2019 Reliever Rankings

I remember back in mid-December when first putting together a reliever ranking that I eventually threw my hands up around the early-20s and comforting myself with the idea that things would be much clearer by the time draft season kicked into high gear.

I was wrong.

A few situations have become clearer, but what I didn’t quite anticipate was that even more teams would push toward a more open setup rather than committing to one guy. Even a team like Philadelphia that brought in David Robertson and his 137 career saves has acknowledged that he will still share some of the duties with Seranthony Dominguez.

Another factor was that closer-types I thought could earn a full-scale role signed on with teams where they will remain middle relief studs, namely Adam Ottavino and Jeurys Familia. Oh ya, and there’s the fact that a clear top 5 closer is still unsigned and will likely end up just displacing a current closer when he does finally land unless the Red Sox do an about face.

I’m of two minds on all this. On the one hand as an analytically-oriented person, I think it’s completely the right move for teams to be flexible with their ninth inning situation and play the matchups as games unfold. On the other hand as a fantasy baseball diehard, it has made tackling saves a complete fustercluck.

I’ve got 95 relievers for you. The first table of 50 focuses on announced closers, those in the aforementioned flexible situations, a handful on deck in sketchy situations, and a host of hurt guys who will be in line for saves once healthy. The other list of 45 is really for Holds leaguers, deep leaguers, and a watch list for shallow leaguers.

Top 50 Relievers
Pitcher Team Status
1 Edwin Diaz NYM CLOSER
2 Blake Treinen OAK CLOSER
3 Roberto Osuna HOU CLOSER
4 Kenley Jansen LAD CLOSER
5 Aroldis Chapman NYY CLOSER
6 Craig Kimbrel FA CLOSER
7 Felipe Vazquez PIT CLOSER
8 Brad Hand CLE CLOSER
9 Kirby Yates SD CLOSER
10 Corey Knebel MIL CLOSER
11 Sean Doolittle WAS CLOSER
12 David Robertson PHI IN THE MIX
13 Ken Giles TOR CLOSER
14 Jose Leclerc TEX CLOSER
15 Jordan Hicks STL IN THE MIX
16 Raisel Iglesias CIN IN THE MIX^
17 Jose Alvarado TB CLOSER
18 Josh Hader MIL IN THE MIX?
19 Wade Davis COL CLOSER
20 Pedro Strop CHC CLOSER
21 Archie Bradley ARI IN THE MIX
22 Cody Allen LAA CLOSER
23 Arodys Vizcaino ATL CLOSER
24 Trevor May MIN IN THE MIX
25 Alex Colome CWS CLOSER
26 Matt Barnes BOS CLOSER
27 Will Smith SF IN THE MIX
28 Seranthony Dominguez PHI IN THE MIX
29 Shane Greene DET CLOSER
30 Blake Parker MIN IN THE MIX
31 Ryan Pressly HOU NEXT UP
32 Hunter Strickland SEA CLOSER
33 Drew Steckenrider MIA IN THE MIX
34 Sergio Romo MIA IN THE MIX
35 Joe Jimenez DET NEXT UP
36 Mychal Givens BAL CLOSER
37 A.J. Minter ATL HURT
38 Ryan Brasier BOS HURT
39 Jeremy Jeffress MIL HURT
40 Dellin Betances NYY NEXT UP
41 Andrew Miller STL IN THE MIX
42 Wily Peralta KC IN THE MIX
43 Brad Boxberger KC IN THE MIX
44 Mark Melancon SF IN THE MIX
45 Brandon Morrow CHC HURT
46 Kelvin Herrera CWS HURT
47 Jeurys Familia NYM NEXT UP
48 Alex Reyes STL IN THE MIX
49 Keone Kela PIT NEXT UP
50 Ty Buttrey LAA NEXT UP
^adjusted Iglesias to “IN THE MIX” after a comment pointed out that he’ll be used in the fireman role, which means he won’t get all the save opps.

The historical volatility of closers tells us that several of the above guys will be out of the job by midseason making this next list of 45 worth knowing. The morbid thing about closer turnover is that even this upcoming list of 44 likely won’t even capture all the guys who nab 5+ saves this year, but I had to cut it off somewhere.

44 More
Pitcher Team Status
Carlos Martinez STL HURT/IN THE MIX?
Taylor Rogers MIN IN THE MIX
Steve Cishek CHC IN THE MIX
Greg Holland ARI IN THE MIX
Craig Stammen SD NEXT UP
Jared Hughes CIN IN THE MIX
Seung Hwan Oh COL NEXT UP
Trevor Rosenthal WAS NEXT UP
Joakim Soria OAK NEXT UP
Bud Norris TOR NEXT UP
Joe Kelly LAD NEXT UP
Diego Castillo TB NEXT UP
Ryne Stanek TB MR STUD
Richard Rodriguez PIT MR STUD
Corbin Burnes* MIL MR STUD
Chad Green NYY MR STUD
Adam Ottavino NYY MR STUD
Chaz Roe TB MR STUD
Zack Britton NYY MR STUD
Lou Trivino OAK MR STUD
Carl Edwards Jr. CHC MR STUD
Amir Garrett CIN MR STUD
Tony Watson SF MR STUD
Reyes Moronta SF MR STUD
Scott Oberg COL MR STUD
Yoshihisa Hirano ARI MR STUD
Adam Conley MIA MR STUD
Jake Diekman KC MR STUD
Scott Alexander LAD MR STUD
Kyle Barraclough WAS MR STUD
Brad Brach CHC MR STUD
Richard Bleier BAL MR STUD
Tyler Beede/Ray Black SF DEEP RADAR
Tyler Thornburg BOS DEEP RADAR
Touki Toussaint ATL DEEP RADAR
Jesse Chavez TEX DEEP RADAR
Danny Salazar CLE DEEP RADAR
Nate Jones CWS DEEP RADAR
Sandy Alcantara MIA DEEP RADAR
Kyle Crick PIT DEEP RADAR
Tanner Scott BAL DEEP RADAR
Fernando Romero MIN DEEP RADAR
Shawn Armstrong SEA DEEP RADAR
Dan Altavilla SEA DEEP RADAR
*or Brandon Woodruff… whoever loses the 5th SP role

We hoped you liked reading 2019 Reliever Rankings by Paul Sporer!

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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LightenUpFG
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Great list, especially after I spent Saturday culling the “Don’t Pay for Josh Hader” article for some good names that show up here. Closers really are a messy challenge this year.

When you have someone listed on the second list, are you assuming all of them will be relievers for most of the season? For instance, Touki Toussaint is listed but I thought he might be getting that fifth rotation spot.