Here’s the 2013 LestersLegends Closer Rankings for NL-Only Leagues.
1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Craig Kimbrel is ridiculous. In 2011, he recorded 46 saves with a 2.10 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 127 strikeouts. His saves (42) and strikeouts (116) dipped, but his ERA (1.01) and WHIP (0.65) were off-the-charts good. He’s the best closer in baseball—period.
2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman could be the filthiest pitcher in baseball, and he’s certainly in the discussion. He picked up 38 saves and 122 strikeouts while posting a 1.51 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He has officially been named closer.
3. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Motte nailed down 42 saves and struck out 86 batters. His 2.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP put him right up with Kimbrel and Chapman. He’s the best of tier two in my book.
4. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
Jonathan Papelbon got back on track last year with 38 saves, 92 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
5. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
Sergio Romo recorded 14 saves with 63 strikeouts, a 1.79 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He was nearly untouchable during the postseason with a 0.84 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP.
6. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
The Nationals have great young pitching so the save opportunities should be there for Rafael Soriano. He had 42 saves, 69 strikeouts, a 2.26 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
7. J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks
J.J. Putz has 77 saves over the past two seasons while sporting a 2.48 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He’s a little bit of a slow starter, as evidenced by his 3.73 ERA first-half ERA over the past two years. He’s been untouchable after the break, posting a 0.91 mark.
8. Huston Street, San Diego Padres
Huston Street can flat out get the job done. He has a career 1.04 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9 ratio. He was great for San Diego last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. So why isn’t he a top-five closer? The simple answer is durability. He seems to get hurt every year.
9. John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers
John Axford has 81 saves over the past two seasons, but he struggled with his control last year, leading to a 4.67 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He averages 11.39 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) to offset some of the damage he does to your WHIP category.
10. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jason Grilli only has five career saves and he’s 36, but he had 90 strikeouts in 58.2 innings last year. Plus, he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
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