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Fantasy Roundtable

Roundtable: 2016 Top Closers

by Drew Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

This is the weekly Fantasy Roundtable, where the writers of Rotoworld Baseball let the readers of Rotoworld Baseball in on a quick staff discussion. It's water cooler talk ... that we've decided to publish. Look for it every Tuesday.


Drew Silva: We've already ranked our top-10 hitters for 2016 and our top-10 starting pitchers for 2016. Now let's wrap this up with an early look at our favorite closers for the 2016 season. This one is much trickier because bullpen roles change all the time, but these are just thought experiments anyway. I'll take the plunge first ...

 

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1. Aroldis Chapman
 
 
The most dominant reliever in baseball. It sounds like the Reds might trade Chapman this winter and maybe his new team will move him into a starting role, but for now he tops my list of closers for 2016.
 
 
2. Trevor Rosenthal
 
 
Rosenthal put some of his control issues in the rearview this season and should remain the ninth-inning man for a Cardinals team that wins a ton of games year after year.
 
 
3. Andrew Miller
 
 
Miller has been fantastic in his first full season as a closer and the Yankees are probably going to spend some money to beef up their roster over the winter. It wouldn't shock me if he led the majors in saves in 2016, though Dellin Betances continues to knock on the door.
 
 
4. Wade Davis
 
 
This is based on a risky assumption that the Royals will move on from Greg Holland this winter -- either via trade or demotion to a setup role. Maybe they'll even consider non-tendering him. Davis has been too good over the last two seasons to play second fiddle.
 
 
5. Craig Kimbrel
 
 
Kimbrel is having a down year by his high standards, but the strikeout rate is still impressive and the Padres should be a better team in 2016. Or maybe they trade him to an even better situation.
 
 
6. Kenley Jansen
 
 
Jansen didn't appear in a game this year until mid-May but should still top 35 saves. He'll be pushing for 45 next season on a loaded, deep-pocketed Dodgers team.
 
 
7. David Robertson
 
 
It's been a very disappointing 2015 for the White Sox, but I like their nucleus and Robertson is signed on for another three years. He has a 12.0 career K/9.
 
 
8. Cody Allen
 
 
Much like the White Sox, the Indians have badly underperformed. But there are many good reasons to think they're in for a breakout 2016. Allen is just entering salary arbitration.
 
 
9. Mark Melancon
 
 
The strikeouts are down, but Melancon currently leads the major leagues in saves and he should be back in Pittsburgh in 2016 -- his final year of arbitration eligibility.
 
 
10. Zach Britton
 
 
I wasn't much of a Britton believer heading into 2015, but he's been very steady on a disappointing Orioles squad and the 27-year-old lefty has shown major improvement in the swing-and-miss department.
 
 
 
Ryan Boyer ...
 
 

1. Aroldis Chapman

 

There's probably a decent chance he'll get traded this offseason to a better team. Even if he stays put, Chapman is at the top of the heap for me.

 

2. Kenley Jansen

 

He's been on the disabled list a few times, but Jansen is money when he's on the field and should be on a great club again next season.

 
3. Craig Kimbrel
 
 
He's had more hiccups this season than we're accustomed to, but Kimbrel has still been fantastic overall and gets to call Petco Park home.
 
 
4. Jeurys Familia
 
 
Familia's stuff is absurdly good. I have no doubt he's here to stay among the elite closers and that great Mets rotation should set him up for plenty of save chances.
 
 
5. Zach Britton
 
 
The strikeouts have spiked this season, the walks are down and Britton still gets a ton of groundballs. It's hard to give up runs with that combination.
 
 
6. Andrew Miller
 
 
You could make a case for him to be a few spots higher, but the presence of Dellin Betances is notable. Joe Girardi has another elite guy to go to should Miller hit a rough patch, although there's certainly been no indication that that's likely.
 
 
7. Trevor Rosenthal

Rosenthal's control can wane at times, but he's had a dominant season and should be part of another good Cardinals club in 2016.
 
 
8. Mark Melancon
 
 
Melancon started slow this season and the strikeouts haven't been there, but he's rebounded and has a sub-2.00 ERA again. The Pirates aren't going anywhere.
 
 
9. David Robertson
 
 
His ERA is up over 3.00 for a second straight season, but Robertson still gets whiffs by the truckload. The White Sox improving their defense would help
 
 
10. Hector Rondon
 
 
I'm still not sure why Rondon ever lost his closer job this season. I don't expect him to lose it again.






