2017 Rankings: Top 15 Relief Pitchers: New Names Crash The Party

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know how frustrating closers can be.  Whether it’s injury or inability, we consistently have a new stream of options presenting themselves.  Last season saw the typical turnover, but from it came a pair of new Top 5 options.  The offseason trade of Wade Davis opened the door for another pitcher to rise into the Top 10, leaving our rankings littered with new names from a year ago.  How do things fall?  Let’s take a look:

1. Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
2. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
4. Edwin Diaz – Seattle Mariners
5. Seung Hwan Oh – St. Louis Cardinals
6. Mark Melancon – San Francisco Giants
7. Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox
8. Roberto Osuna – Toronto Blue Jays
9. Kelvin Herrera – Kansas City Royals
10. Ken Giles – Houston Astros
11. Andrew Miller – Cleveland Indians
12. David Robertson – Chicago White Sox
13. Wade Davis – Chicago Cubs
14. Alex Colome – Tampa Bay Rays
15. Dellin Betances – New York Yankees


  • Having included a pair of non-closers (Andrew Miller & Dellin Betances) in these rankings, the next two names on the list are noteworthy if you are focused strictly on saves.  They are Sam Dyson and Jeurys Familia.
  • Speaking of Familia, he’d be a Top 6 or 7 option if he wasn’t facing a potential suspension (if rumors are accurate, he could miss anywhere from 20-40 games).  Obviously that much potential missed time has to have a significant impact on your ranking.
  • Edwin Diaz coming in at #4 may be the most surprising name on this list.  We talked about him in detail a few months ago, so make sure you check that article out by clicking here.
  • Last year was supposed to be a big one for Ken Giles, but he fell flat and ultimately pitched in a setup role for much of the season.  While he finished with a 4.11 ERA, there was some poor luck behind it (.349 BABIP).  He brought strikeouts (13.98 K/9) and control (3.43 BB/9), and he also should do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark (1.10 HR/9 vs. 0.55 career mark).  Things should be better, and with his strikeout stuff it’s hard not to consider him among the better options as long as he has the job.
  • There’s a good chance David Robertson gets traded at some point, so keep that in mind.  While he will likely land somewhere with a hole at the end of games (like Washington), there is some risk that he could be traded and settle into a setup role.
  • Another closer who could ultimately be traded is Alex Colome, which would fit the mold for Tampa Bay as they seem to go through a different closer each year.  As it is he benefited from a 93.0% strand rate, so don’t expect him to come close to last season’s 1.91 ERA.  That’s not to say that he won’t be good if he keeps the job, as his transition to the bullpen led to a 15.1% SwStr% (11.28 K/9), just know the risk.

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

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