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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Chat wrap: Baseball's best closer?


As always, plenty to talk about in the wonderful world of baseball. Topics ranged from Adrian Gonzalez to Jair Jurrjens to Josh Tomlin to Jose Bautista to Brandon Belt to baseball's best closers. The question came up in relation to Atlanta rookie closer Craig Kimbrel. I suggested he might be a top-3 closer already ... and I'll stick to that. Here are my top five closers right now:

Rivera
Rivera
1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees: Had a couple hiccups, but still has a WHIP under 1.00 and hasn't allowed a home run.

2. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox: He struggled with location last season, but he seems back on his game with a 21/2 SO/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings.

3. Craig Kimbrel, Braves: With 34 K's in 20 2/3 innings, his strikeout rate leads closers (even better than Carlos Marmol). The control isn't precise (10 walks), but he's dominating right now.

4. Drew Storen, Nationals: He looks like the real deal with a 0.71 WHIP, 1 HR in 23 innings and a 19/5 SO/BB ratio.

5. Neftali Feliz, Rangers: Injured earlier and a little rusty coming back, but should be fine once he gets in gear.

Worth considering: Brian Wilson, Giants (not as dominant this year, but worked very heavily last season); Heath Bell, Padres (benefits from home park); Joakim Soria, Royals (hasn't been as overpowering so far); Marmol, Cubs (unhittable, but still wild); Ryan Madson, Phillies (looking good so far).