Volatile world of closers in chart form

March, 8, 2014
3/08/14
11:56
AM ET
Christina Kahrl just posted an essay discussing the lack of superstar closers in today's game. Once you get past Craig Kimbrel and Joe Nathan, it thins out in a hurry. Greg Holland and Kenley Jansen were dominant last year, but that was Holland's first season as a full-time closer and Jansen has yet to record 30 saves in a season. Even Aroldis Chapman had five blown saves.

Compare with, say, 15 years ago. In 1999, you had Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner, Robb Nen and John Wetteland. Beyond them, you had long-time closers such as Roberto Hernandez, Ugueth Urbina, Jose Mesa, Troy Percival, Jeff Shaw, Armando Benitez and Todd Jones, plus short-term guys such as John Rocker and Matt Mantei.

One reason for the lack of superstar closers today may be a simple explanation: Teams and managers have come around to the notion that most good relievers can close, and they are more willing to give a new kid the ninth inning. The volatile world of closers is represented in the chart below that lists the closers for each team over the past three seasons and the projected closer for 2014. Only Kimbrel is projected to be his team's closer all four seasons. Only eight teams are projected to have the same closer as in 2012.

ChartESPN

David Schoenfield | email

SweetSpot blogger

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