2017 Tiered Closer Rankings

March 3, 2017

Here are the Monkey’s closer rankings for 2017. As always, we’ve got them divided into tiers for your drafting ease.

Tier 1
1. Kenley Jansen
2. Aroldis Chapman
3. Zach Britton

Analysis: Not much to say about these guys. For the sake of semantics, we have Jansen above Chapman mainly because the Dodgers could win 100 games. Britton slots in behind them because his strikeout totals won’t be as high.

Tier 2
4. Wade Davis
5. Seung-Hwan Oh
6. Craig Kimbrel
7. Edwin Diaz
8. Mark Melancon
9. Kelvin Herrera
10. Ken Giles
11. Roberto Osuna
12. Cody Allen

Analysis: With one exception, these guys all fit the blueprint for a model closer in 2017: Strikeout artists who are largely successful at keeping the ball in the ballpark. Mark Melancon is the only guy who doesn’t fit that mold, strikeout-wise, but his cutter has so much movement that hitters can’t make good contact, allowing him to defy his metrics for years. The most interesting name on this list is Edwin Diaz, whose numbers from last year projected over a full season are pretty staggering. He’ll have to prove he can handle the rigors of a full season, but his upside is tremendous.

Tier 3
13. David Robertson
14. AJ Ramos
15. Jeurys Familia
16. Sam Dyson
17. Alex Colome

Analysis: Everyone here is likely to be reliable, though they’ve all got a question mark or two that keeps them from cracking the second tier. Respectively, those question marks are: trade rumors, a great supporting cast that will result in a quick hook if he struggles, a likely suspension, meh strikeout totals, and a revitalized Brad Boxberger.

Tier 4
18. Tony Watson
19. Jim Johnson
20. Francisco Rodriguez

Analysis: Eh they’ll be fine. You know, probably.

Tier 5
21. Neftali Feliz
22. Raisel Iglesias
23. Ryan Madson
24. Adam Ottavino
25. Shawn Kelley
26. Huston Street
27. Brandon Maurer
28. Fernando Rodney

Analysis: Now we’re getting down to the moneymakers. Every year, a couple closers in everyone’s bottom 10 wind up having perfectly decent, or even good, seasons, and the people who took them get great value for their late draft picks. The players on this list to watch most closely are Adam Ottavino and Shawn Kelley, who would move up a tier or two if they win the closer role out of Spring Training.

Tier 6
29. Brandon Kintzler
30. Jeanmar Gomez

Analysis: Kintzler should start the year as closer, and might bounce back into the role every time Glen Perkins gets hurt. Gomez actually starts the year with the job, unlike some of the pitchers in the tier above him, but we think he’ll pitch more like he did in August than April. Expect Hector Neris to close in Philly soon.

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