Closer Report: Week 13 Rankings

USA TODAY Sports

Ray Guilfoyle ranks his Top 40 closers and middle relievers for Week 13.

I ranked Jason Grilli has my #1 closer a few weeks ago, and since then he has blown one save and blown up in a non-save situation on Sunday in Los Angeles. But, I am keeping him as my #1 closer for Week 13, as he has been one of the main reasons why the Pirates have the second best record in baseball.

It is no secret that I wanted Kenley Jansen to win the closer job in Los Angeles all the way back in spring training, and now he has won back the job. Dodgers manager Don MattingIy had seen enough of Brandon League and made the switch a few weeks ago. I ranked him pretty aggressively here, and can see him moving up the rankings as the season goes along.

Now let's take a look at my Week 13 Closer Rankings:

Rank

Closer/Middle Reliever

Team

1

Jason Grilli

PIT

2

Craig Kimbrel

ATL

3

Mariano Rivera

NYY

4

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

5

Jim Johnson

BAL

6

Joe Nathan

TEX

7

Edward Mujica

STL

8

Casey Janssen

TOR

9

Rafael Soriano

WAS

10

Kenley Jansen

LAD

11

Sergio Romo

SFG

12

Addison Reed

CHW

13

Jonathan Papelbon

PHI

14

Glen Perkins

MIN

15

Greg Holland

KC

16

Rex Brothers

COL

17

Grant Balfour

OAK

18

Fernando Rodney

TB

19

Joaquin Benoit

DET

20

Kevin Gregg

CHC

21

Ernesto Frieri

LAA

22

Francisco Rodriguez

MIL

23

Vinnie Pestano

CLE

24

Koji Uehara

BOS

25

Huston Street

SD

26

Steve Cishek

MIA

27

Jose Veras

HOU

28

Bobby Parnell

NYM

29

Heath Bell

ARI

30

Yoervis Medina

SEA

31

Trevor Rosenthal

STL

32

Andrew Bailey

BOS

33

Tom Wilhelmsen

SEA

34

Mark Melancon

PIT

35

Luke Gregerson

SD

35

Chris Perez

CLE

36

Jim Henderson

MIL

37

David Robertson

NYY

38

Rafael Betancourt

COL

39

Jesse Crain

CHW

40

Drew Smyly

DET


Closer Changes

Joaquin Benoit, DET

Benoit now has the closer job in Detroit, but for how long? Former closer Jose Valverde was not long for the job, and he was DFA'd last week, and Benoit has been successful in his few save opportunities. But, the Tigers are now in the market for an experienced closer, and could make a deal for a Jonathan Papelbon, Huston Street, or Rafael Betancourt.

Kenley Jansen, LAD

As mentioned above, Jansen now has the closer's job in Los Angeles, and I see him keeping it the rest of the season. His strikeout rate is down from 13.71 K/9 to 12.89 K/9, but his walk rate, 1.46 BB/9, is at a career low. He continues to be a dominant reliever, and should fare well the rest of the season.

Koji Uehara, BOS

Uehara will get the first chance at the closer role in Boston after Andrew Bailey blew a few saves in a row. Bailey has been hurt by the long ball, he's given up 2.38 HR/9, and the free pass, as his walk rate is up over 4.00 BB/9. I think he eventually gets the job back, or the Red Sox trade for a closer.

Yoervis Medina, SEA

Medina got the first shot at the closer job in Seattle after Tom Wilhelmsen blew a few saves, but, like the Boston situatiom, I can see Wilhelmsen winning the job back once he corrects whatever is ailing him. Wilhelmsen has given up runs in four of his last six appearances, and six of his last nine, and is giving up plenty of long balls.

Closer Situations to Watch

Heath Bell, ARI

Speaking of giving up home runs, Heath Bell has given up home runs in each of his last five appearances, and with J.J. Putz closing in on a return from the DL, Bell will more than likely fall back into the 7th inning role for manager Kirk Gibson.

Huston Street, SD

I have a feeling Street may be on thin ice in San Diego, as he is giving up home runs at an amazing rate. He gave up back to back home runs to Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the ninth inning of Sunday's game, and has now given up 10 home runs in 26.1 innings. On a per nine inning rate, he is giving up 3.42 HR/9 right now. That's not easy to do. Luke Gregerson is probably first in line for saves should Street be removed from the role.

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