Closer Rankings: A Friday blip for the biggest names

Jim Rogash

Friday saw six of the league's best closers all crash and burn. Can we take anything away from that?

Friday night was just awful for closers, as I noted Saturday morning:


(This is foreshadowing. Get ready for Twitter week in the Closer Rankings!)

The numbers aren't any better when you see them individually:

Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO Notes
Zach Britton 0.2 3 4 4 1 1 Blown Save, Loss
Aroldis Chapman 0.2 2 4 4 2 1 Loss
Greg Holland 1 3 2 2 2 1 Loss
Kenley Jansen 0.2 3 3 3 0 0 Blown Save, Loss
Craig Kimbrel 1 1 2 2 2 0 Blown Save
Glen Perkins 1 4 2 2 1 0 Blown Save, Win
Total 5 16 17 17 8 3 4 Blown Saves, 4 Losses, 1 Win

That is, if you don't want to parse the list, five closers who have all spent significant time in my top four or five most of the season, plus Britton, who came into that game with nine saves in 10 opportunities, a 3-0 record, and an ERA of 0.72. It was as bad a day for elite closers as I can remember, and no I'm not giving any return-positive credit for Perkins for getting a win.

In light of those Friday-night shenanigans, some things have changed in the closer rankings. Nothing significant. Perkins falls a couple spots. Jansen too. And Britton loses a bit of trust. But when the elite guys struggle like that - especially when all of them do it at once - it's tough to go crazy. I'm not bumping David Robertson to No. 1 closer status or anything.

When guys low in the closer rankings struggle, I'm apt to send them plummeting. This is the first and last time you'll see Ernesto Frieri's name this week, for example. But the top tier has earned trust. Chapman put up a 9.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP last week, sure. But he also struck out 10 guys in four innings, and his season WHIP is only at 0.75 now. The only closer in my top 20 with a WHIP of more than 1.20 is Jansen, who is striking out more than 15 guys per nine innings.

This isn't really new information for anyone who knows what they're doing. But (a) it's worth repeating, and (b) I really wanted to highlight all those Friday-night implosions. That was some craziness.

Moving on, these are this week's closer rankings. The first list is the right-now rankings; the second is the rest-of-season list. In the first list, I figure you've had enough of my own thoughts on the various guys, so I'm including relevant recent tweets on the guys. Just some new voices there. I'll put some thoughts in the second list as I see fit.

And on the second list, I stopped at 25. Sorry, I know I was going to list 30 closers for 30 teams each week, and keep that up, but the heck with that right now. I don't know who's going to get save opportunities for the Cubs, Rays, Angels, Mets. And I have no idea what to make of Joe Nathan. Stopping at 25. Please don't hate me.

Here we go:

Right-Now Rankings

Rank Player Team Last Week Tweet Of The Week
1 Aroldis Chapman CIN 1
2 Craig Kimbrel ATL 2
3 Greg Holland KCR 3
4 Huston Street SDP 6
5 Koji Uehara BOS 5
6 Glen Perkins MIN 4
7 Jonathan Papelbon PHI 7
8 Kenley Jansen LAD 9
9 David Robertson NYY 10
10 Joakim Soria TEX 8
11 Francisco Rodriguez MIL 15
12 Sean Doolittle OAK 14
13 Rafael Soriano WAS 17
14 Trevor Rosenthal SLC 16
15 Steve Cishek MIA 12
16 Casey Janssen TOR 13
17 Sergio Romo SFG 11
18 Mark Melancon PIT NR
19 Cody Allen CLE 21
20 Chad Qualls HOU 20
21 Zach Britton BAL 18
22 LaTroy Hawkins COL 22
23 Fernando Rodney SEA 23
24 Addison Reed ARI 24
25 Ronald Belisario CWS 26
26 Joe Nathan DET NR
27 Joel Peralta TAM NR
28 Jake McGee TAM 25
29 Hector Rondon CHC NR
30 Wade Davis KCR NR

Rest-Of-Season Rankings

Rank Player Team Last Week Thoughts
1 Aroldis Chapman CIN 1 So many strikeouts. So many strikeouts.
2 Craig Kimbrel ATL 2
3 Greg Holland KCR 3
4 Koji Uehara BOS 5 Even with his terrible Sunday, he's just been so good overall.
5 Glen Perkins MIN 4
6 Huston Street SDP 6 Only closer with an ERA below 1.00.
7 Jonathan Papelbon PHI 8
8 Kenley Jansen LAD 7
9 David Robertson NYY 10
10 Rafael Soriano WAS 15 Remember when everyone thought Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard would take over?
11 Joakim Soria TEX 9 He falls because the Rangers are just terrible right now and he might not get as many save chances.
12 Francisco Rodriguez MIL 12
13 Trevor Rosenthal SLC 17
14 Sergio Romo SFG 11
15 Steve Cishek MIA 13
16 Casey Janssen TOR 14 He's been great, but he's not striking out enough people.
17 Sean Doolittle OAK 18
18 Cody Allen CLE 20
19 Zach Britton BAL 19
20 Mark Melancon PIT NR Falls a little in the full-season rankings because Jason Grilli still might be heard from.
21 Fernando Rodney SEA 22
22 LaTroy Hawkins COL 21
23 Addison Reed ARI 23
24 Ronald Belisario CWS 25
25 Chad Qualls HOU 24

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