Current Closer Rankings (August 6, 2018): Who’s The Best, Who Should We Be Concerned About & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Trade Deadline has come and gone, bringing significant changes to the closing landscape around the league.  In several circumstances trade has opened opportunity, but in others the current closer surprisingly stayed put (like in Minnesota), keeping a potential alternative pinned to a setup role.  How do things currently stand around the league?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Edwin Diaz – Seattle Mariners (1)
2) Blake Treinen – Oakland A’s (2)
3) Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates (3)
4) Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees (5)
5) Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox (4)
6) Bud Norris – St. Louis Cardinals (7)
7) Brad Hand – Cleveland Indians (NR)
8) Hector Rondon – Houston Astros (10)
9) Will Smith – San Francisco Giants (19)
10) Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds (6)
11) Seranthony Dominguez – Philadelphia Phillies (NR)
12) Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres (11)
13) Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers (9)
14) A.J. Minter – Atlanta Braves (NR)
15) Brad Boxberger – Arizona Diamondbacks (14)
16) Shane Greene – Detroit Tigers (15)
17) Sergio Romo – Tampa Bay Rays (21)
18) Fernando Rodney – Minnesota Twins (16)
19) Pedro Strop – Chicago Cubs (22)
20) Mychal Givens – Baltimore Orioles (NR)
21) Robert Gsellman – New York Mets (NR)
22) Blake Parker – Los Angeles Angels (18)
23) Wade Davis – Colorado Rockies (13)
24) Kyle Barraclough – Miami Marlins (20)
25) Jose Leclerc – Texas Rangers (NR)
26) Kelvin Herrera – Washington Nationals (17)
27) Wily Peralta – Kansas City Royals (25)


Removed from Rankings:

  • Keone Kela – Texas Rangers (12)
  • Cody Allen – Cleveland Indians (23)
  • Brad Brach – Baltimore Orioles (24)


Committees Omitted:

  • Chicago White Sox
  • Milwaukee Brewers (Corey Knebel should return to the role, but for now the Brewers are looking at him in the earlier innings to get him right, meaning Joakim Soria/Josh Hader/Jeremy Jeffress could all factor into the ninth inning)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (Ryan Tepera/Tyler Clippard/Ken Giles)


Thoughts:

  • The last time we posted these rankings there had been concerns about Aroldis Chapman’s health, having imploded just a few days earlier. He had silenced those quickly, allowing 1 H and 1 BB while striking out 8 over his next 3.0 IP.  Unfortunately last night’s blowup against the Red Sox, including 3 BB, are going to bring renewed questions.  As long as he’s healthy he should be among the elite options in the game.
  • The assumption has been that the acquisition of Roberto Osuna would push Hector Rondon into a setup role. The question is, why?  Osuna has sat on the sidelines for the past 75 games due to suspension while Rondon is pitching like one of the elite closers in the game (2.27 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 11.12 K/9).  At the very least Osuna is going to have to earn his way into closing and he could easily settle into a setup role as long as Rondon is thriving.
  • Maybe the Phillies haven’t officially named Seranthony Dominguez as “the man”, but it’s clear he’s the preferred option. He also has dominant stuff and is already one of the better closing options in the game (11.31 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 54.8% groundball rate).  Would it be surprising to see him among the Top 5 (if not Top 3) by year’s end?  Being summoned early in the game last night obviously shows he’s not going to get all of the opportunities, and that has to drag down his ranking at least a little bit, but for now we will keep him on the rankings.
  • Will Smith is emerging as a dominant closer, and at this point it looks like he’s taken the role over and won’t cede it back to Hunter Strickland (once healthy). That’s what happens when a 12.58 K/9, 1.83 BB/9 and 43.8% groundball rate lead you to a 1.31 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.
  • There are a few “closers” who appear on the precipice of losing their roles. Wade Davis, Kyle Barraclough and Blake Parker have all struggled in the past week to ten days and could soon be supplanted, even if it’s only on a short-term basis.

Sources – Fangraphs

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

First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Baseman
Outfielder
Pitcher

9 comments

  1. larry says:

    What to do about Cody Allen. Is he a drop at this point? There not a lot of save opportunities in my leagues so I would most likely stream starters in his place. Thanks for the good work.

  2. Craig N says:

    Rankings arent easy I get it, but all things equal salary and what not, would you trade Peralta if you had him for Gsellman Parker or Givens…No way…..Kimbrel how can he be below anyone other than Diaz? I think your rankings need more work.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Kimbrel has been bad for a little while now (run in 3 of past 4) so he does have to take a little short-term hit. Not like he’s ranked #15 (I could see putting him ahead of Chapman, but wouldn’t push him higher than that today)

      As for Peralta vs. the others, I don’t love any of them but Peralta’s control issues have to keep him at the bottom.

  3. c says:

    ummmmm. Don’t think you can call Brad Hand the “closer” in Cleveland.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I debated putting them in the committee section, but with the way they were deployed yesterday decided to go with it this way. Agreed it’s a fluid situation, though

  4. Carlito says:

    Morrow Smith or Rondon rest of way?

  5. Barraclough has been demoted. Is Steckenrider any better? Also, does Kinzler or Soria have any chance to close this year?

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