Dynasty Relief Pitcher Rankings: January 2019


Continuing with our offseason dynasty rankings, today we have 42 relief pitchers ranked and separated into tiers. The rankings represent relative value in a dynasty league by taking into consideration immediate value vs. years of possible relevance left. As always these rankings should be manipulated to match the league type you play, so take them with a small grain of salt. Below the rankings are some thoughts as to how the rankings were created.

Tier 1: Elite
1) Edwin Diaz – 24
2) Roberto Osuna – 23

Tier 2: Next Best
3) Josh Hader – 24
4) Blake Treinen – 30
5) Aroldis Chapman – 30
6) Craig Kimbrel – 30
7) Felipe Vazquez – 27
8) Kenley Jansen – 31
9)Brad Hand – 28

Tier 3: Great Options
10) Seranthony Dominguez – 24
11) Ken Giles – 28
12) Jose Leclerc – 25
13) Jordan Hicks – 22
14) Corey Knebel – 27
15) Sean Doolittle – 32
16) Kirby Yates – 31
17) Raisel Iglesias – 29
18) Archie Bradley – 26

Tier 4: Solid Options
19) Alex Colome – 30
20) Will Smith – 29
21) Keone Kela – 25
22) Jose Alvarado – 23
23) Ryan Pressly – 30
24) AJ Minter – 25
25) Dellin Betances – 30
26) Cody Allen – 30
27) Joe Jimenez – 24
28) Trevor May – 29
29) Drew Steckenrider – 28

Tier 5: Willing to Take a Chance
30) Jeurys Familia – 29
31) Jeremy Jeffress – 31
32) David Robertson – 33
33) Zach Britton – 31
34) Jace Fry – 25
35) Adam Ottavino – 33
36) Arodys Vizcaino – 28
37) Ty Buttrey – 25
38) Diego Castillo – 24
39) Hector Neris – 29
40) Chad Green – 27
41) Matt Barnes – 28
42) Kelvin Herrera – 29

Other Options: Yoan Lopez, Ray Black, Andrew Miller, Trevor Rosenthal

Tier 1: Diaz sits atop the dynasty rankings after his incredible 2018. Still only 23, he possesses elite “stuff” with control and an ability to keep the ball on the ground which should keep him above the other options for many years. Osuna, even after a down year, finds himself as the #2 dynasty pitcher. His strikeouts dropped significantly, down to a 7.8 K/9, but with a stellar 14.7% swinging strike rate that number should climb back above a K per inning. I’m betting on a bounce back season and am looking to buy low in all leagues.

Tier 2: Hader’s ranking as #3 depends heavily on his elite strikeout rate and less so on his closing status. If he gets a consistent chance to close, the 24-year-old could easily find himself in Tier 1. A trio of 30-year-olds, Treinen, Chapman and Kimbrel occupy the next three spots. Treinen had a record-setting year with the A’s and 2.42 xFIP backs up his gains. Chapman and Kimbrel, some of the most consistent closers over the past 5+ years, both experienced a bit of regression in their control. However they both maintained ERAs under 3 and I see no reason for that to change over the next couple of seasons. Jansen, who also dealt with control issues for the first time in several years, ranks below the others due to his frightening, and possibly problematic, heart issues. Don’t sell him cheap, but be cautious when buying him at this point in his career. Two of the other more established closers, Vazquez and Hand, reside in this tier as well and have given no reason to doubt their ability to close out games for the next several years.

Tier 3: Dominguez might be one of my favorite young relievers but may not get a chance at a full-time closing gig for the next several seasons. Despite that, I still rank him atop this tier due to his bat missing ability, improving control and ability to produce groundballs. Oh, and he held opposing batters to a mere 23% hard contact rate, which put him ahead of Aaron Nola, Jacob Degrom and Chris Sale. Giles, Leclerc, Knebel and Iglesias all reside in this tier and should each be able to hold down closing jobs over the next few seasons due to their impressive strikeout upside. I will mention that Iglesias, for the first time in his career, gave up a hard contact rate above 25%. It actually spiked to 35% and with his less than stellar control I’m exercising a bit more caution with Iglesias, but I’m still invested and hopeful that it drops down below 30% again in 2019. Archie Bradley and Jordan Hicks have never had full-time closing duties but look to be the favorites in their respective clubhouses. Hicks has an absolutely electric 100 mph sinker, and as a 22-year old should continue improving all facets of his game which would put him among the elite in the game. Yates, although 31 years old, rocked a 2.64 xFIP last year en route to a very impressive season and has seemingly gotten better with age. I’m buying in for another few more seasons of solid production.

Tier 4: This tier consists of a couple of hopeful closers as well as some elite setup men. Colome and Allen are proven and should both have closer roles in their respective clubs, but have both shown signs of decline now that they’ve entered their 30s. Will Smith, Trevor May and Drew Steckenrider all seem to possess closer roles to begin the season and therefore deserve a bit of attention. Smith, who posted a phenomenal 2.76 xFIP on his way to 14 saves in 2018, is 29-years old yet looks to be better than ever. I’ll caution that he gave up 37% hard contact, but his 15% swinging strike rate is too tempting to not rank in this tier. May, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, also impressed and posted a 2.46 xFIP in 25 innings. If he keeps his velocity up and continues to miss bats he could become a Top 15 closer. The talented setup men in this tier are Kela, Alvarado, Pressly, Minter, Betances and Jimenez. While Betances and Pressly are already 30 and may never get the shot close they still warrant attention for strikeout upside and impressive ratios. The other 4 guys can all miss bats and profile as potential closers in this next few seasons.

Tier 5: One of my favorites in the last tier is Jace Fry. In 51 innings in 2018 he posted a disappointing 4.38 ERA, however that comes with an impressive 2.95 xFIP. He misses bats (14.9% swinging strike rate), keeps the ball on the ground (45% groundball rate) and, most importantly, held opposing hitters to a 25% hard contact rate. He may not get the chance to close this year or next but I’m definitely intrigued. Ottavino, Britton and Robertson all project to be solid relievers for the next few seasons even if they don’t get the chance to save. Some promising young hurlers, Buttrey and Castillo, also reside in this final tier and while they may not get the chance to close in the next couple of seasons, they can sustain an impressive strikeout rate while keeping walks to a minimum. I recommend stashing in very deep formats if you can.


  1. Thank you everyone for letting me know the issue so I can try to get it resolved. Just so I know, is it only on this article that you are having the problem with?

    • I haven’t had the issue with this article, but it has been an issue on other articles for a few weeks now. Basically if you refreshed the page a couple of times it would sort itself out.

    • He just missed the cut. Limited hard contact well last season but the control was lacking and K’s dropped a bit (supported by hitters making more contact against him). He could get some saves but I just don’t trust the Orioles will have many opportunities for that in the next season or two.


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