Closer Report: Week 9 Rankings

Justin K. Aller

Ray Guilfoyle ranks his top 40 closers and middle relievers for Week 8 of the 2013 season.

In my last Closer Report back on May 15th, I discussed how the top two closers, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, are starting to show some cracks in their dominance and have blown a save or two. Since then, they have each blown a save, with Kimbrel having three blown saves and Chapman have two blown saves this season. As a result, I have made a change at the top of my Closer Rankings., as you can see below.

I have moved Jason Grilli into the #2 spot in the rankings, with Chapman moving down to the #4 spot. Grilli lead the majors in saves right now (Saturday) with 19 saves, and is striking out 14 batters per nine innings, while walking just two batters per nine, and has yet to blow a save this season.

I have moved Rays closer Fernando Rodney down from #16 to #24 in my rankings, as he has blown several saves since my last Closer Report. Rodney now leads the majors in blown saves with four right now. He is also walking a bit more than eight batters per nine and giving up more than a home run every nine innings. There is a chance that he loses the closer role in Tampa with another blown save, so go out and grab Joel Peralta if he is available in your fantasy league.

Week 8 Closer Rankings

Rank

Closer/Middle Reliever

Team

1

Craig Kimbrel

ATL

2

Jason Grilli

PIT

3

Mariano Rivera

NYY

4

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

5

Sergio Romo

SFG

6

Jim Johnson

BAL

7

Casey Janssen

TOR

8

Rafael Soriano

WAS

9

Joe Nathan

TEX

10

Edward Mujica

STL

11

Tom Wilhelmsen

SEA

12

Glen Perkins

MIN

13

Jonathan Papelbon

PHI

14

Addison Reed

CHW

15

Andrew Bailey

BOS

16

Greg Holland

KC

17

Chris Perez

CLE

18

Rafael Betancourt

COL

18

Kevin Gregg

CHC

20

Grant Balfour

OAK

21

Heath Bell

ARI

22

Jim Henderson

MIL

23

Jose Valverde

DET

24

Fernando Rodney

TB

25

Kenley Jansen

LAD

26

Huston Street

SD

27

Steve Cishek

MIA

28

Ernesto Frieri

LAA

29

Bobby Parnell

NYM

30

Jose Veras

HOU

31

Mark Melancon

PIT

32

Luke Gregerson

SD

33

Trevor Rosenthal

STL

34

David Robertson

NYY

35

Rex Brothers

COL

36

Jesse Crain

CHW

37

David Hernandez

ARI

38

Brandon League

LAD

39

Joel Peralta

TB

40

Francisco Rodriguez

MIL

Closer Changes

There were no closer changes made in the last two weeks, but Andrew Bailey is back closing for the Red Sox after returning from the disabled list. On the flip side, Rafael Betancourt injured his groin while pitching and has yet to make an appearance since. Rex Brothers has taken his place in the closer role while he is out.

Brewers closer Jim Henderson injured his hamstring on Friday night throwing a pitch and may need a trip to the DL. Manager Ron Roenicke indicated he would go with a closer by committee with Henderson out, so grab Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford if they are available in your leagues.

Closer Situations to Watch

Brandon League, LAD

We have gone through this one before. League has yet to officially lose the closer job, but Jansen is being put in the higher leverage situations of late.

Fernando Rodney, TB

Rodney has blown four saves to date, and could lose his job if he blows another save or two. Like I addressed above, Peralta is the guy to grab off your league waiver wire, if available.

Chris Perez, CLE

Perez left Sunday's game with pain in his shoulder, all after giving up 4 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks. Convenient, huh? Well, with Vinnie Pestano struggling in his rehab appearance, it appears Joe Smith would be next in line for save opportunities in Cleveland.

Jim Johnson, BAL

Johnson blew his fourth save of the season on Sunday after giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk. I think Johnson will have to blow a few more save opportunities to lose the job in Baltimore, but if manager Buck Showalter has seen enough, Darren O'Day is probably next in line.

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