MLB Position-by-Position Player Power Rankings, August Edition
Position-by-position MLB power rankings will once again be a staple this year, and now that we're in the month of August, it's time for another update.
What follows is a look at the best players at each position based on their performance this season. Past reputation and future projections mean nothing here; it's all about what these guys have done in 2014.
I have taken into account players' all-around offensive abilities, their defensive contributions and what they have meant to the success of their respective teams.
Included in my statistics is each player's Baseball-Reference wins above replacement or WAR. While WAR is a useful stat in gauging a player's value, it is not the be-all, end-all stat that some view it as. As such, do not expect this to simply be a list of the top 10 in WAR at each position.
With that said, here is a look at the best players each position has to offer here in August. Following a number of requests in the past few rankings, this time around there is a separate list for each of the three outfield positions, instead of just one bulk outfield slide.
Top 10 Catchers
|1. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL||.304||.859||35||12||53||54||4.6||1|
|2. Devin Mesoraco, CIN||.298||.944||17||18||54||37||3.5||2|
|3. Yan Gomes, CLE||.283||.800||19||15||48||48||3.3||6|
|4. Salvador Perez, KC||.272||.722||18||12||41||43||3.3||4|
|5. Russell Martin, PIT||.281||.792||9||5||41||29||3.3||NR|
|6. Evan Gattis, ATL||.280||.869||13||17||43||31||2.1||5|
|7. Derek Norris, OAK||.296||.860||14||9||41||32||2.7||3|
|8. Buster Posey, SF||.287||.796||19||13||57||43||2.6||7|
|9. Kurt Suzuki, MIN||.308||.764||21||2||46||28||2.4||9|
|10. Yadier Molina, STL||.287||.751||16||7||30||30||2.2||10|
Jonathan Lucroy has undoubtedly been the best catcher in the game this season, and as he continues to put up terrific numbers, he has emerged as a legitimate NL MVP candidate here with two months to go. He's been as important to the success of his team as anyone, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue to build his candidacy.
Devin Mesoraco is also enjoying a breakout season, as he was finally handed the starting catcher job following the offseason trade of Ryan Hanigan. His offensive numbers are phenomenal, and they're even better when you consider he missed 22 games early on to injury.
Yan Gomes shoots up the list this time around. He has hit .393/.424/.679 with 10 extra-base hits since the All-Star break while continuing to be one of the game's best defensive backstops. Buster Posey has also been hot since the All-Star break, hitting .349/.446/.556 with seven extra-base hits.
Salvador Perez and Russell Martin are both elite defensive options who have provided plenty on the offensive side of things this season as well. Evan Gattis has done a fantastic job replacing Brian McCann this season, and he's putting up some of the best offensive numbers of any backstop.
Kurt Suzuki signed a one-year, $2.75 million with the Minnesota Twins last offseason and turned it into a two-year, $16 million extension with a third-year option at the end of July. Injured St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina rounds out the group, and the team is still hoping he'll return strong for the stretch run.
Top 10 First Basemen
|1. Jose Abreu, CWS||.307||.991||28||31||86||58||3.9||5|
|2. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI||.300||.938||39||19||69||75||4.4||1|
|3. Miguel Cabrera, DET||.312||.899||36||17||83||68||3.1||3|
|4. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR||.277||.959||21||26||70||57||3.1||2|
|5. Anthony Rizzo, CHC||.286||.906||17||25||60||74||3.6||4|
|6. Matt Adams, STL||.315||.843||25||12||47||38||2.9||7|
|7. Lucas Duda, NYM||.261||.866||22||20||61||49||2.9||NR|
|8. Freddie Freeman, ATL||.282||.841||29||15||60||70||1.9||8|
|9. Brandon Moss, OAK||.251||.819||17||23||72||51||2.7||6|
|10. Albert Pujols, LAA||.275||.793||26||20||68||63||2.4||NR|
Slugger Jose Abreu has been putting up fantastic power numbers all year, and he's actually gotten better as the year has gone on, improving his batting average and plate discipline. He's a shoo-in for AL Rookie of the Year at this point and a legitimate AL MVP candidate.
