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2011 Closer Rankings: August

Surprisingly, there weren’t any closers dealt last weekend at the trade deadline despite plenty of rumors, so the rankings don’t change all that much nor are there many new names. Here are July’s rankings, which can take you back through the start of the season, and here’s the saves leaderboard for reference.

Tier One
Craig Kimbrel
John Axford
Joakim Soria
Jonathan Papelbon
Brian Wilson
Heath Bell

Axford might be the best in the fantasy business at the moment, pitching to a 1.32 ERA with 45 strikeouts and just a dozen walks (one intentional) in his last 34 innings with zero blown saves. The Brewers are winning quite a bunch these days, which is why he has eight saves in the last two and a half walks. Everyone else in this tier is pretty self explanatory, though it’s kinda surprising Bell is still working the ninth inning for the Padres after the trade deadline.

Tier Two
Mariano Rivera
Ryan Madson
Joel Hanrahan
J.J. Putz
Andrew Bailey
Leo Nunez

This tier is all about health. Nagging injuries over the last few years are why the 42-year-old Rivera isn’t in the top tier, and successful returns from the disabled list are why Madson, Putz, and Bailey moved up. Nunez has been kind of sketchy of late but generally very good, and it sure would be nice if Clint Hurdle maximized Hanrahan’s usage.

Tier Three
Sergio Santos
Fernando Salas
Carlos Marmol
Huston Street
Jordan Walden
Brandon League
Drew Storen

July was a very rough month for Marmol, who temporarily lost his job and at one point walked seven of 20 batters faced. Storen has been shaky of late as well. Salas has been very good overall but also somewhat homer prone. The Cardinals didn’t make a deal (for Bell?) at the deadline, so his job is pretty safe for the time being.

Tier Four
Kyle Farnsworth
Chris Perez
Jose Valverde
Francisco Cordero
Javy Guerra
Neftali Feliz
Mark Melancon
Joe Nathan
Jon Rauch
Jason Isringhausen
Kevin Gregg

Perez is slowly getting away from the dreaded 1.0 K/BB ratio, though he still appears to be allergic to 1-2-3 innings. But hey, the Tribe win a fair amount of ballgames and he’s the undisputed guy in the ninth inning, so that counts for something. Valverde and Cordero had particularly rough months, and it’s good to see Nathan back where he should be after a tough start to the season and a DL stint. Izzy is as combustible as the come, and that’s not just based on the last two nights.

No Longer Closing (for various reasons)
Francisco Rodriguez
David Hernandez
Matt Capps
Frank Francisco
Brian Fuentes
David Aardsma
Jonathan Broxton
Brandon Lyon

None of these guys are expected to get their closer’s job back, though a handful are an injury away from save chances.