2014 Rankings: Top 15 Relief Pitchers (Updated For Rodney Signing)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It didn’t take long for our closer rankings to change, as the Mariners decided that they didn’t trust Danny Farquhar in the closer’s role.  Who steps into his spot (he had been #14 on these rankings)?  Where does Fernando Rodney fit in, if at all?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
  2. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
  4. Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
  5. Joe Nathan – Detroit Tigers
  6. Trevor Rosenthal – St. Louis Cardinals
  7. Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
  8. Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
  9. Sergio Romo – San Francisco Giants
  10. Addison Reed – Arizona Diamondbacks
  11. David Robertson – New York Yankees
  12. Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins
  13. Casey Janssen – Toronto Blue Jays
  14. Jim Johnson – Oakland Athletics
  15. Bobby Parnell – New York Mets


  • We all knew that Rodney wasn’t as good as he looked in 2012 (0.60 ERA, 0.78 WHIP), as he had never shown the ability to maintain a 1.81 BB/9 before.  That regressed significantly last season, all the way to 4.86, and the other numbers suffered with it.  That’s not to say he was bad, with a 3.38 ERA, and he does bring strikeout stuff and groundballs to Seattle.  Still, the control problems aren’t going to disappear and there’s always going to be a lot of risk.  That keeps him outside of our Top 15.
  • The news that Rodney signed was good for David Robertson, because it leaves the Yankees with no obvious alternative to bring in via free agency.  Of course they could sign a veteran, but what’s left out there is more of the “if Robertson fails he can step in” variety.  He has been tremendous over the past few seasons, including discovering his control (BB/9 of 2.82 and 2.44 the past two seasons).  We’ll have to wait and see if he can handle the pressure of closing in New York, but there is too much potential to ignore.
  • According to Mike Puma (via Twitter), “Parnell has looked “great” throwing the ball in Fla., according to a Mets person. Balfour would have provided insurance for 9th inning.”  A healthy Parnell is going to be a good option in all formats, so don’t overlook him on draft day.  If others are scared off by the injury, you could get a steal on draft day.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:


  1. bigwang says:

    Any reason why Joe Nathan, with his advanced age and 3.27 xFIP, is ranked ahead of Holland?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      They are extremely, extremely close honestly. I just see Nathan having a slightly lower WHIP and more save opportunities in Detroit.

      That said, I wouldn’t argue if you wanted to swap the two. It really is that close and is a preference thing.

  2. bigwang says:

    Last season Detroit as a team had 55 save opportunities. KC had 73.

    Nathan had a very low whip last season despite a BB/9 over 3 and a LD% over 23, because his BABIP was somehow below .230

    Nathan is 39. the list of pitchers being top relievers at that age is not very long.

    so, If someone is drafting Nathan this high, all I can say is go for it…

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