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Always Be Closing: Closer Rankings and Tiers

Spring Training games have yet to begin, but there is already movement in the closer rankings. Some high-end closers with shutdown skills have already been befallen by injury, while other bullpens are still in flux.


The Three Wicked Men

1. Aroldis Chapman, CIN

2. Greg Holland,  KC

3. Craig Kimbrel, ATL

All Relievers are not created equally and you get what you pay for.


Next Generation Closers

4. Cody Allen, CLE

5. Dellin Betances, NYY

Betances is receiving all the love and deservedly so coming off of last year, but don’t sleep on Cody.


Solid Solutions

6. Mark Melancon, PIT

2 Season in Pittsburgh: 144 G 142.0 IP 141 K 1.65 ERA 0.92 WHIP & 49 SV

7. David Robertson, CHW

(AVG) Last 5 seasons in NY [201-2014]: 64 IP 85 K 2.53 ERA 1.17 WHIP & 11.95 K/9


Talented but Troubled

8. Trevor Rosenthal, STL

Rosenthal was wildly ineffective at times but offers high end upside

9. Koji Uehara, BOS

Koji was his dominate self until late-season fatigue or injury

10.Kenley Jansen, LAD *(DL)

Kenley is among the elite when healthy.


Vintage Relievers

11. Huston Street, LAA

12. Joaquin Benoit, SD

Oldies but goodies sums up this duo, but health risk is a factor with these aging arms.


The Three Amigos

13. Steve Chisek, MIA

Surface stats will mask the peripherally positive season that Cishek posted in 2014.

14. Hector Rondon, CHC

The sophisticated consumer will own the Cubs closer in 2015.

15. Glen Perkins, MIN

Consistently solid but was shutdown last year with forearm strain & nerve irritation.


Buyer Beware

16. Jonathan Papelbon, PHI

Where will Papelbon be pitching in 2015?

17. Fernando Rodney, SEA

The Magic man but Rodney’s rope will be shortened with the Mariners revival in the great northwest.

18. Zach Britton, BAL

Can Zach Britton aka the ground ball wizard repeat his 2004 success?

Time to Shine?

19. Brad Boxberger, TB

Their are others in mix for the Rays closer role with McGee on the mend but regardless of his role this relief pitcher is an asset to any team.

20. Tyler Clippard, OAK

Part-time closer? Or will he be the man all season in Oakland?

21. Drew Storen, WAS

It’s now or never.

22. Addison Reed, ARI

Good but unlucky? Reed was destroyed by the long ball last season and is currently dealing with shoulder soreness. Last reports say he should return to Cactus league action shortly and is on track for Opening Day.

23. Francisco Rodriguez, MIL

KROD was brilliant PRE ASB but very bad POST ASB and yielding 14 HR is not something you want from your closer.

24. Neftali Feliz, TEX

Is Neftali reemerging in Texas? Can he regain his previous velocity or is this the new version?


25. Jenry Mejia, NYM

Talented arm but is he the 2015 and future closer for the Mets?

26. Joe Nathan, DET

Dead man walking?

27. Santiago Casilla, SF

Lead dog in San Francisco but Bochy is master of the matchup.

28. Luke Gregerson, HOU

A very successful career as middle reliever and setup man but failed in the closer role last year with Oakland.

29. Brett Cecil, TOR

The Closer in Toronto?

30. Latroy Hawkins, COL

A closer in name only.

Beast Mode

Wade Davis, KC

72 IP 109 K 1.00 ERA 399 ERA+ 0.85 WHIP 0 HR 5 XBH ALLOWED

Danny Farquhar: SEA

The Usurper in Seattle?

Ken Giles, PHI

Beast Mode. The 2015 version of Dellin Betances?

Andrew Miller, NYY

A weapon out of the bullpen in 2014 and with or without Saves is still a must own.

These Relievers should be owned regardless of their role but if or when they are anointed the ninth gig they’ll be moving up the board.


Sean Doolittle, OAK

Jake McGee, TB

Both emerged as high-end options in 2014 but high hopes for the upcoming season have been halted until further clarifications arise.

Cloudy with a Chance of Closing

Jonathan Broxton: MIL

Closer in waiting?

Kevin Jepsen: TB

Dark horse candidate in Tampa Bay.

Evan Marshall: ARI

The arm to own in the desert if Reed’s a no go?

Adam Ottavino: COL

The Relief Pitcher to own in Colorado.

Bobby Parnell, NYM

When is Parnell returning and how effective can he be?

Kevin Quackenbush: SD

Did it last year while Benoit was shelved, opportunity is all that is needed.

Chad Qualls, HOU

Everyone assumes it’s Gregerson’s job?

Sergio Romo, SF

A Romo revival in 2015?

Aaron Sanchez, TOR

Destined for the rotation with Stroman out for the year?

Joakim Soria, DET

The Tigers pitcher with the most saves in 2015?

Spring Training battles will decide some team roles and all eyes will be fixated on where the dominos will fall in this frenzied market.

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