Paul Goldschmidt (fractured hand) and Edwin Encarnacion (strained quad) are both currently on the disabled list, but they have put up fantastic seasons nonetheless and are right alongside Abreu and reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera as the elite options at the position.
Anthony Rizzo heads the second tier of first basemen, and he is enjoying a breakout season for the Chicago Cubs after taking a step back last year (.233 BA, .742 OPS). Matt Adams is also thriving in his first season as an everyday player, and his emergence no doubt helped the team pull the trigger on moving Allen Craig.
Lucas Duda is a new addition to these rankings, thanks to a 1.047 OPS with six home runs and 12 RBI since the All-Star break. He has a terrific .358 OBP on the year and has already set career highs in doubles, home runs and RBI.
Freddie Freeman remains the most consistent bat in the Atlanta Braves lineup, Brandon Moss continues to fly under the radar as one of the better run producers in the American League, and Albert Pujols is making a strong case for AL Comeback Player of the Year.
Top 10 Second Basemen
|1. Robinson Cano, SEA||.330||.852||25||8||62||53||4.2||3|
|2. Jose Altuve, HOU||.339||.821||32||4||33||60||3.8||2|
|3. Ian Kinsler, DET||.291||.761||30||11||59||70||3.6||1|
|4. Dustin Pedroia, BOS||.281||.726||29||5||42||56||3.8||8|
|5. Chase Utley, PHI||.280||.766||26||9||56||55||3.0||4|
|6. Brian Dozier, MIN||.240||.758||19||19||49||77||3.0||5|
|7. Dee Gordon, LAD||.293||.737||17||2||26||61||2.6||7|
|8. Daniel Murphy, NYM||.296||.770||31||9||45||65||1.9||6|
|9. Neil Walker, PIT||.280||.808||15||16||50||51||1.6||NR|
|10. Scooter Gennett, MIL||.305||.819||23||8||37||42||1.7||9|
The home run numbers are down for Robinson Cano; his chances of topping 20 home runs for a sixth straight season are in jeopardy thanks to a career-low 5.0 HR/FB rate. However, he is still putting together a terrific all-around season and is very much in the running for the AL batting title.
Jose Altuve is a close second here, as he leads the AL in batting average, hits (155) and stolen bases (43), establishing himself as the face of the Houston Astros franchise and a cornerstone piece of their full-scale rebuilding process.
The veteran trio of Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley make up the second tier of guys at the position this year, and they remain consistent producers at the plate and plus defensive options in the field. Daniel Murphy and Neil Walker have also turned into two of the better bats at the position this year.
Brian Dozier quietly had a very good season in 2013 (.726 OPS, 18 HR, 14 SB, 3.8 WAR), and he has built off of that this season. He's never going to challenge for a batting title, but he has a great mix of power and speed.
Dee Gordon is an NL Comeback Player of the Year candidate and leads the NL with 10 triples and 51 steals, while Scooter Gennett would be an NL Rookie of the Year front-runner if he hadn't seen 213 at-bats last year.
Top 10 Third Basemen
|1. Josh Donaldson, OAK||.243||.786||17||23||78||73||5.2||1|
|2. Adrian Beltre, TEX||.323||.877||22||15||59||57||4.2||2|
|3. Kyle Seager, SEA||.275||.815||25||16||67||42||4.6||4|
|4. Anthony Rendon, WAS||.280||.804||29||14||62||78||4.0||5|
|5. Todd Frazier, CIN||.279||.800||17||20||58||61||3.5||3|
|6. Pablo Sandoval, SF||.280||.757||20||12||49||48||3.8||10|
|7. Matt Carpenter, STL||.284||.774||24||6||42||69||3.1||8|
|8. Nolan Arenado, COL||.293||.785||25||9||40||39||2.6||NR|
|9. Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE||.306||.851||22||11||46||47||1.7||6|
|10. Casey McGehee, MIA||.302||.747||22||2||59||40||1.3||7|
To say the AL West is loaded at third base would be an understatement, as the three best in the game this season all come from that division. Josh Donaldson gets the nod for the top spot, as he not only leads the position in home runs and RBI, but he is also by far the best defensive third baseman in the game this year, with a 17.6 UZR/150 and 17 defensive runs saved (per FanGraphs).
