Saturday, February 21, 2015


Kenley Jansen joins Sean Doolittle as two top closer candidates who could miss some or all of April as injuries take their toll in this volatile group.  Let's take a look at the updated closer standings as a result. 

1.  Craig Kimbrel:  Has gotten a legitimate challenge from Greg Holland but for now Kimbrel remains the top of the heap among closers due to the fact he has done it longer.
2.  Greg Holland:  Holland was the best closer in baseball last season as he has fully ascended to the top tier at a very volatile position.  Finally having worked through past control problems, Holland is almost unhittable. 
3.  Aroldis Chapman:  Rumors swirl that he could be dealt but Chapman was utterly ridiculous last season when he came back from the batted ball to the face.  Best K rate in baseball.
4.  David Robertson:  Deserved every penny he got from the Chicago White Sox as Robertson successfully replaced Mariano Rivera last season for the Yankees with his customary high K/low ER/WHIOP statistics. 
5.  Jonathan Papelbon:  Never doubt the guy which I told you all prior to last season when he was widely written off.  Yes the K rate has sunk but Paps had arguably one of his best seasons in 2014.  Still going strong.  Could be on the move to Milwaukee by the time you read this. 
6.  Steve Cishek:  Check out this guys numbers over the last four season and than you will understand why I have him here. 
7.  Glen Perkins:  The lefty remains underrated and dependable. 
8.  Dellin Betances:  Ready to challenge Chapman in the ultimate K rate race among relievers.  Should be fully up to the task of replacing Robertson as Yankees closer.
9.  Huston Street:  Was completely dominant in 2014 and actually stayed healthy. 
10. Cody Allen:  Like the potential of this kid as well.  Has the classic high K stuff to continue on his breakout 2014.
11. Fernando Rodney:  Can't argue with his incredible numbers the last two seasons but Rodney is quite old and always prone to the blowup.
12. Zach Britton:  The K rate is not overly impressive for a closer but Britton was terrific stepping into the closer role for the playoff-bound Baltimore Orioles last season.
13. Trevor Rosenthal:  There were some rocky moments but Rosenthal did a decent enough job in his first full go-round as closer.
14. Koji Uehara:  Looked old the second half of last season as the hit rat skyrocketed.  Could be a bust candidate in 2015 like Joe Nathan was last season due to age.
15. Mark Melancon:  I really can't say anything bad about the guy in his first full season as closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Will only improve from here on out.
16. Tyler Clippard:  Now the clear favorite for saves in Oakland with Sean Doolittle starting the season on the DL.  With Clippard being a righty and a dominant setup man for years, he could run with the gig.  However there is also increasing talk Doolittle may not miss much time at all so be sure you stay on top of what is taking place there. 
17. Jenrry Mejia:  Could be replaced by Jeurys Familia so keep tabs on this early in camp.
18. Santiago Casilla:  The back of the San Francisco Giants bullpen seems to always be in flux but Casilla was by far the best closer for the team last season.
19. Drew Storen:  Think Storen will break camp as the closer for the Washington Nationals and he should be good as long as playoff games are not on the line.
20. Hector Rondon:  Has Jason Motte breathing down his neck so Rondon has to quickly show that his last season breakout was no fluke.
21. Joaquin Benoit:  Quiet and effective, Benoit is the perfect value closer play to target. 
22. Will Smith/K-Rod:  Rodiguez has yet to sign as a free agent and if he does the high-K Smith is the perfect replacement.  The Jonathan Papelbon rumors continue as well.
23. Jake McGee/Erneso Frieri:  McGee would be in the top 15 if he weren't going to miss April after surgery.  The veteran Frieri should get first crack but Brad Boxberger is one to watch as he could run with the gig if he gets off to a hot start as closer.
24. Neftali Feliz:  The velocity has not come back since surgery and Feliz' FIP ERA was almost 5.00 last season.  Significant bust potential. 
25. Joe Nathan:  He can't be any worse than he was in 2014 right?
26. Brett Cecil:  Still no clarity yet at the back of the Toronto bullpen after Casey Janssen defected as a free agent.  Consider Cecil the favorite for now but rumors are the team is considering Francisco Rodriguez. 
27. LaTroy Hawkins:  It was a surprisingly very good season out of the ageless Hawkins in 2014 but he remains prone to a blowup that will cost him his job and he also is a prime threat to be traded.
28. Luke Gregerson:  Should be the favorite for saves right now in the revamped Houston bullpen.  Has failed in numerous chances in the past when closing games so this is no sure thing.
29. Addison Reed:  I just can't stand the kid as Reed continues to get pounded on a yearly basis despite great stuff. 
30. Joel Peralta:  By the time you read this, it could be Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez closing games for the Dodgers. 

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