Below are our rankings of closers entering the 2017 season.  The list was last updated on February 13, 2017.

The Elite



Aroldis Chapman (NYY) Pencil in triple-digit strikeouts 40 saves and an ERA under two. The best in the business. 1. Dellin Betances

2. Tyler Clippard


Kenley Jansen (LAD) He’s coming off a career-high 47 save season and a career low .67 WHIP. If anyone can challenge Chapman for the title of best closer in the game it’s Jansen. 1. Pedro Baez

2. Sergio Romo


Zach Britton (BAL) He allowed three earned runs last April. In his next 58 appearances Britton allowed one earned run. Think about that for a moment. 1. Brad Brach

2. Darren O’Day

3. Mychal Givens

The Solid Mid-Tier


Craig Kimbrel (BOS) You know the bar is set high when a 3.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts in 53 IP is considered a disappointing season. The knee injury behind him, he’ll rebound to his usual top-tier closer status in 2017. 1. Tyler Thornburg


Mark Melancon (SF) The bullpen killed the Giants hopes in the 2016 playoffs. Signing Melancon should help ensure that there are no repeats of that disaster. 1. Hunter Strickland


Roberto Osuna (TOR) In his first two seasons in the bigs, we’ve seen 56 saves, 157 strikeouts in 143 2/3 IP, and an ERA of 2.64. All accomplished before his 22’nd birthday. 1. Joe Biagini

2. Joe Smith


Edwin Diaz (SEA) A great debut by the former starter. How good? A K/BB ratio of 88/15 and 18-for-21 in save opportunities, good. This year he takes his game to the “elite” level. 1. Steve Cishek

2. Nick Vincent


Seung-hwan Oh (STL) A 1.92 ERA, 11.64 K/9, and 19 saves. The “Stone Buddah” lived up to his nickname. 1. Trevor Rosenthal

2. Brett Cecil


Cody Allen (CLE) Allen and Miller provide the best one-two punch in the game. Miller gets them there. Allen will continue to finish the job. 1. Andrew Miller

2. Bryan Shaw


Kelvin Herrera (KC) He filled in admirably while Wade Davis was dealing with forearm issues. Wade Davis isn’t a concern in 2017. 1. Joakim Soria

2. Brian Flynn


Wade Davis (CHC) It’s a down grade from the World Series bullpen, but if he can stay healthy, not by all that much. 1. Carl Edwards Jr.

2. Hector Rondon


Jeurys Familia (NYM) If not for the looming suspension, Familia would be in the “Elite” group of closers.  5/6 of Familia is still better than most. 1. Addison Reed

2. Hansel Robles


Alex Colome (TAM) He’s cost controllable, being that his first trek to arbitration isn’t until next off-season. In Tampa Bay that is called job security. 1. Brad Boxberger

2. Xavier Cedeno

Let the questions begin


Ken Giles (HOU) Can someone please tell Giles that the season starts in April and not May? 1. Luke Gregerson

2. Will Harris

3. Chris Devenski

4. Michael Feliz


Raisel Iglesias (CIN) The favorite to open the season as the closer in Cincinnati, but Michael Lorenzen will be looking over his shoulder. 1. Michael Lorenzen

2. Tony Cingrani


Sam Dyson (TEX) Does anyone remember Shawn Tolleson? I didn’t think so. 1. Jeremy Jeffress

2. Matt Bush


David Robertson (CWS) Why didn’t the Gnats just get this deal done when they traded for Adam Eaton? 1. Nate Jones

2. Zach Putnam


Andrew Miller (CLE) The best left-handed setup man in the game today. He won’t garner a ton of saves, but the peripherals are off-the-charts good.


Francisco Rodriguez (DET) He’s got at least another year in the tank. The question is will it be in Detroit? 1. Justin Wilson

2. Joe Jimenez


A. J. Ramos (MIA) He was 40-for-43 saving games in 2016. Apparently, that’s not good enough in Miami as they’ve brought in Brad Ziegler as insurance. He simply gets no respect. 1. Kyle Barraclough

2. Brad Ziegler


Dellin Betances (NYY) In the past three seasons he’s struck out 135, 131, and 126 batters. He won’t be closing, but will still find his way into the odd save opportunity and post the usual outstanding triple-digit strikeout totals.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


Brandon Maurer (SD) He’s the closer for now…mauer or less. 1. Carter Capps

2. Ryan Buchter (SD)

3. Brad Hand


Jim Johnson (ATL) He’s one heckuva NASCAR driver, but why are the Braves paying him to close games? 1. Mauricio Cabrera

2. Arodys Vizcaino


Tony Watson (PIT) It’s the Pirates. No matter how good he is in the role, the cost won’t justify the returns. He’ll be pitching elsewhere by the All Star break. 1. Daniel Hudson

