Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Who Are the Best Closers in Baseball Right Now?
Back in July, I was worried that this guy would be traded. Because the Reds were putting damn near everybody else on the trading block, I was worried that they'd throw Chapman on there too. But, thankfully, Aroldis Chapman stayed in Cincinnati, and one of the best closers in baseball stayed exactly where he needed to be.
So far this has been a big year for closers, especially in the NL, as Mark Melancon is already having a huge season with a month left to go. So, for no reason whatsoever, I'm going to count down the ten best closers in baseball right now.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, David Robertson, Jason Grilli, Jeurys Familia, Ken Giles (basically #11)
10. Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers. We were all worried for a while when K-Rod had a few subpar seasons in Queens, but he's been back on track, having some really nice saves for the Brewers, and acting as the #7 spot on the All-Time Saves list, just 12 away from tying Dennis Eckersley. Even if he's nowhere near where he was in 2008, he's still an all-time great, and deserves a ton of recognition.
9. Glen Perkins, Twins. A number of years as a middle reliever prepared Perkins for a few stellar years in Minnesota, having some great, save-heavy seasons, and bringing the team back from the depths of the AL Central. He's gotten some All Star nods out of the deal. He's also the current saves leader for the AL. However, he's this low because he's blown a lot of saves lately, including a few against the Yankees.
8. Jonathan Papelbon, Nationals. Up here mostly because of his reputation, not because of his current gameplay, as it's definitely slipped. Papelbon made All Star teams with Boston and Philly, and led the league in saves a few times. He is, however, a horse's ass.
7. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals. Keep this up for a few more years and you're looking at a potential #1 spot. Seriously. This guy has been ferocious for St. Louis, with a 45-save season last year, and something that's beginning to resemble a 45+ save season this year. I swear, this guy is lucky to be on this kind of Cardinals team. The only thing is that it's uncertain whether or not Rosenthal would be this good on any other team. Still, can't help but admire the guy's stuff.
6. Zach Britton, Orioles. Another guy who's had a couple of great seasons lately, this guy started in the rotation but came into his own as a closer, taking over for Jim Johnson. He's dominant in the ninth, beloved by fans, and definitely headed for another nice season.
5. Greg Holland, Royals. If anyone in the AL can handle a mega-save season, it's this guy. Last two seasons he's had 45+ saves. That takes skill to have that kind of consistency. It's helping so much that the Royals are so unstoppable this season, but it's not helping that the Royals are lacking save opportunities. Still, Holland is definitely one to watch, one of my favorites.
4. Mark Melancon, Pirates. Well, with what he's been doing this season, he kind of has to be up this high, if not higher. Melancon has gone from a Yankee farmhand, to a trade thrown-in, to a guy who throws some nasty stuff in the ninth. The guy has 40 saves already...and there's still a month left in the season. I think it's just been a great place for closers, Pittsburgh, because Jason Grilli had that amazing season in 2013. But Melancon, I think, has a lot better form than Grilli, and can be more consistent.
3. Huston Street, Angels. Another guy who's refused to disappoint, no matter where he's pitching. This guy's not had a down season in years, whether pitching for the A's, Rockies, Padres or Angels. Plus, this is the first time in a while that he's closing games for a competitive team, one who'll be making a serious postseason bid. He's a veteran in the ninth, and a trustworthy arm.
2. Craig Kimbrel, Padres. Was worried for a little bit earlier this season when he wasn't immediately throwing absolute fire, but after a while my worries disappeared. Right now he's third on the NL saves list, with four straight 40+ save seasons, which is pretty damn tough to do, especially for someone on a team like the Braves. He's been keeping the Padres afloat two, at 35 saves currently, which is actually pretty tame by Kimbrel standards. I feel like he's gonna have even more huge seasons to come.
1. Aroldis Chapman, Reds. Yeah, this was pretty predictable. This guy has some of the nastiest stuff in the major leagues, with a four seamer that has gone to 110 in the past. This guy's arm was so dangerous that having him close games, rather than start, was applauded by the management. He's had four straight All Star appearances, and three straight 35+ save seasons, plus he's on his way to even more. But the intimidation factor puts him above Kimbrel. I don't think anybody wants to go against Chapman in the ninth. Therefore he gets #1, fair and square.