Adrian Beltre is a close second. He continues to build a convincing Hall of Fame case late in his career. Kyle Seager checks in at third, as he is enjoying a breakout season and finally getting some much-deserved recognition after putting up plus numbers on some bad Seattle Mariners teams the past two seasons.
Anthony Rendon has shuffled between second and third base this season, but a hamstring strain to Ryan Zimmerman has him back on the hot corner. He has the bat to play either position and the glove to be a Gold Glove winner at third base. The 2014 season constitutes a breakout for him, but he may just be getting started.
Todd Frazier has fallen off since the All-Star break (.221/.250/.265), so he drops a few spots, while Pablo Sandoval has caught fire in the second half (.319/.347/.435) and now lands just outside the top five.
Matt Carpenter continues to be an on-base machine atop the Cardinals lineup, Nolan Arenado is back healthy and trying to salvage what was a breakout season, and out-of-nowhere contributors Lonnie Chisenhall (.221/.308/.327 since June 1) and Casey McGehee round out the top 10.
Top 10 Shortstops
|1. Troy Tulowitzki, COL||.340||1.035||18||21||52||71||5.6||1|
|2. Jhonny Peralta, STL||.253||.772||26||15||45||39||3.9||4|
|3. Hanley Ramirez, LAD||.273||.819||26||12||56||50||2.4||2|
|4. Alexei Ramirez, CWS||.288||.742||20||11||56||58||2.9||8|
|5. Starlin Castro, CHC||.277||.751||29||11||59||48||1.1||3|
|6. Jimmy Rollins, PHI||.243||.725||18||15||49||57||3.0||NR|
|7. Ian Desmond, WAS||.246||.720||18||17||66||42||1.3||7|
|8. Erick Aybar, LAA||.274||.699||23||6||52||53||3.0||5|
|9. Andrelton Simmons, ATL||.249||.639||13||5||36||36||2.0||NR|
|10. Zack Cozart, CIN||.219||.552||15||2||23||33||2.0||NR|
Are the home/road splits for Troy Tulowitzki drastic? Absolutely. He's hitting .417/.497/.748 with 14 home runs at home and .257/.364/.447 with seven home runs away from Coors Field. He's still the best all-around shortstop in baseball this season by a sizable margin, though.
Jhonny Peralta was signed for his bat, and while he has put up solid offensive numbers, he also ranks second at the position with 14 defensive runs saved and has a terrific 14.8 UZR/150 (per FanGraphs). That UZR/150 is actually better than that of defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons.
Hanley Ramirez remains one of the better offensive options at the position, even in a down year, while Starlin Castro and Ian Desmond also earn a place here thanks to their bats.
Alexei Ramirez has turned into the veteran leader of a young Chicago White Sox team, and he was a very deserving first-time All-Star this season. Erick Aybar was also a first-timer at the Midsummer Classic, and his contributions as a secondary piece in a good Los Angeles Angels lineup have been a big plus.
The position has been fairly weak as a whole this year, and it is undoubtedly the most important defensive position on the field. As a result, a pair of top-flight defenders in Simmons (14 DRS, 13.1 UZR/150) and Zack Cozart (19 DRS, 18.2 UZR/150) round out the list, despite minimal offensive contributions.
