Rankings

Rankings – RP

Top 30 RP for 2016

For the top 30 list, (CP) indicates they are the projected closer according to MLBDepthCharts. (CP*) indicates they are the temporary closer.

1) Kenley Jansen (CP)
2) Wade Davis (CP)
3) Craig Kimbrel (CP)
4) Aroldis Chapman

The top tier here is elite. Not only do you get the saves, but you get enough Ks for them to be relevant and excellent rate stats. I’m not into taking closers early, but this tier is elite enough for me to reconsider. I think the first three are mostly interchangeable. Chapman is fourth only because he will miss 30 games. He should have the job when he returns which is why he isn’t further down this list.

5) Cody Allen (CP)
6) Trevor Rosenthal (CP)
7) Zach Britton (CP)
8) David Robertson (CP)
9) Mark Melancon (CP)
10) Ken Giles (CP)
11) Jeurys Familia (CP)

Familia is the last closer who has a completely secure job. All 11 guys above this line would need to majorly struggle or get hurt to lose the job. The group in the second tier aren’t quite as elite in the Ks and rate stats, but they are the next best thing. Of this group, I think Giles has a chance to move into the top tier eventually, but right now walks are an issue. I wouldn’t overdraft him quite yet. The 7.8% career walk rate is a bit worrisome.

12) Hector Rondon (CP)
13) Shawn Tolleson (CP)
14) Francisco Rodriguez (CP)
15) Jonathan Papelbon (CP)
16) Drew Storen (CP)
17) A.J. Ramos (CP)
18) Andrew Miller (CP*)
19) Dellin Betances

At this point, role safety becomes a deciding factor in the rankings. Most of the teams in this tier have an immediate replacement if the current closer struggles. I don’t expect these guys to lose their job, but if they struggle, there is someone waiting in the wings. Andrew Miller will be the closer for 30 games. He might only log 6-7 saves in that time, but he provided elite rate stats and is worth a pick regardless. The same can be said for Betances. Betances throws a lot of innings for an RP and generates a lot of Ks. He had gotten 130+ strikeouts the last two years and that should continue. Even if he’s third on the pecking order come May, he’s still an asset.

20) Will Smith
21) Jake McGee (CP)
22) Glen Perkins (CP)
23) Roberto Osuna
24) Huston Street (CP)

Will Smith is ultimately who I think logs the most saves for the Brewers this year, which is why he’s ranked so highly. Plain and simple, I think Will Smith is the better pitcher. Smith is filthy with a K rate above 30% ever since he became a full time relief pitcher. He does have a walk problem though: 8.8% for his career. Over his career, he has a slight platoon split but in 2015, he held RHB to a slash line of .193/.264/.281. I could see Smith taking the job in April if he doesn’t win it out of camp. Once he gets a hold of it, I don’t think he’ll relinquish the closer role. Osuna is another interesting case. After what he did last year, it’s amazing that he wasn’t given the job. It seems like Drew Storen has the role for now, but Osuna will be waiting in the wings at the first sign of a crack.

25) Santiago Casilla (CP)
26) Alex Colome (CP*)
27) Sergio Romo
28) Sean Doolittle (CP)
29) Jason Grilli (CP)
30) Brad Ziegler (CP)

We end with a group who might not hold their jobs very long. I covered Romo previously and I think he has the CP job at the first sign of struggle for Casilla. I really like Alex Colome in the CP role, but it’s not guaranteed that he wins the job over Farquhar and I think Boxberger gets the job back when he’s healthy. Colome is a great flyer for early saves, but you’ll need a plan B for when he loses the job in two months. Sean Doolittle would be ranked much higher if I trusted that he was healthy. Shoulder injuries are a big deal for pitchers. Doolittle appears to be healthy, but until he proves it I have a hard time trusting him in the role. Grilli has been good when healthy, but he’s getting up there in years and the Braves have Vizcaino who might already be the better pitcher. I’m not sure what the Diamondbacks are doing these days, but they have Tyler Clippard and Daniel Hudson in the setup role. Brad Ziegler has always defied peripherals but I would be shocked if he keeps the closer role the entire year with two better relief pitchers already on the roster.

Intriguing Non-Ranked Guys: Non Closers
– Joaquin Benoit, Sea
– Drew Pomeranz, SD
– Arodys Vizcaino, Atl
– Keone Kela, Tex
– Hunter Strickland, SF
– Pedro Strop, CHC
– Jumbo Diaz, Cin

This group is ranked in order for the RPs I would speculate on. I think there’s a great chance that the first three all save 20+ games this year. They might take over the closer role quickly. I’m not as sold on the last four getting more than double digit saves, but it’s definitely the next group I would speculate on. In holds leagues, I would target all seven of these guys.

Intriguing Non-Ranked Guys: Closers
– Jeremy Jeffress, Mil
– J.J. Hoover, Cin
– Steve Cishek, Sea
– Fernando Rodney, SD
– Andrew Bailey, Phi

Finally the group of closers who are projected to have the role, but I think it’s more likely than not that they lose the role. I wouldn’t trust any of these guys to hold down the role the entire season. In a standard league, they deserve to be drafted since anyone who gets saves provides value, but you need to be diligent on the waiver wire should they be replaced.

Rankings Info

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