Closers are a unique breed.
They need to be ready to come into the most stressful games at the most stressful times. They only need to get three outs, but in these high leverage situations, a small mistake can cost their teams the game.
High levels of performance at this intensity require high levels of adrenaline, and that is kind of what brought about the idea for this slide show.
For each of the top five closers in the MLB right now, I am going to provide an entrance song that will not only get your pulse pumping, but the lyrics of the song will have something to do with that pitcher.
On the scale of relative importance, I would say that I more heavily weighted the applicability of the lyrics over the actual music itself.
Obviously, use the comments below to argue with my closer rankings, or more importantly, my taste in music.
Aroldis Chapman is intimidating. Any time a guy steps on the mound and can consistently hit triple digits, I have to imagine that opponents get a little bit nervous. Unfortunately, he isn’t always able to control that power which is why I chose this song (10 walks in 23 innings).
Nevertheless, he is a strikeout machine (39 so far), and is good at getting ground balls. When Chapman is able to find a little bit more control, his pitches will be nearly unhittable.
Addison Reed is only in his second complete professional season, and he was admittedly not that great last year. However, now that he has transitioned to the ninth inning, his ERA has dropped to 1.96, and opponents are struggling to hit .171 off of him.
I assume that we will see him representing the Chicago White Sox in the All-Star game later this year, and if he continues in the direction he’s going, it will definitely be the first of many.
After a long career as a moderately successful middle relief pitcher, Jason Grilli finally moved into the closer role this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For his debut performance, he is leading all of Major League Baseball with 20 saves in 20 opportunities so far. He struck out 34 opponents in just over 22 innings.
He has been the most consistent closer in baseball this year, so I figured that this song pretty much sums up that performance.
I know that this is only the first great season from Tom Wilhelmsen (although last season was definitely very good), but I wanted to give credit where credit is due. At the time of writing, he is carrying a 0.41 ERA and opponents are having a very hard time hitting the ball, which explains my song choice.
Opponents are only hitting .108 against him, and his WHIP is all the way down at 0.64. The interesting part is that he has only surrendered eight hits in 22 innings (he has allowed six walks). When he is on the mound, you’re probably not going to touch first base.
Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in baseball. I know that his numbers are a little bit higher than some of the others on this list, but when you look at him through a “body of work” perspective, there’s really no other pitcher in contention.
Although he already has a great entrance song (and I know that half of the comments on this article will probably ask me what on earth I was thinking about while changing that), it is hard to deny that he is the ultimate definition of a champion. Not only does he have five World Series rings, but he also has more saves than any other pitcher in MLB history (626 at the time of writing), and is quite frankly the best of all-time. I had to put him on top of this list.
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