2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Closers

These 2014 Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings will be updated occasionally, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out WalterFootball.com’s 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2014 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

By Bill Williams

    For reference, closers are the least predictable position in the major leagues. For those who play fantasy football, they can lightly be compared to kickers. You would rather have a kicker on a good offense. In baseball, you�d like a closer on a good team. Managers, like in the NFL, can change closers on a whim or if they are struggling. I will not be providing projection because of this, but will give you an insight into the players’ abilities as I did with all other positions.

  1. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
    Chapman saved 38 games each of the last two seasons and struck out nearly half the men he faced. Chapman throws 100-plus miles per hout and combines it with a lethal slider. He is simply one of, if not, the best closer inthe game right now. The Reds look to be a playoff team, so he is a great choice to be the top closer in your league.

  2. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves Dynasty+
    Kimbrel is just ridiculous. There was a 5-month stretch last season where his ERA was 0.19. He strikes out close to two batters per inning. The Braves’ pitching staff has been hit with injuries, which is the only reason he is listed as No. 2 as he is easily the most talented closer.

  3. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
    Last year, Holland saved 47 games for the ROYALS. The team may be slightly worse this year so that number may decrease a bit. Holand was an elite set-up guy for a few seasons, but showed last year he can easily hold down the full-time closing job.

  4. Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox Dynasty-
    Uehara turns 39 this year, which typically would be a problem for a closer. However, he works more based on command and deception than from overpowering hitters. Many sites will knock him down a few spots not realizing this. The Red Sox are gonna win a bunch, so their closer is definitely a great value. Uehara has been consistent for years.

  5. Joe Nathan, Detroit Tigers Dynasty-
    Nathan has held batters to a .239 average over the past five seasons while striking out almost a third of them. Like Uehara, he turns 39 this season. However, Nathan moves into one of the most forgiving parks for pitchers on perhaps the American League�s best team, so saves should be aplenty.

  6. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
    Jansen is a little lower on my list only because the Dodgers brought in other relievers who can close games if he falters. Don Mattingly has shown he will switch closers (Jansen in fact didn’t take over the job until June last season). However, Jansen’s numbers are spectacular, and he should be able to hold onto the job with the Dodgers providing lots of save opportunities.

  7. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
    Soriano saved 40-plus games each of the last two seasons and many will rank him high. However, he has lost a couple ticks on his fastball and his second half of last season was not outstanding. The Nationals have some young arms ready in case he struggles, but 30-40 saves should be expected for one more year as he is not in a contract season.

  8. Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals Dynasty+
    Rosenthal reminds people of a young Trevor Hoffman, who was one of the best closers in baseball history. Rosenthal can flat-out light up the radar gun with his fastball. What seperates him though is an outstanding change-up that can make hitters look foolish if they sit on the fastball. The only concern is that he has not had a closer’s job for a full season.

  9. Grant Balfour, Tampa Bay Rays
    Balfour has proven in the last two seasons to be a solid closer. His lack of strikeouts won’t exactly endear him to your team, but realize the Rays play a lot of close games and give their closer ample chances to rack up the saves and vulture some wins while at it.

  10. Addison Reed, Arizona Diamondbacks
    Reed vastly improved as the season went on last year for the White Sox. A move to a winning team should help in terms of opportunities. He has a good strikeout rate, and the switch to the lighter-hitting National League should only help his numbers.

  11. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
    Romo started to slow down last season, his first as a full-time closer. His strikeout rate has falen dramaticaly each of the past few seasons. However, he continues to appear in a lot of games and injury isn’t an issue. Beware though that Romo has fallen in love with his slider and can be hit by lefties (though he is dominant against right-handed batters).

  12. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
    Grilli finished 30-for-31 in save opportunities last season for the Pirates. He had been a dominant setup man in 2012, and parlayed it into a great closer run in 2013. Grilli suffered an arm injury late in the season and was no where near as effective upon his return. If he can put the arm issues behind him, he will be a top-15 closer again this season.

  13. David Robertson, New York Yankees
    Robertson is the type of closer you love to own, but hate to watch. He should rack up a tremendous amount of save opportunities. However, Robertson puts a lot of men on base, which can lead to trouble. Luckily, throughout his career, it�s never hurt him. Can Robertson fill the shoes of one of the greatest closers of all time? Only time will tell.

  14. Jim Johnson, Oakland A�s
    Here is a good question to stump your friends with. Who has led the league the past two seasons in saves? Yep, it is Jim Johnson. He really doesn�t blow hitters away with amazing stuff or strike out batters. Johnson allows a few too many baserunners, too. Yet, he still gets it all done. Johnson moves into perhaps the friendliest park for pitchers in baseball with a solid team.