Matthew Pouliot ...

 

1. Kenley Jansen

 

Even though he missed time earlier this year, I still prefer Jansen’s chances of avoiding the DL to Chapman’s next year.

 

2. Aroldis Chapman

 

This is actually Chapman’s least dominant season to date, and he still has a 1.74 ERA and 110 strikeouts. I just believe he’s the biggest injury risk among the top five closers.

 

3. Mark Melancon

 

Overcame early velocity problems to post an incredible season, even with his strikeout rate still well down.

 

4. Trevor Rosenthal

 

The Cardinals should keep right on generating as many save chances as any club in the league.

 

5. Craig Kimbrel

 

Kimbrel’s numbers get a touch worse every year, yet his velocity has actually gone up slightly each season. It doesn’t seem like a decline has truly set in, at least not yet.

 

6. Hector Rondon

 

The only thing not to like is Joe Maddon’s itchy trigger finger, which got Rondon pulled from the closer’s role earlier this season for no good reason at all.

 

7. Jeurys Familia

 

Familia walked 18 and struck out 18 in 23 innings in his first two years in the majors. This year, he’s walked 18 and struck out 74 in 72 2/3 innings. He’d be higher, but I do have concerns about his workload. He threw 77 innings last year, and he’ll probably top 80 this year before the postseason is over.

 

8. Zach Britton

 

Finally an American Leaguer. As rarely as anyone gets the ball in the air against Britton, it’s hard to see how he’s given up even 16 runs this year.

 

9. Cody Allen

 

Pay no attention to that 3.25 ERA; Allen has struck out 94 in 63 2/3 innings as the Indians’ closer.

 

10. Wade Davis

 

He’d be five spots higher if we knew Greg Holland was gone for sure. Still, it doesn’t seem all that likely that the Royals will keep the duo together next year.

 

 

D.J. Short ...


1. Aroldis Chapman

 

Maybe not the eye-popping numbers we have seen in previous seasons, but he's still the most dominant closer in the game. The Reds should probably try to trade him this winter, but he's my No. 1 even with that uncertainty.

 

2. Kenley Jansen

 

Got a late start on the season after foot surgery, but he still has 32 saves to go along with career-bests in WHIP, K/9, and BB/9. Should continue to get tons of save chances with the deep-pocketed Dodgers.

 

3. Mark Melancon

 

1.74 ERA over the last three seasons. Overcame velocity concerns in April for another fantastic season.

 

4. Trevor Rosenthal

 

Has had some rough patches with his control this season, but on the whole he's still better than he was in 2014. The Cardinals are the Cardinals, so the save opportunities should be there.

 

5. Craig Kimbrel

 

There was a lot of excitement for the Padres this spring, but the team disappointed and Kimbrel has had his "worst" season to date. Of course, his "worst" is still better than most. He could move up a couple of spots if he gets traded to a better situation.

 

6. Jeurys Familia

 

Wasn't even getting save chances at the start of the year, but it hasn't taken him long to emerge as one of the best closers in the game. His recent addition of a splitter could make him even scarier in 2016.

 

7. Andrew Miller

 

Has been awesome when healthy this season. The presence of Dellin Betances is the only thing keeping me from putting him higher.

 

8. Zach Britton

 

Britton wasn't in my top-10 this spring, mostly because the strikeout rate wasn't in line with some of the elite closers. Well, he has continued to induce grounders at a ridiculous rate while increasing his strikeout rate by 10 percent. My bad. He belongs.

 

9. Cody Allen

 

On the surface, it looks like Allen has taken a step back this season. But he has actually posted the highest strikeout rate of his career while allowing just two home runs in 63 2/3 innings. Opposing batters have hit him hard at times, but his numbers should look better if his BABIP comes back down to Earth.

 

10. Hector Rondon

 

Didn't deserve to be jerked around by Joe Maddon earlier this summer. I might have him higher if I was 100 percent sure it won't happen again. By the way, Wade Davis would be in this top-10 if I knew for certain he'd be closing next year.

 

 

Disagree? Want to add something? Got a question? You can find each of these @Rotoworld_BB writers on Twitter: @drewsilv@djshort@ryanpboyer@matthewpouliot.


Drew Silva
Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.