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Closer Report for Week 2

Ray offers up his closer rankings for Week 2 of the MLB season, along with who is first and second in line behind the current closer for each team. And there are some sleepers too!

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

This is my first go at the Closer Rankings, so the format may change a bit as the season goes along, but I will do my best to update the rankings on a weekly basis going forward, hopefully on Mondays.

I will take a look at a few closer situations that were in flux in the first week of the season:

Phillies

Back in spring training, manager Pete Mackanin indicated that he could use up the five different relievers in the closer role, and in the first week of the season, he held true to form, using three different relievers in the role. Both David Hernandez and Dallier Hinojosa failed in their first attempts at closing out games, so Mackanin moved on to Jeanmar Gomez, an unimposing closer who strikes out six batters per nine innings. Yeah, not dominant. Well, all Gomez did was finish the week with two saves, both against the Mets over the weekend. I picked up Gomez in one keeper league last week and just traded him for a $16 Jhonny Peralta. I am in rebuild mode, so I prefer the cheap bat over a closer who could lose his job later in the year. That said, I think Gomez keeps the job till he blows a few saves. Keep in mind that Andrew Bailey is lurking and is a "sleeper" to be the next reliever to close in Philly.

Athletics

Sean Doolittle is the closer in Oakland, but Ryan Madson has successfully converted two save opportunities while Dollittle has one. That will change in due time, but I still worry that Doolittle's shoulder issues could come back and Madson could end the season with more saves than Doolittle. Manager Bob Melvin used Madson to close out the A's first win of the season vs the White Sox, so that was a curious move, then used Doolittle in the 8th inning of a tie game vs the Mariners last Friday, a game the A's won in the ninth, with Madson closing it out for his second save. Doolittle did earn the save in the A's 2-1 extra inning win over the Mariners on Sunday, while Madson pitched the eighth inning vs the middle of the Mariners lineup with the score tied. I am very interested to see how Melvin uses Madson and Doolittle in the coming weeks.

Yankees

Andrew Miller is holding down the closer role in New York with Aroldis Chapman serving his 30 game suspension. There is no doubt in my mind that Chapman will take over the role once he returns.

Brewers

With both Will Smith and Corey Knebel on the disabled list with injuries, Jeremy Jeffress has stepped into the role and converted his first three save opportunities, but he is not a closer who will blow people away. After striking out nearly a batter per inning last season, his K/9 is down to 7.36 K/9. Yet, the K/9 stat can be deceiving as his K% sits at 23.1% vs 23.5% in 2015. Jeffress relies on a two seem fastball, a curveball and a change up, and his two seamer is down nearly two MPH at the moment, so that bares watching in the coming weeks.

Reds

J.J. Hoover currently mans the ninth inning role for the Reds, and like Jeffress, he isn't overpowering, and I could see him losing the closer role by the end of the month. That said, the first in line behind Hoover, Jumbo Diaz, and boy is that name appropriate, served up up a game-winning three run home run to Cubs shortstop Addison Russell last night, so there won't be any change in the ninth inning role anytime soon.

Speculative Plays

For those of you who play in keeper leagues where you have FAAB available to spend on free agents, a few names that I like who could close in 2017 are Miguel Castro in Colorado, Arquimedes Caminero in Pittsburgh, Pedro Baez in Los Angeles, Blake Treinen in Washington, Silvino Bracho in Arizona and Tony Zach in Seattle. The common theme here is that the current closer on each of these teams will be a free agent at the end of the season, with the exception of Jake McGee in Colorado. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dodgers new front office allow Kenley Jansen to walk this offseason, especially with Chris Hatcher and Baez behind him I think Baez is the more dominant reliever between the two and could take over the role in 2017.

The Rockies demanded that Miguel Castro be included in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, and he has pitched very well in the first week of the season. He struck out four Diamondbacks in two clean innings in the Rockies 16-3 loss on Saturday, and manager Walt Weiss used him to finish the eighth inning to set up closer Jake McGee to finish off a 6-3 Rockies win on Sunday. I will be interested to see how Weiss uses Castro in the coming weeks, as it appears he is gaining more confidence in using him in high leveraged situations.

Update: The Marlins are moving David Phelps into a late inning role and it appears he will set up A.J. Ramos going forward. I have updated the table below accordingly.

Week 2 Closer Rankings

Rank

Team

League

Name

Second Option

Third Option

Sleeper

1

LAD

NL

Kenley Jansen

Chris Hatcher

Pedro Baez

2

BOS

AL

Craig Kimbrel

Koji Uehara

Carson Smith

3

NYY

AL

Andrew Miller

Dellin Betances

Aroldis Chapman (DL)

4

BAL

AL

Zach Britton

Darren O'Day

Mychal Givens

5

KCR

AL

Wade Davis

Joakim Soria

Kelvin Herrera

6

NYM

NL

Jeurys Familia

Addison Reed

Hansel Robles

7

PIT

NL

Mark Melancon

Tony Watson

Neftali Feliz

Arquimides Caminero

8

STL

NL

Trevor Rosenthal

Kevin Siegrist

Seung Oh

9

CHW

AL

David Robertson

Nate Jones

Jacob Petricka

10

CLE

AL

Cody Allen

Bryan Shaw

Zach McAllister

11

CHC

NL

Hector Rondon

Pedro Strop

Justin Grimm

12

WAS

NL

Jonathan Papelbon

Blake Treinen

Shawn Kelley

13

SFG

NL

Santiago Casilla

Sergio Romo

Hunter Strickland

14

LAA

AL

Huston Street

Joe Smith

Fernando Salas

15

TEX

AL

Shawn Tolleson

Sam Dyson

Keone Kela

16

ATL

NL

Arodys Vizcaino

Jason Grilli

Jim Johnson

17

HOU

AL

Luke Gregerson

Ken Giles

Pat Neshek

18

MIA

NL

A.J. Ramos

David Phelps

Bryan Morris

19

TOR

AL

Roberto Osuna

Drew Storen

Brett Cecil

20

MIN

AL

Glen Perkins

Kevin Jepsen

Trevor May

21

OAK

AL

Sean Doolittle

Ryan Madson

John Axford

22

MIL

NL

Jeremy Jeffress

Michael Blazek

Will Smith (DL)

23

DET

AL

Francisco Rodriguez

Mark Lowe

Justin Wilson

24

COL

NL

Jake McGee

Chad Qualls

Jason Motte (DL)

Miguel Castro

25

ARI

NL

Brad Ziegler

Tyler Clippard

Daniel Hudson

Silvino Bracho

26

TBR

AL

Alex Colome

Danny Farquhar

Brad Boxberger

27

SDP

NL

Fernando Rodney

Brandon Maurer

Kevin Quackenbush

28

SEA

AL

Steve Cishek

Joaquin Benoit

Tony Zych

29

CIN

NL

J.J. Hoover

Jumbo Diaz

Tony Cingrani

30

PHI

NL

Jeanmar Gomez

David Hernandez

Dalier Hinojosa

Andrew Bailey

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