Brian, Circle of Trust, Closers, Relievers

Closer Circle of Trust: May


by Brian Dorsey

Trusted

Solid

Danger

Eduardo Sanchez Mark Melancon Sergio Santos Brandon League
Ryan Madson Drew Storen Matt Capps J.J. Putz Francisco Rodriguez
Vincente Padilla Carlos Marmol Mariano Rivera Heath Bell Brian Wilson Jordan Walden
Kyle Farnsworth Houston Street Joakim Soria Neftali Feliz Jose Valerde Kevin Gregg
Jonathan Papelbon Craig Kimbrel Chris Perez Francisco Cordero Brian Fuentes
Frank Francisco Leo Nunez John Axford Joel Hanrahan

Notes: You’ll notice more closers moving away from the Danger category and into the Solid or Trusted areas. As the season progresses, the more rounded out everything tends to get. In fact, one of the only reasons there are still so many Danger closers is due to injured pitchers behind them waiting to be activated (Brad Lidge, Andrew Bailey, David Aardsma, Brandon Lyon, and Jonathan Broxton).

We lost a few closers, too. Gone are Sean Burnett (taken over by Drew Storen), Joe Nathan (Matt Capps), Ryan Franklin (Eduardo Sanchez), Matt Thorton (Sergio Santos), and John Rauch (Frank Francisco). I don’t think any of those guys get their gigs back either. That’s not to say the guys in the closer role right now will stick for the rest of the year, but they would probably have to be taken over by someone other than their predecessors.

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9 thoughts on “Closer Circle of Trust: May

  1. Don says:

    I would like to know what your criteria is for determining where the closers are ranked. I can’t see Feliz or Bell as being in danger. And how Padilla can be considered a trusted closer is beyond me.

    • Don says:

      My mistake partner…I am color blind when it comes to re so I didn’t recognize the color coding. I now follow what you are doing and pretty much agree with what you determined. I would still like to know your criteria though.

  2. It’s only the second time I’ve done this Closer of Trust article, and I’m now realizing the error of my ways. So the criteria for Trusted is a closer who is having a steady season, few blown saves, no immediate threat behind him, and has a good track record as a closer.

    Solid is more or less the same, yet the closers in this area have less experience, have an immediate threat behind them, or haven’t been in their current role for very long.

    Finally, Danger is any other closer. Danger closers aren’t necessarily going to lose their job, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they weren’t closing out games soon. Brandon League, for example, just lost his gig. Are you surprised? No.

  3. In short, Trusted closers are the cream of the crop. Solid closers are the usual suspects. And Danger closers are fill-ins or newly appointed to the position.

    • I don’t see how Ryan Madson is in Danger. He has not blown a save all season and his ERA is 0.56. Please explain and Lidge isnt due back till end of June or after All-star break.

      • He might not be in Danger of losing his gig until June, you’re right. But I’m looking at the big picture. By the time he loses his job, he’ll have, what, 13 saves? Woohoo! And then he won’t be closing again.

        Plus, the Phillies really don’t like Madson, for whatever reason. Remember they had him behind Jose Contreras earlier this season. Contreras is set to return as early as May 20th, and GM Ruben Amaro wouldn’t say whether Madson would remain the closer. Sounds like he might not even survive to be overtaken by Lidge.

  4. True, for some reason either the Phillies have this crazy love affair with Jose Contreras or Madson slept with the Charlie Manuel’s daughter. The Phillies don’t give Madson a lot of opportunities but I think they ease Contreras back into the set up role but leave Madson as the number one option.

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