2019 Tiered Closer Rankings

February 25, 2019

Here are the Monkey’s closer rankings for 2019. This year is a little unique since we have a few committees, some injuries (Brandon Morrow) and a top-flight closer un-signed (Craig Kimbrel) so we have extended this list to 35 names.  We’ve got them divided into tiers for your drafting ease.

Tier 1

1. Edwin Diaz
2. Blake Treinen
3. Aroldis Chapman

Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen are new names at the top of the list but after last season, it’s hard to put anybody else there.  Diaz led the league with 57 saves, had an ERA under 2.00, a WHIP well under 1.00, and struck out over 100 batters. Oh, and did we mention he’s only 24 years old?  Treinen finished last season with an ERA of 0.78 (yes that is not a typo) and struck out 100 batters.

Tier 2

4. Sean Doolittle
5. Kenley Jansen
6. Brad Hand
7. Craig Kimbrel

Sean Doolittle had an incredible year in 2018 (1.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, and 10-1 K to BB ratio) and he would be tier 1 if not for injury concerns.  Brad Hand struck out over 100 batters for the second straight year and should be the undisputed closer for the contending Indians in 2019. Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel are getting a little older but are still close to elite.

Tier 3

8. Felipe Vazquez
9. Raisel Iglesias
10. Jose Leclerc
11. David Robertson
12. Roberto Osuna
13. Kirby Yates
14. Wade Davis

Tier 3 is an interesting group.  Vazquez is locked in as closer for the Pirates and his numbers are great, except for a high WHIP (1.24 last year).  Robertson and Osuna all have the potential to run away with the closer’s role for their respective teams, but their managers have not been shy to use multiple guys to close out games.  The Reds have already said that they want to use Iglesias in different ways.  Jose Leclerc is a guy to keep an eye on as he gave up a grand total of 3 hits in August and September while racking up 12 saves during that time.

Tier 4

15. Arodys Vizcaino
16. Ken Giles
17. Cody Allen
18. Corey Knebel
19. Jose Alvarado

Ken Giles, Cody Allen, and Corey Knebel were all top 10 closers going into last season but really struggled in 2018.  Alvarado is a young hard-throwing lefty who could prove to be a steal if the Rays commit to him as their closer for the full season.

Tier 5

20. Alex Colome
21. Archie Bradley
22. Mychal Givens
23. Mark Melancon
24. Jordan Hicks
25. Hunter Strickland
26. Drew Steckenrider
27. Brandon Morrow

This group has a lot more questions than answers, but a few of these guys are going to help you win saves in your league.  Mychal Givens has the least competition of the group but he is unproven and closing for the lowly Orioles. Archie Bradley and Jordan Hicks are excellent young relievers but they both have competition from veterans with more closing experience.  Brandon Morrow was fantastic last year but will miss the start of the year and is a big injury risk.

Tier 6

28. Pedro Strop
29. Matt Barnes
30. Shane Greene
31. Brad Boxberger
32. Josh Hader
33. Trevor May
34. Andrew Miller
35. Wily Peralta

Josh Hader and Andrew Miller are elite relievers who unfortunately are often used before the 9th inning.  Trevor May pitched well for the Twins at the end of last season and the 6’5 righty has loads of potential. Shane Greene’s numbers were pretty terrible last year (5.12 ERA and 1.37 WHIP) but he saved 32 games and will start the year as the closer for the Tigers.