Top 10 Left Fielders
|1. Michael Brantley, CLE||.324||.898||29||16||71||74||4.8||5|
|2. Brett Gardner, NYY||.286||.831||16||15||50||71||4.4||NR|
|3. Alex Gordon, KC||.273||.767||28||9||47||52||4.0||8|
|4. J.D. Martinez, DET||.318||.955||18||15||48||34||2.5||14|
|5. Justin Upton, ATL||.284||.855||26||19||63||55||2.3||13|
|6. Seth Smith, SD||.289||.878||22||11||32||43||3.6||11|
|7. Corey Dickerson, COL||.311||.923||18||13||40||44||2.0||15|
|8. Melky Cabrera, TOR||.309||.834||28||14||59||70||2.1||NR|
|9. Yoenis Cespedes, BOS||.254||.760||26||17||67||64||2.9||NR|
|10. Christian Yelich, MIA||.272||.764||15||8||37||61||2.6||NR|
The four-year, $25 million extension the Cleveland Indians gave Michael Brantley in the offseason is looking better and better, as he has been one of the breakout stars of 2014.
"He is better than his stats, which is a big compliment," Indians manager Terry Francona told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "He's a very good base-runner, a very good outfielder, a very good teammate, a very good leader. He's kind of what you're looking for in a player if you have a model."
Brett Gardner claims the second spot, as he has added some terrific power numbers this season to go along with his base-stealing (18 SB) and plus defense in left field. As far as defense at the position is concerned, though, no one tops Alex Gordon at this point.
J.D. Martinez has been a revelation for the Tigers after being released by the Astros back in March, Corey Dickerson has thrived with an expanded role, and Seth Smith has been the lone plus contributor in a terrible Padres offense.
Justin Upton is having his best season since 2011, while Melky Cabrera has bounced back in a big way after a terrible first season in Toronto. Yoenis Cespedes makes the list as much for his run production skills as he does for his rocket of an arm, while Christian Yelich is a budding star for the Marlins and also earns points for his plus glove.
Top 10 Center Fielders
|1. Mike Trout, LAA||.303||.977||32||25||81||77||6.2||1|
|2. Andrew McCutchen, PIT||.311||.947||32||17||67||64||5.2||2|
|3. Carlos Gomez, MIL||.291||.834||26||15||54||69||3.6||7|
|4. Adam Jones, BAL||.284||.787||21||21||69||63||2.7||10|
|5. Adam Eaton, CWS||.309||.783||19||1||32||55||4.0||NR|
|6. Marcell Ozuna, MIA||.263||.753||16||16||57||51||2.9||NR|
|7. Lorenzo Cain, KC||.305||.758||20||3||37||33||3.2||NR|
|8. Juan Lagares, NYM||.283||.697||17||2||29||28||3.3||NR|
|9. Billy Hamilton, CIN||.272||.699||21||6||42||57||2.9||NR|
|10. Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY||.275||.741||22||9||50||52||2.1||NR|
Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen are in a tier by themselves at the top of the center field rankings, and they would still be No. 1 and No. 2 if this were a list of outfielders in general. With the Angels playing well, this may finally be the year Trout claims AL MVP honors. Meanwhile, McCutchen was making a strong case for defending his MVP trophy before suffering a fractured rib.
Carlos Gomez has quickly turned into one of the best all-around players in the game after looking like a bust early on in his career. Adam Jones may never top 40 walks in a season, but that's not his game, and he's plenty productive without a high OBP. Jacoby Ellsbury may not be worth $153 million, but he's having a solid all-around season.
White Sox newcomer Adam Eaton missed time early with a hamstring injury, but he's made up for lost time and is hitting an MLB-best .446 since the All-Star break. He's also been terrific with the glove, ranking sixth at the position with 10 DRS (per FanGraphs).
Marcell Ozuna earns a spot for a breakout offensive season at the age of 23, as well as a plus glove. He's followed closely by Gold Glove contenders in Lorenzo Cain and Juan Lagares, both of whom have put up solid offensive numbers as well this season.
Rookie Billy Hamilton rounds out the group, and while the concerns over his ability to consistently get on base have been legitimate (.299 OBP), there is no question he has game-changing speed on the bases (43 SB) and in the field (12 DRS, 24.4 UZR/150).
