- Wade Davis (Auction $17): Davis has been flat-out dominant for years now. With the Greg Holland injury last season, he got his first chance at a closer job and he took full advantage of the opportunity. he doesn't have quite the elite K/9 as a few others, but his ERA/WHIP upside makes up for it.
- Kenley Jansen (Auction $17): He's #1a right there with Davis. His difference is a better K/9 upside but not quite as elite in ERA and WHIP.
- Craig Kimbrel (Auction $16): Kimbrel is #1b in this group of three. Even better K/9 than Jansen and on a new team that should have more save opportunities than the Braves.
I'd be absolutely happy with any of these three and feel these are probably the only three that are absolute locks for excellent return on investment at the closer position. It’s a small top tier, but if possible, I want one of them on all of my teams.
- Mark Melancon (Auction $14): Melancon has been solid for years. He's been the Pirates closer for the last 2 seasons and has been more than effective. He's on a good team that should win a lot of games and give him a lot of save chances again this year.
- Jeurys Familia (Auction $13): Familia got his first chance at closing last year and took the Mets all the way to the World Series. He really doesn't have anyone that would take the job away from him unless he implodes and should have good enough K/9, ERA, and WHIP to contribute across the board.
- Hector Rondon (Auction $13): I know I'm higher on Rondon than most, but he has been better over the last 2 years than he gets credit for. Cubs might win 100 games this year and he should have tons of save chances. As long as he starts the year off right, the job should be his all year. My only concern is Madden's history of short leashes with closers.
- Zach Britton (Auction $12): Britton is an elite ground ball pitcher and has posted a sub 2.00 ERA back to back seasons while closing for the O's. He has job security and good K/9.
- David Robertson (Auction $11): Robertson has closed for 2 years now, and while he has some of the best strikeout ratios in the game, he simply blows more saves than I would like to see. His ERA is sub-par compared to other established closers. If he ever does right the ship, he has the potential to be in the top tier.
- Cody Allen (Auction $11): Allen is similar to Robertson; amazing stuff, but gives up more runs than I would like to see. He's a bit younger and is still new in his role as a closer. He has a level of upside that I don't think we've seen yet and he may prove to be a value this year.
- Trevor Rosenthal (Auction $10): Rosenthal is an odd case. He has 93 saves over the last 2 seasons; more than any other player in the game, but a WHIP that will make your head spin. How he's able to allow so many base runners but convert so many saves is tough to grasp. Still he has a great hold on the job and should save a lot of games.
- Aroldis Chapman (Auction $10): Chapman's value has obviously dropped because of the suspension; however that's not my only concern with him. He's still great, but check out my write up on him here for his other risk factors.
- Ken Giles (Auction $10): Giles is young, raw and doesn't have a ton of experience in the majors, but his stiff is legit. The Astros made a move to get him because they feel he's going to be their guy in the 9th. We're yet to see if he has the makeup to be a closer, but the skills are absolutely there.
Tier 2 has a lot more options than my top tier. In a perfect draft I would like to have 2 of these top 12 closers. They have best combination of skill-sets, and job security. The closer role is a volatile job, but these top 2 tiers are the least risky for me.
- A.J. Ramos (Auction $9)
- Jonathan Papelbon (Auction $9)
- Shawn Tolleson (Auction $8)
- Francisco Rodriguez (Auction $8)
- Huston Street (Auction $7)
- Andrew Miller (Auction $7)
- Dellin Betances (Auction $7)
- Santiago Casilla (Auction $6)
- Bradley Boxberger (Auction $6)
The above grouping is my third tier. Some of these guys have a good hold on the job but not necessarily the elite peripherals, while others have excellent stuff but aren't necessarily closers. Regardless, their overall projected performance warrants enough value for a mid-late round pick.
- Darren O'Day (Auction $5)
- Will Smith (Auction $5)
- Arodys Vizcaino (Auction $4)
- Jake McGee (Auction $4)
- Brad Ziegler (Auction $4)
- Luke Gregerson (Auction $4)
- Sean Doolittle (Auction $4)
- Tony Watson (Auction $4)
- Joaquin Benoit (Auction $4)
- Drew Storen (Auction $3)
- Glen Perkins (Auction $3)
- Carson Smith (Auction $3)
- Steve Cishek (Auction $2)
- Kevin Jepsen (Auction $2)
- Koji Uehara (Auction $2)
- Kevin Quackenbush (Auction $1)
- Jason Motte (Auction $1)
- David Hernandez (Auction $1)
- Jason Grilli (Auction $1)
You can see I have quite a large final tier. Most of these guys have a lot of question marks. Some may have the job, but not a tight grip on it, while others are hoping to get a chance to close for their teams. I'm certain a few guys from this tier will break out and be very solid closers in 2016, the tough part is figuring out who those breakouts will be.
Check out all of my positional breakdowns:
First Base: here
Second Base: here
Third Base: here
Designated Hitter here
Starting Pitching: here
Relief Pitching: here