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Top 40 Tiered Closer Rankings for 2016

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For those who like to see position rankings in tiers, Ray offers his 2016 tiered closer rankings, with the usual suspects in the first tier.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I ranked our Top 40 closers and middle relievers in five tiers, with the first tier consisting of the most dominating closers in the game, including Royals closer Wade Davis, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, and Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Three of the four, Chapman, Jansen and Kimrbel, are capable of saving 40+ games with low-2..00 ERAs and close to 100 strikeouts in any season. While Davis is not as dominating as the other three, he is quite capable of saving 40+ games with a low ERA as well.

The second tier of closers includes a few new names, including Mets closer Jeurys Familia and Astros closer Ken Giles. Both can be dominating and could save 40+ games in 2016. Giles is moving to a new league and Familia will have to carry high expectations after the Mets World Series appearance last season. Pirates closer Mark Melanin led MLB in saves last season with 51, but saw some deterioration in his skill set that could be a precursor to a disappointing season for him, so that is something fantasy owners should watch early in the season.

The second tier includes two Yankees set up men Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, who both could close for the majority of teams this season. Betances and Miller join closer Aroldis Chapman to form the most dominating bullpen in baseball. All three struck out more than 14 batters per nine innings last season and I expect them to be used quite a bit by manager Joe Girardi this season.

The third tier are the closers you will grab with some reluctance, as some come with red flags, such as Rays closer Brad Boxberger and Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson. Tolleson is a fly ball closer who gave up a ton of home runs last season, and Boxberger is dominating but has trouble with his control.

The last two tiers include closers with more red flags and some relievers who aren't a guarantee to open the season with the closer role. That list includes Braves relievers Jason Grilli and Arodys Vizzcaino, Brewers reliever Will Smith, Blue Jays relievers Drew Storen and Roberto Osuna and others.

The closers with red flags in tier four are Rockies closer Jake McGee, who will attempt to keep the closer role despite his fly ball tendencies, Athletics closer Sean Doolittle who is coming off a shoulder injury, and Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez who has closed forever, but Father Time may present him some challenges in 2016. Plus, Tigers closers are meant to struggle, right?

Top 40 Tiered Closer Rankings for 2016

Rank

Tier

League

Name

Tm

1

1

AL

Wade Davis

KCR

2

1

NL

Kenley Jansen

LAD

3

1

AL

Craig Kimbrel

BOS

5

1

AL

Aroldis Chapman

NYY

4

2

NL

Jeurys Familia

NYM

6

2

NL

Mark Melancon

PIT

7

2

AL

Ken Giles

HOU

8

2

AL

Zach Britton

BAL

9

2

AL

David Robertson

CHW

10

2

AL

Cody Allen

CLE

11

2

NL

Trevor Rosenthal

STL

12

2

NL

Hector Rondon

CHC

21

2

AL

Andrew Miller

NYY

27

2

AL

Dellin Betances

NYY

13

3

AL

Shawn Tolleson

TEX

14

3

AL

Brad Boxberger

TBR

15

3

AL

Huston Street

LAA

15

3

NL

Jonathan Papelbon

2TM

17

3

NL

A.J. Ramos

MIA

18

3

AL

Glen Perkins

MIN

23

3

NL

Santiago Casilla

SFG

38

3

AL

Darren O'Day

BAL

19

4

AL

Sean Doolittle

OAK

20

4

AL

Francisco Rodriguez

DET

22

4

AL

Drew Storen

WSN

24

4

NL

Will Smith

MIL

25

4

NL

Brad Ziegler

ARI

26

4

NL

Jake McGee

COL

28

4

AL

Roberto Osuna

TOR

29

4

NL

Arodys Vizcaino

ATL

34

4

NL

Jason Grilli

ATL

40

4

NL

Hunter Strickland

SFG

30

5

NL

David Hernandez

PHI

31

5

NL

Fernando Rodney

SDP

32

5

AL

Steve Cishek

2TM

33

5

NL

J.J. Hoover

CIN

35

5

AL

Carson Smith

BOS

36

5

AL

Kelvin Herrera

KCR

37

5

AL

Luke Gregerson

HOU

39

5

AL

Joaquin Benoit

SEA

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