Fantasy Baseball: Relief Pitcher Rankings – Points

Putting together relief pitcher rankings is both the hardest and easiest part of fantasy. On one aspect, it is the most limited position in terms of potential names. But on the other aspect it is the most volatile position in the game. One bad outing can give a manager the cause he needs to go to someone else, or it may just be that your team is winning games by five and losing games by one or two, meaning you never get a shot to close. For this reason I haven’t gone into much depth on why I have ranked people where other than to just briefly touch on why that set of players is in that tier. Mostly at this stage it comes down to job security that breaks tiers with talent of the pitcher then further defining them.

The pitching projections to make these rankings are a hybrid of steamer and rotochamps combined with my own tweaks as I simply haven’t had the time to do both hitters and pitchers in my first season doing projections! Next season I will complete the set but I didn’t want to rush pitching projections and screw them up and give bad advice but I also didn’t want to just rip off someone else’s rankings (hence the hybrid).

Each position will not only be ranked, but will be split into tiers as if I was drafting tomorrow. If you haven’t used tiers before it is a very helpful way of looking at how talent pools at that position and whether it is worth drafting a player right at the spot you are considering him. My general rule of thumb is I don’t want to take the first guy from a tier if I can avoid it (Unless there is only one guy in said tier!).






The Elite

  1. Kenley Jansen, LAD
  2. Wade Davis, KC
  3. Craig Kimbrel, BOS

Three of the best four closers in the game right now and all on teams with the potential to win a lot of games.

The “No-Brainers”

  1. Jeurys Familia, NYM
  2. Trevor Rosenthal, StL
  3. Mark Melancon, PIT
  4. Zach Britton, BAL
  5. David Robertson, CWS
  6. Cody Allen, CLE
  7. Ken Giles, HOU

This is just a safe group for me with talented relievers

The Potential #1

The Aroldis Chapman rumours and stories are going top be a big talking point in spring training

The Aroldis Chapman rumours and stories are going top be a big talking point in spring training

  1. Aroldis Chapman, NYY

Chapman should be in the top tier but there are a few issues, legal and competition, that prevent me being sure enough to take him at the price a top four option commands.

The Middle of the Road Group

  1. AJ Ramos, MIA
  2. Brad Boxberger, TB
  3. Huston Street, LAA
  4. Glen Perkins, MIN
  5. Drew Storen, TOR
  6. Francisco Rodriguez, DET
  7. Santiago Casilla, SF
  8. Jonathan Papelbon, WSH
  9. Shawn Tolleson, TEX

I like this group of guys as they offer the best price to value ratio of the position. None have the sure-fire job security of the top 11 but all are good relievers who will enter the season their teams #1

The Meh Group

  1. Brad Ziegler, ARI
  2. Hector Rondon, ChC
  3. Sean Doolittle, OAK

This group just doesn’t excite me and frankly in a points league it’s a toss-up if I’d take these guys or go for the innings security of the SP’s in the tier below.

The SP’s

  1. Jesse Hahn, OAK
  2. Tanner Roark, WSH

It’s just a volume thing with these two. Neither are so-good they are must takes as relief eligible starting pitchers but both should be considered before going into the scary looking group below.

The Risky Group

  1. Jason Motte, COL
  2. David Hernandez, PHI
  3. Jumbo Diaz, CIN
  4. Fernando Rodney, SD
  5. Steve Cishek, SEA

I really don’t like the job security of most of this group. Motte, Diaz and Rodney all have the job through lack of better options right now but there are definitely people who can emerge. Cishek enters the season with direct competition from Benoit but I think the Mariners go with him as the trusted commodity to start the year. Hernandez is the best option in his bull pen but I really have no idea how many games the Phillies can actually win this season but I don’t think it will be many.

The Big Gamble

Can Andrew Miller still be fantasy relevant in the set up role?

Can Andrew Miller still be fantasy relevant in the set up role?

  1. Andrew Miller, NYY

If Miller falls to this point in your draft, he is 100% worth a gamble as the 31st relief option. Chapman has control issues (and potential legal issues) which could hand Miller the closing job. Even if he doesn’t close he is still an elite reliever who will see a lot of innings and should get close to 100 K’s

The Spring Training Battles

  1. Jason Grilli, ATL
  2. Arodys Vizcaino, ATL
  3. Cory Knebel, MIL
  4. Will Smith, MIL

I have little idea at this stage which two of these four will be closing come the start of the year. I think Grilli starts the year for Atlanta and then they try to pull a trade when his value is at its best before going to Vizcaino as the reliever of the future. In Milwaukee I have literally no idea, roster resource have Knebel but many think Smith so it’s as close to 50-50 as it gets

The No-Saves Guy

  1. Dellin Betances, NYY

He is now two guys away from closing but he is arguably the best reliever in that bull pen. He will get to pitch close to 200 innings if the health is there and he will be close if not topping 100 K’s

The Men in Waiting

  1. Joaquin Benoit, SEA
  2. Carter Capps, MIA
  3. Roberto Osuna, TOR
  4. JJ Hoover, CIN

Benoit is arguably the only guy here more talented than his teams current closer. Capps is good but so is Ramos and it may be hard to unseat the incumbent. The Toronto trade is weird if they aren’t going to use Storen as a closer. I think they like the idea of Osuna as a high leverage guy who they can stretch out in the bull pen with a view to late season starting. Hoover is many people’s favourite to end the season as the closer in Cincy. However, keep a close eye on Cingrani.


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