2. Felipe Rivero


Shawn Kelly (WAS) Will the contending Gnats really go into the season with the unproven Kelly as their closer? 1. Blake Treinen

2. Koda Glover


Neftali Feliz (MIL) Feliz Navidad! 1. Carlos Torres

2. Corey Knebel


Adam Ottavino (COL) I felt a lot more comfortable with Ottavino before the Holland signing. The leash will be incredibly short. 1. Greg Holland

2. Jake McGee


Fernando Rodney (ARZ) Would someone please take a minute and tell him that his head is on crooked? 1. Jake Barrett

2. Jared Miller


Brandon Kintzler (MIN) He’s holding down the fort until the Twins realize that JT Chargois is the better option. It’s the Twins, so it could take a while. 1. JT Chargois

2. Matt Belisle

3. Ryan Pressly


Joaquin Benoit (PHI) “How to parlay 48 quality innings into a one-year $7.5 million contract and the closer gig on a non-contending team at the age of 39”. A Short Story by Joaquin Benoit. 1. Hector Neris

2. Jeanmar Gomez

3. Edubray Ramos


Huston Street (LAA) When was the last time that Mike Scioscia went with a youngster over a proven veteran? When was the first time? 1. Cam Bedrosian

2. Andrew Bailey


Santiago Casilla (OAK) The current favorite to earn saves at the back end of a very crowded Oakland pen. If successful, he won’t be plying his trade with the A’s in the second half. 1. Ryan Madson

2. Ryan Dull

3. Sean Doolittle

Next in Line


Addison Reed (NYM) Bank on one month of saves and a full season of solid production.


Nate Jones (CWS) The rumor mill has had incumbent David Robertson on the trading block all off-season. If in fact that occurs, Jones is more than capable to move into the closer role.


Greg Holland (COL) A one-year $7 million deal with potentially sky-high vesting options for 2018 is a pretty hefty investment for a setup man.


Michael Lorenzen (CIN) Those investing in Raisel Iglesias should be looking to Lorenzen as the handcuff.


Hector Neris (PHI) I’m betting on a Benoit trade at the trade deadline and Neris owns the job down the stretch.


Cam Bedrosian (LAA) He might not break camp with the closer gig, but rest assured he is the closer-of-the-future for the Halos and will slide into save opportunities in the second half.


Jeremy Jeffress (TEX) The former Brewer closer is chomping at the bit to regain the role in Texas.


Carl Edwards Jr. (CHC) Edwards looked very good in the Cubs playoff run last year. Coming off of that strong performance he’s now moved into second-in-line in the Windy City.


Kyle Barraclough (MIA) He might not be next-in-line for the Fish, but those outstanding strikeout rates (113 in 72 2/3 IP) simply can’t be ignored.


Ryan Madson (OAK) Yes, he’s the incumbent, but that 7.88 ERA in September doesn’t instill confidence.


Tyler Thornburg (BOS) The anonymity of pitching in Milwaukee disappears as he moves to a much larger stage in Boston. He’ll handle that transition successfully.


Luke Gregerson (HOU) Do we see another repeat of Giles early season struggles? If so, Gregerson could find his way into some early season saves.


Mauricio Cabrera (ATL) The 23-year-old filled in admirably down the stretch, earning three saves in September. Is he now the closer-in-waiting behind JJ? I’m betting the answer to that question is a resounding, yes.


Brad Ziegler (MIA) They really don’t like A.J. Ramos in Miami.


Blake Treinen (WAS) Currently, he’s the number two option in the Gnats bullpen. That is likely to change, but the fact that he earned 20 holds last year, won’t.


Daniel Hudson (PIT) Did I mention that Tony Watson might be pricing himself out of a job?


Carter Capps (SD) He’s on the mend from TJS, but should be ready to roll early in the 2017 campaign. Brandon Mauer and his owners have reason to be concerned.


JT Chargois (MIN) Brandon Kintzler got the job done. JT Chargois, if given the opportunity, will get it done much better.


Steve Cishek (SEA)


Joakim Soria (KC)


Justin Wilson (DET)


Pedro Baez (LAD)


Trevor Rosenthal (STL)


Joe Biagini (TOR)


Brad Boxberger (TAM)


Arodys Vizcaino (ATL)


Joe Jimenez (DET)


Carlos Torres (MIL)


Matt Bush (TEX)


Brad Brach (BAL)


Hunter Strickland (SF)

5 comments on “Closers

  1. Love it Tim, thanks!
    Where’s the SPs?

  2. I like Box to close with Colome going to the Nats.
    Kelley seemed to not have the whatever last season in the role, so Treinen is on every team so far.
    The Tigers Rondon had the same relevation as Sanchez in that working hard to get paid millions of dollars is worth it considering it’s playing the game they love. He gets 15+ SV. They keep Jimenez cheap in arb for another year.

    Am I crazy?

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