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Closer Report for Week 9

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Ray ranks his closers for Week 9 and offers thoughts on some relievers coming off the disabled list and others who are struggling.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry I missed publishing the Closer Report last week, as the weekend was busy and my time during the week is pretty limited when I am working overtime.

Here are my thoughts on the closer report for Week 9:

  • Brewers reliever Will Smith has moved his rehab to Triple A Colorado Springs and will work toward pitching on back to back days. Once he is able to do that, he will be activated from the disabled list, and will eventually work his way into a set up role in Milwaukee's bullpen. Over the last few days, we have seen Tyler Thornburg and Blaine Boyer earn saves when closer Jeremy Jeffress was unavailable. It is quite possible the Brewers may want to trade one of Jeffress or Smith at the trade deadline.
  • The Angels are inching closer to activating closer Huston Street from the disabled list, but reports indicate his fastball is sitting at a modest 85 mph, so he may need more work before earning save opportunities in the Angels pen.
  • Mets closer Jeurys Familia had a rough go of it in two non-save opportunities over the weekend. On Friday night, he pitched the ninth inning with a four run lead, but the Dodgers knocked him around for 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Last night, he entered the ninth inning in a game tied at 2 and proceeded to give up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in the Mets 4-2 loss to the Dodgers. If he continues to pitch poorly, Addison Reed would be the next in line to earn saves in the Mets pen. Reed is striking out more than 11 batters per nine this season, and keeps the walks to a minimum as well.
  • Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal could be n jeopardy of losing the closer role in St. Louis, as he has appeared in 17 games this season, earning 8 saves, but has pitched a clean inning in just 6 of his 17 appearances. His strikeout, walk and home run rates all have increased this season, but the walk rate is the most concerning as he has walked 12 batters in 25 innings this season, after walking 25 in 68.2 last season. His hard hit rate allowed has sky-rocketed from 26% last season to 44% this season. I would keep Kevin Siegrist and Seung Hwan Oh on my radar going forward.
  • Tony Cingrani appears to have a firm grip on the Reds closer role for the time being, as he has earned four saves over the past few weeks, yet still has battles with his control. The Reds pen has no clear back up, but keep Michael Lorenzen on your radar, as some in the Reds media think he is a sleeper to closer by the end of the season.
  • Shawn Tolleson's propensity to give up the long ball ended his reign as the Rangers closer, Sam Dyson is now the top guy to earn saves in the Rangers pen at the moment, but should he struggle, Matt Bush could be the next in line. Bush has been out of baseball for five years but he has pitched well in his nine appearances thus far, striking out nearly a batter per inning and limiting the walks and home run ball. Bush throws 96 mph heat, so he has the weapons to close if called upon.

Closer Rankings for Week 9

Rank

Team

Name

Second Option

Third Option

Sleeper

1

Dodgers

Kenley Jansen

Pedro Baez

Joe Blanton

2

Red Sox

Craig Kimbrel

Koji Uehara

Junichi Tazawa

3

Yankees

Aroldis Chapman

Andrew Miller

Dellin Betances

4

Royals

Wade Davis

Kelvin Herrera

Joakim Soria

5

Orioles

Zach Britton

Darren O'Day

Mychal Givens

Brad Brach

6

White Sox

David Robertson

Nate Jones

Zach Duke

7

Giants

Santiago Casilla

Hunter Strickland

Josh Osich

Sergio Romo

8

Mets

Jeurys Familia

Addison Reed

Hansel Robles

9

Cardinals

Trevor Rosenthal

Seung Hwan Oh

Kevin Siegrist

10

Athletics

Ryan Madson

Sean Doolittle

John Axford

11

Pirates

Mark Melancon

Tony Watson

Neftali Feliz

12

Cubs

Hector Rondon

Pedro Strop

Justin Grimm

13

Phillies

Jeanmar Gomez

Hector Neris

David Hernandez

Andrew Bailey

14

Padres

Fernando Rodney

Brandon Maurer

Ryan Buchter

15

Astros

Luke Gregerson

Will Harris

Ken Giles

16

Marlins

A.J. Ramos

David Phelps

Kyle Barraclough

17

Nationals

Jonathan Papelbon

Blake Treinen

Shawn Kelley

18

Blue Jays

Roberto Osuna

Gavin Floyd

Brett Cecil

Drew Storen

19

Brewers

Jeremy Jeffress

Tyler Thornburg

Michael Blazek

Will Smith (DL)

20

Indians

Cody Allen

Bryan Shaw

Zach McAllister

21

Rockies

Jake McGee

Carlos Estevez

Miguel Castro

Jason Motte

22

Tigers

Francisco Rodriguez

Mark Lowe

Justin Wilson

22

Diamondbacks

Brad Ziegler

Daniel Hudson

Tyler Clippard

23

Rangers

Sam Dyson

Jake Diekman

Matt Bush

Shawn Tolleson

24

Mariners

Steve Cishek

Joaquin Benoit

Nick Vincent

Joel Peralta

25

Braves

Arodys Vizcaino

Jason Grilli

Jim Johnson

27

Rays

Alex Colome

Enny Romero

Erasmo Ramirez

Brad Boxberger (DL)

28

Twins

Kevin Jepsen

Trevor May

Ryan Presley

Glen Perkins (DL)

29

Angels

Joe Smith

Fernando Salas

Jose Alvarez

Huston Street (DL)

30

Reds

Tony Cingrani

Ross Ohlendorf

Blake Wood

Michael Lorenzen (DL)

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