Closer Rankings: Uehara pushes toward top, Doolittle makes big jump

Thursday June 26th, 2014

Craig Kimbrel has been the mark against which other closers have been measured this season, and Koji Uehara is giving the Braves' thrower a run for his money. In 12 appearances for the Red Sox in June, Uehara has gone 2-0 with five saves in six opportunities, a 2.08 ERA, 0.62 WHIP and 12 K's in 13 innings. While he's has fewer chances to rack up saves in Boston (17 to Kimbrel's 26), Uehara's numbers compare favorably to our top closer.

Also on the rise is Oakland's Sean Doolittle, who has been a mark of consistency over the past two months, not giving up a run since imploding in Houston on April 26. Since then, he's tossed 23 unblemished appearances, notching 40 strikeouts compared to just five hits and a single walk. In that stretch, he's lowered his ERA from 6.17 to 1.95 and his WHIP 0.63 points to just 0.57 on the season. 

Sergio Romo's rough time in San Francisco has seen him drop seven spots to 17th, giving Jean Machi, up 14 spots to 36th, some relevancy if he can start to steal opportunities from the incumbent reliever. 

1
1Craig Kimbrel
Atlanta Braves
2
2Koji Uehara
Boston Red Sox

Uehara's ERA is 1.26, his WHIP is 0.76, and he has 45 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. Splitting hairs between Uehara and Kimbrel.

3
3Aroldis Chapman
Cincinnati Reds
4
4Greg Holland
Kansas City Royals

Holland's ERA is 1.88, his WHIP is 1.12 and he has 42 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. It's clear there's a dip after the top four closers.

5
5Kenley Jansen
Los Angeles Dodgers
6
6Sean Doolittle
Oakland Athletics

The last time Doolittle allowed an earned run, the NBA and NHL playoffs were still in the first round.

7
7Huston Street
San Diego Padres
8
8Glen Perkins
Minnesota Twins

Perkins has allowed three earned runs in his last two appearances, though he surrendered just one run in his 11 previous times out.

9
9Joakim Soria
Texas Rangers
10
10Steve Cishek
Miami Marlins
11
11Francisco Rodriguez
Milwaukee Brewers

Rodriguez has slowed down a bit from his ridiculous April, but he remains in firm control of the Brewers' ninth-inning duties.

12
12Rafael Soriano
Washington Nationals
13
13David Robertson
New York Yankees
14
14Casey Janssen
Toronto Blue Jays
15
15Trevor Rosenthal
St. Louis Cardinals

Rosenthal is still walking a ton of batters (20 in 36 innings), but so long as he keeps notching saves and missing bats, he's pleasing his fantasy owners.

16
16Fernando Rodney
Seattle Mariners

Rodney has discovered the control fairly recently, issuing just two free passes in his last 11 appearances.

17
17Sergio Romo
San Francisco Giants

Romo has put up two scoreless innings after allowing seven runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Rockies.

18
18Jonathan Papelbon
Philadelphia Phillies
19
19Zach Britton
Baltimore Orioles

The strikeouts aren't coming, but Britton has a 1.64 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 38 1/3 innings. It's OK to believe.

20
20Addison Reed
Arizona Diamondbacks
21
21Chad Qualls
Houston Astros

Qualls remains a prime trade candidate, which would likely rob him of most his fantasy value. Now would be a good time to try to sell him.

22
22Hector Rondon
Chicago Cubs

Rondon has allowed one hit and one walk with five strikeouts in two innings since coming back from elbow soreness.

23
23Cody Allen
Cleveland Indians
24
24LaTroy Hawkins
Colorado Rockies
25
25Joe Nathan
Detroit Tigers
26
26Ernesto Frieri
Los Angeles Angels
27
27Jenrry Mejia
New York Mets

Mejia has been up and down since moving into the closer's role, but he seems to have a solid grip on the job for now.

28
28Ronald Belisario
Chicago White Sox

He's still the closer, but Belisario has Daniel Webb looming over his shoulder.

29
29Jake McGee
Tampa Bay Rays

McGee has been the best pitcher in the Rays' bullpen, and that makes him the favorite in this mess of a ninth-inning situation.

30
30Juan Carlos Oviedo
Tampa Bay Rays

Oviedo picked up his first save of the season a week ago, though he allowed a solo homer. He has the most experience as a closer among the members of Tampa Bay's committee.

31
31Joel Peralta
Tampa Bay Rays
32
32Brad Ziegler
Arizona Diamondbacks

Ziegler has been mostly good this year, but the only reason he ranks this high is because of Addison Reed's struggles. Kirk Gibson does not yet seem willing to make a change.

33
33Mark Melancon
Pittsburgh Pirates
34
34Joaquin Benoit
San Diego Padres

 

35
35Daniel Webb
Chicago White Sox
36
36Jean Machi
San Francisco

With Sergio Romo's recent struggles, Machi could be in line to pick up some saves in the not-too-distant future. He has a 0.29 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 31 1/3 innings this year.

37
37Joba Chamberlain
Detroit Tigers
38
38Drew Storen
Washington Nationals
39
39Joe Smith
Los Angeles Angels
40
40Darren O'Day
Baltimore Orioles
41
41Wade Davis
Kansas City Royals
42
42Danny Farquhar
Seattle Mariners
43
43Bryan Shaw
Cleveland Indians
44
44Junichi Tazawa
Boston Red Sox
45
45John Axford
Cleveland Indians
46
46Tyler Clippard
Washington Nationals
47
47Neil Ramirez
Chicago Cubs
48
48Grant Balfour
Tampa Bay Rays
49
49Adam Ottavino
Colorado Rockies
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