Literally, I was going to open this with "Pop quiz, hotshot." Then I stopped, because I realized that, while I knew I was referencing a movie, I didn't actually know which movie it was.
In good conscience, I can't quote a movie without knowing which it is. It'd be like going up to karaoke The Outfield's "Your Love" and not knowing anything after "Josie's on a vacation far away." And I use that as an all-too-specific example, because after far too many drinks one night I tried it, in an effort to impress a girl there who liked the song. I was, in case you were wondering, unsuccessful.
So I had to google "Pop quiz, hotshot," and it turns out it's from Speed, which you almost certainly knew, but I didn't, because I never saw Speed, so I only knew the phrase from everyone else quoting it.
One hundred forty-seven words. That's how long it took me to explain the three-word opening I wanted to write.
Here's a pop quiz.
It's been just under 300 games since the start of last season for each team. How many teams still have the same closer in place they started 2013 with?
This is a terrible quiz. There's not even a Scantron. But the answer is eight.
Of the 30 teams in baseball, only eight have kept a single closer in place for 300 games. And that's not a crazy number - I recall Buster Olney tracking a similar trend last year, at the number was even lower.
In deep keeper leagues, someone probably kept Jim Johnson, or Jason Grilli, or Sergio Romo. None of the three currently gets saves, and only Romo seems like there's even a realistic chance of opportunities.
We're nearing the end of the season. Maybe you're in love with David Robertson, or Mark Melancon, or Cody Allen. They've all been really good. And if I had to guess right now, I'd say all three will be their respective team's closers at the end of 2015. But I'm willing to bet good money at least one of those won't be, and maybe more than one.
If you're in a deep keeper, and you want to keep Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, I can't argue with you. Greg Holland, Kenley Jansen. Sure, maybe. But the standards for even considering keeping a closer have to be way higher than for any other position.
Just thinking out loud. Anyway. Welcome to the party, pal. (That's from Die Hard.)
Here are this week's closer rankings. This is the last week with multiple lists, as I have a Right-Now list and a Rest-Of-Season list. Next week, when we'll be in September, I'm going back down to a unified list, since I think the two will basically be the same anyway.
|1||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||1||Two runs, 32 strikeouts since June 20.|
|2||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||8||Since "Oh no, he's hurt," he's pitched four innings, given up one hit, and struck out nine. He even went two innings once.|
|3||Greg Holland||KAN||3||One strikeout in his last six outings. That isn't ideal, and outside his norm.|
|4||Kenley Jansen||LAD||6||ERA in July: 0.96. ERA in August: 0.96.|
|5||David Robertson||NYY||5||Sunday's blown save broke a string of 22 straight conversions.|
|6||Glen Perkins||MIN||7||If he were on a good team, he'd bump up a few slots. I'd just rather have a closer with more likelihood of save chances.|
|7||Koji Uehara||BOS||4||Nine days ago, he'd given up eight runs all season. He gave up seven in 2.2 innings since.|
|8||Huston Street||LAA||9||Bounced back well from that disaster outing against Texas.|
|9||Mark Melancon||PIT||11||His 2.24 ERA is matched by a 2.29 FIP. He's luckproof.|
|10||Zach Britton||BAL||12||He has a blowup outing once a month, and he already had it for August.|
|11||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||10||People keep saying the Phillies should just go to Ken Giles, but ... Papelbon has been really good.|
|12||Cody Allen||CLE||14||Gave up four runs Friday -- all unearned. Helps his superficial numbers, but hurts his overall value.|
|13||Jake McGee||TAM||18||The Rays are really flexible with their relievers -- McGee has had multi-inning outings three times this month. Still, I think he's the guy.|
|14||Fernando Rodney||SEA||22||The fact that Rodney is this high tells you how much the group of guys from, say, 13-21 are the same, and are mediocre.|
|15||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||17||Sunday's outing: 1 inning, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 home run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 ground ball, 1 fly ball. That was fun.|
|16||Luke Gregerson||OAK||NR||Sean Doolittle hit the DL. Tough to say who'll get the chances in Oakland with him out, but Gregerson is my first bet.|
|17||Santiago Casilla||SFG||16||Starting looking rough two weeks ago, but bounced back with five strikeouts and one hit in his last three.|
|18||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||19||He just keeps having bad patches. Scary.|
|19||Rafael Soriano||WAS||20||Four runs allowed through June, then five each in July and August.|
|20||Steve Cishek||MIA||21||Even as I write this, I kind of think I'm still too high on him. 4.96 ERA since the start of June.|
|21||Casey Janssen||TOR||15||Low strikeout rate, 5.40 ERA since the start of July, team that doesn't win as many games.|
|22||Addison Reed||ARI||25||Seems to have turned it around pretty well of late.|
|23||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||24||Pointed this out on Twitter, but the fact that he stars in a commercial with Craig Kimbrel is funny -- opposite ends of the strikeout spectrum.|
|24||Joaquin Benoit||SDP||13||He picked an awful time to get a little hurt if the Padres wanted to deal him, but he's back now.|
|25||Neftali Feliz||TEX||23||Only one blown save so far.|
|26||Hector Rondon||CHC||26||Hasn't walked anyone since July 10, only one earned run since July 11.|
|27||Chad Qualls||HOU||28||The team gave Jose Veras a save chance, and Josh Fields has been doing stuff too.|
|28||Joe Nathan||DET||27||Converted three straight saves, but allowed a run and two hits in each.|
|29||Eric O'Flaherty||OAK||NR||If Gregerson doesn't get the first chance, these two guys might.|
|30||Ryan Cook||OAK||NR||Frankly, Dan Otero might get save chances too. And I'd rather any of this group than Jake Petricka/Jenrry Mejia/Jeurys Familia.|