Initial 2016 Closer Rankings & Projections

The start of the 2016 season is quickly upon us so it’s time to start talking about baseball again. Below you’ll find my top 32 closers. The rankings are based on NFBC style leagues with 12-teams.

Someone is going to have 48-50 saves. The thing is, I have no idea who it’s going to be. However, from my research the best predictor is pitchers who pitch on teams that earn a lot of wins. For example, there’s a reason why Mariano Rivera averaged 40 saves every full season he played.

When I made my projections I looked at two things: 1) how good will the team be? 2) how likely will he keep the job all year?

I projected Trevor Rosenthal to have the most saves. He’s more 45 and 48 saves the past two years respectively. He did rank as my top closer because hes a WHIP liability. My number one closer is Wade Davis. Davis has been one of the best relievers the past two seasons and he’s on a team that should have a lot of low scoring leads at the end of the game. If I were to bet who has the most saves at the end of the year it would be Davis.

With Jake McGee getting traded means Brad Boxberger will be the Rays closer. I loved Boxberger entering 2015 because he struck out 42 percent of batters. Last year that decreased 15 percentage points and the walk rate soared to almost 12 percent. McGee will get every chance to be the closer all year because there aren’t any other good options in the bullpen.

I know Mark Melancon had 50 saves last year, but I’m worried about his prospects this year. He no longer misses a lot of bats and relies on generating weak contact to get outs. The Pirates are among the leaders in baseball in defensive positioning, but that doesn’t mean he could struggle and possibly lose the closer role. The odds of him losing the role are low, but they’re not as low as the other relievers being drafted at his ADP.

I Would Not Be Shocked If He Finishes Year As Top 10 Closer:

I ranked three Brewers relievers as the possible closer. Will Smith is the best reliever, but since he’s left handed probably will not get the job. If he was able to throw 65-70 innings he could easily have 100 strikeouts. Just because the Brewers are not expected to be good, do not forget Francisco Rodriguez had 44 saves two seasons ago.

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