Closer Report: Rankings for Week 6

Jared Wickerham

Ray Guilfoyle discusses his Week 6 Closer Rankings, and highlights some closers that may lose their jobs in the near future.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel sits atop the Closer Rankings for the sixth week in a row, with Reds closer Aroldis Chapman close behind. Both blew a save over the past few days (Kimbrel blew another last night), but until they blow a few in a row, there is no cause for concern.

I have made a few changes in the Top 15 closers this week, with Cardinals closer Edward Mujica moving up about 12 spots into the 13th ranked closer spot. He has converted 8 saves in a row, and with Jason Motte undergoing Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, the job is his until he blows a few saves. Set up man Trevor Rosenthal would be the guy to grab should Mujica blow up in the near future.

Now onto my Week 6 Closer Rankings:

Closer Rankings for Week 6

Rank

Closer/Middle Reliever

Team

1

Craig Kimbrel

ATL

2

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

3

Sergio Romo

SFG

4

Rafael Soriano

WAS

5

Jason Grilli

PIT

6

Mariano Rivera

NYY

7

Joe Nathan

TEX

8

Jim Johnson

BAL

9

Addison Reed

CHW

10

Jonathan Papelbon

PHI

11

Andrew Bailey

BOS

12

Glen Perkins

MIN

13

Edward Mujica

STL

14

Casey Janssen

TOR

15

Tom Wilhelmsen

SEA

16

Fernando Rodney

TB

17

Greg Holland

KC

18

Chris Perez

CLE

19

Huston Street

SD

20

Grant Balfour

OAK

20

Ernesto Frieri

LAA

22

Brandon League

LAD

23

J.J. Putz

ARI

24

Steve Cishek

MIA

25

Rafael Betancourt

COL

26

Jose Valverde

DET

27

Jim Henderson

MIL

28

Bobby Parnell

NYM

29

Jose Veras

HOU

30

Kevin Gregg

CHC

31

Kenley Jansen

LAD

32

Kelvin Herrera

KC

33

David Robertson

NYY

34

David Hernandez

ARI

35

Luke Gregerson

SD

36

Mark Melancon

PIT

37

Trevor Rosenthal

STL

38

Junichi Tazawa

BOS

39

Al Albuquerque

DET

40

Joakim Soria

TEX

Closer Changes

Several teams have already made changes at the closer role in the last two weeks, including the Red Sox and Cubs. There are also a few closer situations that bare watching for fantasy owners.

Boston - Joel Hanraha....err....Junichi Tazawa

Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey was placed on the DL with a right biceps injury on Monday. About 6 hours later, incumbent Joel Hanrahan came into a save situation in the ninth inning and promptly gave up a home run to tie the score, and blow the save. A walk and a few pitches later, Hanrahan was walking off the mound with right forearm tightness and was placed on the 15 day DL on Tuesday. In steps Junichi Tazawa into the Red Sox closer role.

Tazawa hasn't had a save since 2011....in AA. There is no telling how he will fare in the role, but he has pitched well this season, with a 2.51 ERA, an 11.30 K/9 and 1.88 BB/9.

Chicago - Kevin Gregg

Two weeks ago in this piece, I dismissed the call up of Kevin Gregg, who promptly took over the closer role in Chicago. He has four saves in four chances, but I wonder how long he will have the job with Kyuji Fujikawa currently rehabbing in the minors. We will learn more as the week progresses, but if you can stash Fujikawa for the time being, you should do so.

Closer Situations to Watch

In the past few days we have seen two NL West closers blow a save and I think each situation bares watching.

Arizona - J.J. Putz

Putz recently blew his fourth save of the season, and manager Kirk Gibson has indicated he will give Putz some days off here and there, giving save opportunities to David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds. Until he loses the job entirely, Putz has the closer job for the time being, but he is one or two blown saves away from losing the job.

Update: Putz was pulled from last night's game vs the Dodgers with elbow stiffness. A DL stint is likely. Heath Bell earned the save last night and is in the mix for saves with David Hernandez. We should learn more about who takes over the closer role in Arizona later today.

Los Angeles - Brandon League

League has given up runs in six of his last nine appearances, while Kenley Jansen has been Kenley Jansen of late. Jansen has given up runs in just one of his last ten appearances, and with the Dodgers in the midst of a losing streak, the pressure will be on League to turn things around on the mound.

Update: League came into a tie game last night and gave up a two run home run to Paul Goldschmidt and took the loss. He has now given up runs in 7 of his last 10 appearances, but has converted 8 of his 9 save opportunities. I see League on really thin ice right now, so it might make sense to stash Kenley Jansen if you need a closer.

San Diego - Huston Street

Street currently has 7 saves on the year, but does not look like the old Huston Street. His strikeout per nine rate is down from 10.85 K/9 to just 5.54 K/9. His ground ball rate is down from 41.7% to just 29.5%, and he has already allowed four home runs in 13 innings thus far. It remains to be seen if Street is hurt or not, but he usually lands on the DL at some point during the season, so it might be time to stash Luke Gregerson if you have room on your bench. Gregerson has been lights out this season, sporting a 1.17 ERA and 55% ground ball rate.

Tampa Bay - Fernando Rodney

Rodney is not the dominating closer he was last season, when he set a record for lowest ERA for pitchers with more than 50 innings pitched. This season, he is 1-1 with 4 saves, 2 blown saves, a 5.06 ERA, a 1.69 HR/9 and a 7.69 BB/9. So, to say that he has been wild is an understatement. Joel Peralta is probably the next in line should Rodney lose the job.

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