  15. Ernesto Frieri, Los Angeles Angels
    Frieri is an enigma. When he is on, you simply can’t hit him. When he isn’t, he coughs up leads easily. Frieri held hitters to under a .200 average last year, yet he allowed a whopping 20 home runs in 68.2 innings. Frieri should be a solid choice to close for the Angels, just be ready for the occasional hiccup. He is much more suited to a yearly league then a weekly head-to-head.

  16. Fernando Rodney, Seattle Mariners
    Rodney had a ridiculous 2012 campaign that may be the best a closer has ever had. He fell back to Earth last season as his walk rate crept back up. Moving into the spacious park in Seattle should give him the confidence to throw more strikes. Rodney should strike out about a batter per inning and save around 30 games.

  17. Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins
    Welcome to the “I”m a good pitcher on a bad team” section. Cishek is a sidearmer who just is absolutely nasty against right-handed batters. However, his pitching motion leaves him a little vulnerable against left-handed batters. He managed to pick up 34 saves last season, and you should view that as his ceiling.

  18. Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins
    Perkins has been an outstanding closer when given the opportunity. The problem? The Twins don’t give their closers many chances. Perkins strikes out more than one an inning and is lethal against lefties. Righties do hit him a bit, and he had offseason knee surgery, so pay attention to him in spring training to see how he is doing.

  19. Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox
    Jones is the best in a group of pitchers in Chicago vying for the closing job. Jones showed major signs of improvement last year, drastically reducing his walk rate and improving his strikeout percentage. Theres a bit of a risk he may not win the job, but he should be closing before the year is over

  20. Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays
    Janssen is another closer who will not overpower you, but will do everything else that you want a pitcher to do. He mixes speed well and has solid command. Janssen strikes out batters at a reasonable rate and should have 25-30-save potential in Toronto this season

  21. Huston Street, San Diego Padres
    Street started showing signs of slowing down last season and is always capable of getting hurt again. Another thing that I could see happening is that he gets traded to a contender halfway through the season and not having a closing role with his new club. Street’s home-runs-allowed rate spiked in the wrong direction last season, and his strikeout rate reduced dramatically.

  22. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
    Papelbon is going to regress pretty strongly this year in my opinion. He has lost velocity on all his pitches, and has a big contract on a likely losing team (typically leads to a trade). Papelbon allowed more hits and struck out less people last year also. AVOID AVOID AVOID!

  23. Bobby Parnell, New York Mets
    Parnell has gotten better every season with the Mets. He has focused more on locating his pitches, and that has led to fewer walks; balls lower in the strike zone tend to lead to fewer home runs. Parnell plays on a pretty bad team, so his saves are capped in the lower 30s. His offseason neck surgery will probably make him fall pretty far in your drafts. He is a great late-round flier.

  24. Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers
    The good: Henderson misses a lot of bats leading to low average against him and a high strikeout rate.

    The bad: Henderson walks a lot of batters due to spotty control. He also has a tendency to hang his breaking ball, which leads to a lot of homers. Henderson is the Brewers’ closer, and if he can improve on one of the bad categories, he has a chance to being a really good closer.

  25. Jesse Crain, Houston Astros
    Great skill; bad injury last year; awful team. Crain could be a great person to put on a watch list if he gets moved to a contender that needs a closer (I’m looking at you Baltimore). Until then, Crain is an injury risk not worth taking.

  26. Other candidates to close:

  27. John Axford, Cleveland Indians

  28. Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers

  29. Joakim Soria, Texas Rangers

  30. Jose Veres, Chicago cubs

  31. Brian Wilson, Los Angeles Dodgers

More 2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
Fantasy Football Rankings

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings:
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 8/27 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 6/4 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/4 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings - 5/18 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Dynasty - 8/22 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 2-QB - 8/21 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 8/14 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 8/12 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 8/7 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 7/24 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 7/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/10 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - PPR - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 2-QB - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - TD - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Custom - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Spreadsheets - 8/28 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Training Camp - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: It's All About Value - 9/1 (Kenny)
2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Busts - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Targets - 8/30 (Walt)
FanDuel $1 Million Contest - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator - 8/30 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Round-by-Round Strategy - 8/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Running Backs - 3/28 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/16 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 2/14 (Walt)
Running Backs with Most Carries - 2/14 (Walt)

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12

Injured/injury risk
Potential bust
Potential sleeper