Closer Report: Rankings for Week 22

Mike Zarrilli

Ray ranks his top 40 closers and middle relievers for Week 22 of the MLB season, including a closer look at some of the top closers in the game.

We're into the final month of the fantasy baseball season, and for me, the season has gone by way too quick. There will come a time in early October when I will start yearning for a fantasy baseball draft, but the playoffs and World Series will keep me from going nuts, especially with the Dodgers looking like they could go far in the playoffs this season.

There probably won't be too many changes in the closer rankings in September, so I will focus on what some of the closers have accomplished this season in this article going forward.

Let's take a look at a few of the more dominant closers in the game this week:

Kenley Jansen

Jansen didn't start closing for the Dodgers till around the end of May, but now has 24 saves on the season. He has maintained his 13 K/9 rate from 2012, and is showing more control this season as his walk rate is down from 3.05 BB/9 to 1.60 BB/9 this season. Since the beginning of August, Jansen has faced 48 batters, striking out 26 of them and giving up just one run on just two hits and three walks.

Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel leads the majors in saves with 43, and while his strikeout rate is down by almost 4 strikeouts per nine innings (16.66 K/9 to 12.86 K/9), he is keeping the ball ball on the ground at a 47% rate, and is keeping the ball in the park, as his 0.48 HR/9 indicates. He will be the first closer chosen in 2014 drafts and for good reason.

Danny Farquhar

Farquhar looks like he will have the Mariners closer job the rest of the season, and should be the closer coming out of spring training in 2014. After a first half where he put up a 6.94 ERA while striking out 35 and walking 10 batters in 23.1 innings, he has settled down with a 1.96 ERA, with a 36-7 strikeout to walk rate in 23 innings in the second half. His 1.63 FIP indicates he has pitched better than his 4.47 ERA this season, and his 57.5% strand rate confirms how unlucky he was in the first half of the season.

Aroldis Chapman

Chapman is one of the more dominant closers in the game, striking out 90 batters in just 53.1 innings of work. Of pitchers with 50 or more innings on the mound this season, Chapman ranks 104th in all of baseball. He has struck out more batters than Aaron Harang, Paul Maholm and Joe Saunders, starting pitchers who have thrown more than double the number of innings Chapman has this season. One area of concern for fantasy owners is the rise in his HR/9 rate, which has more than doubled from 0.50 HR/9 to 1.18 HR/9 this season.

Let's take a look at the Closer Rankings for Week 22:

Rank

Closer/Middle Reliever

Team

1

Craig Kimbrel

ATL

2

Aroldis Chapman

CIN

3

Kenley Jansen

LAD

4

Greg Holland

KC

5

Joe Nathan

TEX

6

Mariano Rivera

NYY

7

Edward Mujica

STL

8

Addison Reed

CHW

9

Mark Melancon

PIT

10

Danny Farquhar

SEA

11

Glen Perkins

MIN

12

Joaquin Benoit

DET

13

Sergio Romo

SFG

14

Koji Uehara

BOS

15

Grant Balfour

OAK

16

Chris Perez

CLE

17

Casey Janssen

TOR

18

Rex Brothers

COL

19

Jonathan Papelbon

PHI

20

Jim Johnson

BAL

21

Ernesto Frieri

LAA

22

Huston Street

SD

23

Rafael Soriano

WAS

24

Fernando Rodney

TB

25

Steve Cishek

MIA

26

Brad Zeigler

ARI

27

Jim Henderson

MIL

28

Kevin Gregg

CHC

29

Chia-Jen Lo

HOU

30

Latroy Hawkins

NYM

31

Trevor Rosenthal

STL

32

Francisco Rodriguez

BAL

33

Tyler Clippard

WAS

34

David Robertson

NYY

35

Luke Gregerson

SD

36

Jason Grilli

PIT

37

Pedro Strop

BAL

38

Nate Jones

SHW

39

Ryan Cook

OAK

40

Drew Smyly

DET

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