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The closer situation is ever-changing and frustrates us all but relief pitchers can be very advantageous if deployed properly.

One thing is for sure, not all closers are created equally and their differences are stark. There are a multitude of theories but all are dependent to league format, size and scoring.

First and foremost, the act of accumulating saves does not make you an elite closer, Fernando Rodney is exhibit one.

Over the past few seasons Chapman and Kimbrel have reigned supreme. These two have set the standard and separated themselves from the field with their ratios.

Here are some words to live by when chasing closers or constructing your bullpen in the pursuit of saves ” Let’s talk about something important. Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee’s for closers only.” – Glengarry Glen Ross

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The exploration for dominance when surveying the relief pitching landscape is heightened by certain criteria or skill sets.

I am of the belief that strikeout percentage should be sought out.

Below is a simplistic stat line, but an effective one in my opinion.

Relief Pitchers Ranked by Strikeout Percentage

David Robertson: Chicago White Sox

Mister Robertson is not the reason the White Sox have stumbled out of the gate.

2-0  5 SV  0 BS  11.0 IP  41 TBF  6 H  0 R  0 ER  0 HR  1 BB  19 K  46.3 K%

Aroldis Chapman: Cincinnati Reds

The Cuban missile was number one on my board and if not this years consensus choice then next behind Craig Kimbrel.

1-0  6 SV  0 BS  12.2 IP  51 TBF  6 H  0 R  0 ER  0 HR  6BB  22 K  43.1 K%

Andrew Miller: New York Yankees

It’s finally Miller time, the former 6th pick overall of the 2006 amateur draft and ballyhooed prospect found his calling in the bullpen, thank you Bobby Valentine.

0-0  11 SV  0 BS  13.0 IP  54 TBF  3 H  0 R  0 ER  0 HR  7 BB  23 K  42.6 K%

Koji Uehara: Boston Red Sox

Can Koji hold up and survive the rigors of an entire season? His arsenal is not in question, but his durability is now a huge factor.

2-1  5 SV  1 BS   7.1 IP  26 TBF  5 H  2 R  2 ER  1 HR  0 BB  11 K  42.3 K%

Yimi Garcia: Los Angeles Dodgers

An exciting arm to own.

2-0  1 SV  1 BS  13.2 IP  50 TBF  4 H  1 R  1 ER  0 HR  4 BB  21 K  42.0 K%

Dellin Betances: New York Yankees

Betances blew away the competition in 2014 and it was assumed with Robertson’s departure he was the heir apparent in the Bronx.

3-0  1 SV  1 BS  15.1  IP  62 TBF  8 H  2 R  0 ER  0 HR  8 BB  26 K  41.9 K%

Sergio Romo: San Francisco Giants

Sergio has always owned the skills but stumbled last year and Santiago Casilla capitalized recapturing the closers role.

0-1  0 SV  0 BS  9.0 IP  37 TBF  6 H  4 R  3 ER  0 HR  3 BB  15 K  40.5 K%

Aaron Barrett: Washington Nationals

The Drew Storen Handcuff to own and more.

2-0  0 SV  0 BS  12.1 IP  47 TBF  8 H  2 R  2 ER  0 HR  2 BB  19 K  40.4 K%

Jason Grilli: Atlanta Braves

Grilled cheese ascended to the closers role in Atlanta when Kimbrel was dealt to San Diego.

0-1  9 SV  1 BS  10.0 IP  42 TBF  8 H  5 R  5 ER  1 HR  4 BB  16 K  38.1 K%

Brad Boxberger: Tampa Bay Rays

Jake McGee was supposed to be closing out games this year Tampa but offseason elbow surgery opened the door and Boxberger kicked it down and I don’t see him relinquishing it.

2-1  7 SV  0 BS  11.1 IP  45 TBF  6 H  2 R  2 ER  0 HR  6 BB  17 K  37.8 K%

Jeurys Familia: New York Mets

Mejia’s suspension gave Jeurys the opportunity and he’s taken full advantage of it.

0-0  11 SV  0 BS  15.0 IP  53 TBF  6 H  3 R  3 ER  2 HR  3 BB  19 K  35.9 K%

Zach Brittton: Baltimore Orioles

The ground ball machine has added the strikeout to his game.

0-0  5 SV  1 BS  10.2 IP  42 TBF  7 H  2 R  2 ER  0 HR  3 BB  15 K  35.7K%

Craig Kimbrel: San Diego Padres

The gold standard of closers since 2011, Kimbrel racked up 185 saves over the past four seasons. Atlanta’s decision to punt this season paved the way for his trade to Padres.

0-1  8 SV  0 BS  10.2 IP  44 TBF  10 H  6 R  6 ER  2 BB  4 HR  14 K  31.8 K%

 

 

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Matthew Modica

Writer at CTMBaseball.com
Matt Modica enjoyed a decade-long career on Wall St. and then embarked on a second career in film production, while living in Los Angeles and Hawaii. Matt is currently the author of the 2015 Starting Pitching Index at CTMbaseball.com and he's a high stakes Fantasy enthusiast.
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