Top 10 Right Fielders
|1. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA||.290||.935||26||26||74||70||5.4||3|
|2. Yasiel Puig, LAD||.319||.949||30||13||55||62||4.1||6|
|3. Jose Bautista, TOR||.293||.926||21||21||64||69||4.3||4|
|4. Jason Heyward, ATL||.267||.748||18||9||43||56||5.4||NR|
|5. Hunter Pence, SF||.290||.822||25||15||49||79||3.6||9|
|6. Ryan Braun, MIL||.291||.852||24||14||65||53||2.2||12|
|7. Marlon Byrd, PHI||.272||.799||22||21||63||56||2.9||NR|
|8. Jayson Werth, WAS||.278||.796||26||12||62||62||1.8||NR|
|9. Kole Calhoun, LAA||.280||.807||18||11||32||57||2.7||NR|
|10. George Springer, HOU||.231||.804||8||20||51||45||1.8||NR|
It's a three-man race at the top in right field, and a strong case can be made for each of the trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig and Jose Bautista to be No. 1, but Stanton gets the nod because he leads the NL in home runs, RBI and total bases (228).
Puig was slumping heading into the All-Star break, but he's hitting .370/.453/.674 here in the second half, as he's again leading the offensive charge for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jose Bautista has managed to stay healthy this year after missing time in 2012 and 2013, and his production has returned to an elite level as a result.
Jason Heyward earns the No. 4 spot largely on the strength of his defense, as he is just head and shoulders better than any other right fielder with 29 DRS (Kevin Kiermaier is second with 10) and has a terrific 31.8 UZR/150 (per FanGraphs). If he could ever get his bat back to where it was as a rookie, he'd join the top tier of guys.
Consistent producers Hunter Pence, Ryan Braun and Jayson Werth continue to put up strong all-around offensive numbers, while Marlon Byrd has shown that his out-of-nowhere performance in 2013 was no fluke with another strong season.
A pair of youngsters round out the list, as Kole Calhoun has been one of the unsung heroes in a terrific Angels lineup and George Springer has flashed terrific power as a rookie, despite striking out a ton (114 K in 295 AB) and missing time with a quad injury.
Top 5 Designated Hitters
|1. Victor Martinez, DET||.322||.952||22||23||65||54||2.7||2|
|2. Nelson Cruz, BAL||.259||.842||19||29||75||61||2.4||1|
|3. David Ortiz, BOS||.252||.848||21||26||82||43||1.5||3|
|4. Adam Dunn, CWS||.225||.795||15||17||44||39||0.6||4|
|5. Chris Carter, HOU||.219||.775||18||22||53||44||0.9||NR|
Victor Martinez and Nelson Cruz were essentially 1 and 1a last time these rankings were put out, but while Martinez has continued to look like an MVP candidate and produce at a high level, Cruz has fallen off drastically since the All-Star break.
With a .109/.205/.188 line and just one home run here in the second half, a case can actually be made for Cruz being slotted No. 3 behind David Ortiz, but he still gets the benefit of the doubt for now after a fantastic first half.
The drop-off after Ortiz is a steep one, though Adam Dunn has managed to post a respectable .795 OPS, despite his dismal batting average and propensity to strike out.
In that respect, Chris Carter is a very similar player, albeit one with slightly better power numbers and worse plate discipline. That's still enough to earn him the No. 5 spot, though.
Right-Handed Starting Pitchers
Top 10 Right-Handed Starting Pitchers
|1. Felix Hernandez, SEA||11-3||2.01||0.889||.195||178||5.5||3|
|2. Johnny Cueto, CIN||12-6||2.05||0.916||.183||166||4.6||2|
|3. Adam Wainwright, STL||13-6||2.26||1.006||.213||127||4.3||1|
|4. Corey Kluber, CLE||12-6||2.55||1.080||.233||177||4.7||NR|
|5. Garrett Richards, LAA||12-4||2.58||1.024||.195||152||4.2||7|
|6. Sonny Gray, OAK||12-4||2.59||1.144||.220||128||3.0||NR|
|7. Jake Arrieta, CHC||6-2||2.11||0.990||.196||106||3.9||5|
|8. Zack Greinke, LAD||12-7||2.71||1.141||.246||158||3.4||8|
|9. Max Scherzer, DET||13-4||3.24||1.196||.243||171||4.5||NR|
|10. Yu Darvish, TEX||10-6||2.82||1.204||.234||175||4.1||10|
After ranking behind the NL duo of Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright in the past few rankings, Felix Hernandez finally claims the top spot here among right-handed starters. The 28-year-old is having his best season since he won AL Cy Young honors in 2010, and he may very well add another trophy to his collection here in 2014.
For what it's worth, Cueto and Wainwright are still having terrific seasons in their own right and are a close No. 2 and No. 3 to Hernandez heading into the final months of the season.
Previously unranked Corey Kluber jumps into the top five, as he's gone 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 34 innings here in the second half.
Kluber starts a run of budding stars enjoying breakout seasons, as he's followed by Garrett Richards, Sonny Gray and Jake Arrieta. Those four have not quite ascended to the level of the first three guys on this list, but they are well on their way.
Now that David Price is in Detroit, there's an interesting argument to be made over who is the better No. 2 starter between Zack Greinke or Max Scherzer. At the end of the day, both are really good and would be the ace of most teams. Speaking of aces, Yu Darvish is undoubtedly the ace of a horrible Rangers rotation, and he rounds out the list in the No. 10 spot.
Left-Handed Starting Pitchers
Top 10 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers
|1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD||13-2||1.71||0.824||.195||150||5.2||1|
|2. Chris Sale, CWS||10-1||2.09||0.897||.201||129||4.5||2|
|3. Scott Kazmir, OAK||12-4||2.53||1.057||.224||118||3.0||3|
|4. Cole Hamels, PHI||6-6||2.42||1.107||.225||139||4.4||8|
|5. Jon Lester, OAK||11-7||2.59||1.136||.243||152||2.9||4|
|6. David Price, DET||11-8||3.11||1.049||.238||189||2.8||5|
|7. Madison Bumgarner, SF||13-8||3.21||1.175||.249||153||2.0||9|
|8. Mark Buehrle, TOR||11-7||3.11||1.331||.276||82||3.6||7|
|9. Dallas Keuchel, HOU||10-7||2.97||1.225||.263||104||3.6||6|
|10. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD||12-5||3.39||1.219||.262||111||1.8||NR|
The fact that Clayton Kershaw has somehow found a way to pitch even better this season after winning three straight ERA titles and back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards is nothing short of ridiculous. The 26-year-old is 10-0 with a 1.16 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 93 innings since the beginning of June.
Not far behind Kershaw and well ahead of the rest of the left-handed starter field is White Sox ace Chris Sale, who is having a phenomenal season in his own right and looks like the biggest challenger to Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young honors at this point.
Scott Kazmir remains in the No. 3 spot for now, but the gap behind him has been closed by four of the best in the game. Cole Hamels has returned to elite form after missing time with a shoulder injury, and he slots just ahead of the two players who ruled headlines at the trade deadline in Jon Lester and David Price.
Madison Bumgarner rounds out that group of studs. While his numbers are not as impressive as they were a year ago, he is still one of the best young pitchers in the game.
Mark Buehrle continues to slide after a red-hot start, but his numbers this year are still impressive. Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu round out the group, just ahead of another White Sox southpaw in Jose Quintana.
Non-Closer Relievers (Less Than 10 Saves)
Top 10 Non-Closer Relievers
|1. Pat Neshek, STL||50||4-0||17||0.79||0.618||9.1||2.2||2|
|2. Wade Davis, KC||45||6-2||21||0.95||0.845||13.9||2.5||3|
|3. Dellin Betances, NYY||49||4-0||17||1.49||0.739||13.3||2.6||1|
|4. Tyler Clippard, WAS||50||6-2||25||1.72||1.064||11.7||1.2||NR|
|5. Darren O'Day, BAL||48||3-1||17||1.08||0.880||9.2||2.4||8|
|6. Tony Watson, PIT||53||8-1||25||1.52||1.050||9.5||1.9||4|
|7. Jonathan Broxton, CIN||42||4-0||18||1.12||0.825||7.2||1.8||5|
|8. Joaquin Benoit, SD||44||4-2||16||1.79||0.838||10.5||1.2||6|
|9. Kevin Jepsen, LAA||53||0-0||16||1.75||0.928||10.7||1.4||NR|
|10. Zach Duke, MIL||52||4-0||12||1.83||1.038||12.2||1.3||10|
While flame-throwing Dellin Betances may still have the more impressive stuff and Wade Davis has the better strikeout rate setting up All-World closer Greg Holland, it's Pat Neshek who has pitched his way into the top spot in these rankings.
Neshek and Betances both earned All-Star nods this year, as did Nationals setup man Tyler Clippard and Pirates southpaw Tony Watson.
Slotted between them is Darren O'Day, who, alongside Zach Britton and newly acquired Andrew Miller, has helped make the bullpen a legitimate strength for the Orioles in their pursuit of an AL East title.
Jonathan Broxton and Joaquin Benoit both have experience closing, and Benoit has recently returned to closing for the Padres after Huston Street was traded to the Angels.
Kevin Jepsen is a newcomer to the list as an important arm out of the aforementioned Angels bullpen, while Zach Duke rounds out the list thanks to a resurgent campaign as the primary setup man for Francisco Rodriguez in Milwaukee.
Top 10 Closers
|1. Huston Street, LAA||40||1-0||30/31||0.90||0.775||9.7||2.1||1|
|2. Greg Holland, KC||44||1-2||31/33||1.69||0.938||13.5||2.0||2|
|3. Koji Uehara, BOS||49||5-2||22/24||1.42||0.730||11.6||2.4||3|
|4. J. Papelbon, PHI||46||2-2||26/29||1.75||0.885||8.2||2.3||5|
|5. A. Chapman, CIN||35||0-3||25/27||2.04||0.792||17.6||1.3||7|
|6. Jake McGee, TB||54||3-0||12/13||1.44||0.820||11.7||2.2||NR|
|7. Zach Britton, BAL||51||3-2||23/26||1.59||0.882||7.8||2.0||6|
|8. Rafael Soriano, WAS||44||2-1||25/29||1.87||0.946||8.7||1.5||4|
|9. Craig Kimbrel, ATL||45||0-3||32/36||2.05||0.955||15.3||1.4||9|
|10. Sean Doolittle, OAK||48||1-3||16/19||2.54||0.644||12.7||1.0||10|
With an ERA under 1.00 and just one blown save on the season, Huston Street remains in the top spot of the closer rankings. His ability to lock down the ninth inning became significantly more important when he was traded to the Angels, as he now finds himself in a pennant chase after toiling in San Diego.
Closely behind Street is AL saves leader Greg Holland, who is on his way to a second straight season with 40-plus saves and an ERA under 2.00. If he is able to accomplish the feat, he'd become just the ninth player (subscription required) to reach those marks more than once in his career. Bonus points if you can name the other eight in the comment section without looking it up.
Koji Uehara and Jonathan Papelbon were both candidates to potentially be moved in July, but both wound up staying put. Uehara is a candidate to be re-signed by the Red Sox this offseason, while Papelbon may be the first big piece to go if the Phillies ever decide to rebuild.
Aroldis Chapman continues to put up video game strikeout totals with 69 punchouts in 35.1 innings of work, while Craig Kimbrel is not far behind with 75 in 44 innings on the year.
Jake McGee jumps up to the No. 6 spot after appearing on the non-closer relievers list last time around, joining Zach Britton and Sean Doolittle in making that jump this season. Rafael Soriano is just 3-for-5 on save chances with a 7.11 ERA since the All-Star break, but he had a good enough first half that he doesn't drop out of the rankings just yet.
*Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and cover games through Monday, August 4.
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