could also go. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look:
1) Edwin Diaz – Seattle Mariners (1)
2) Blake Treinen – Oakland A’s (5)
3) Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates (6)
4) Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox (3)
5) Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees (2)
6) Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds (7)
7) Bud Norris – St. Louis Cardinals (12)
8) Corey Knebel – Milwaukee Brewers (10)
9) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (8)
10) Hector Rondon – Houston Astros (13)
11) Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres (18)
12) Keone Kela – Texas Rangers (14)
13) Wade Davis – Colorado Rockies (15)
14) Brad Boxberger – Arizona Diamondbacks (16)
15) Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers (21)
16) Fernando Rodney – Minnesota Twins (19)
17) Kelvin Herrera – Washington Nationals (NR)
18) Blake Parker – Los Angeles Angels (20)
19) Will Smith – San Francisco Giants (25)
20) Kyle Barraclough – Miami Marlins (23)
21) Sergio Romo – Tampa Bay Rays (26)
22) Pedro Strop – Chicago Cubs (NR)
23) Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians (22)
24) Brad Brach – Baltimore Orioles (NR)
25) Wily Peralta – Kansas City Royals (27)
Removed from Rankings:
- Sean Doolittle – Washington Nationals (4)
- Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles (9)
- Jeurys Familia – New York Mets (11)
- Joakim Soria – Chicago White Sox (17)
- Atlanta Braves (while Arodys Vizcaino is on the DL)
- Chicago White Sox (It could be Jace Fry stepping in for Joakim Soria, but time will tell)
- New York Mets (Anthony Swarzak/Robert Gsellman)
- Philadelphia Phillies (Seranthony Dominguez is the “leader” and would be a Top 10 option in the role)
- Toronto Blue Jays (Ryan Tepera/Tyler Clippard)
- The acquisition of Zach Britton may be just to deepen the bullpen, given the cost of acquiring a starting pitcher, (though the Yankees went out and also added JA Happ) but could it also be a sign that the Yankees are concerned about Aroldis Chapman’s knee? It’s not unthinkable, especially given his recent implosion, and he needs to drop at least a few spots on the rankings due to that risk. That’s not a knock against what he’s done or how good he is, but there’s at least a little risk (and others who are pitching exceptionally well as of today).
- It’s impossible to ignore the success that Bud Norris has had this season. The team could look towards Jordan Hicks as the closer of the future, but Norris is showing elite control (1.76 BB/9), swing and miss stuff (14.2% SwStr%) and enough groundballs (42.6%). It’s hard to argue against him as a Top 10 option as of today.
- Obviously Wade Davis is safe, and the team is making moves to try and sure up the middle innings (with the acquisition of Seung-Hwan Oh), but his recent implosion is still going to open some eyes. As it is Davis has struggled with his control (4.61 BB/9), isn’t an elite groundball artist (43.6%) and doesn’t bring the elite swing and miss stuff that others do (10.4% SwStr%). He’s solid and has had a little bit of poor luck (66.7% strand rate), but that’s not enough to move him past a mid-tier option.
- How long will Cody Allen be able to hold off Brad Hand and keep the closing job? It may not be very long, especially given Allen’s lack of groundballs (29.4%) and home run issues (1.76 HR/9).
- It’s not impossible that Will Smith claims the closers job, kicking Hunter Strickland back into a setup role, as he’s showing control (2.03 BB/9) and elite swing and miss stuff (16.5% SwStr%). Whether he does it or not remains to be seen, but he has a little bit more time in order to do so.
- Wily Peralta is settling into the Royals’ closers role, but with a 6.57 BB/9 and 8.1% SwStr% (it is a small sample size, with 12.1 IP) does anyone truly believe? His role is tenuous, at best, though the lack of alternatives could keep him entrenched in the role for now.
- Is Pedro Strop truly the closer while Brandon Morrow is out? That’s not a certainty, but he has gotten the bulk of the opportunities and is a must own in all formats for now.
Sources – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings: