Top 50 Relief Pitchers To Own in Dynasty Leagues

Brennen Gorman ranks the Top 50 Relief Pitchers to Own in Dynasty Leagues entering the 2018 season.

(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)

We featured the Top 25 Catchers, Top 30 First Basemen, Top 30 Second BasemenTop 30 ShortstopsTop 30 Third BasemenTop 30 OutfieldersTop 60 OutfieldersTop 90 Outfielders, Top 30 Starting Pitchers, Top 60 Starting Pitchers, and Top 90 Starting Pitchers in dynasty leagues so far this week — today, the final day, we cover relief pitchers.

My guiding principals in ranking relief pitchers are (1) production now (2) age. Outside of the top 10, there is too much uncertainty to soundly make predictions for 2019, never mind 2022. These rankings reflect who can produce now and who will likely produce over the next several years. I do not hold much stock with investing in closers, especially in dynasty. I think their best value is in making great trade pieces from a non-competitive team to a competitive team as so many of these positions turnover year-to-year (for reference, here were PitcherList’s Top 50 Relief Pitcher rankings last year).

Tier One: Elite

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers, 30)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox, 29)

3. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees, 30)

Tier Two: Longevity

4. Ken Giles (Houston Astros, 27)

5. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays, 23)

6. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers, 25)

7. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates, 26)

8. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds, 28)

9. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners, 24)

10. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians, 29)

Tier Three: Firesale

11. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres, 27)

12. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals, 31)

13. Wade Davis (Colorado Rockies, 32)

14. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles, 30)

15. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants, 33)

16. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies, 28)

17. Alexander Colome (Tampa Bay Rays, 29)

18. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals, 28)

19. Greg Holland (Free Agent, 32)

20. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets, 28)

Tier Four: Better than the Alternatives

21. Blake Treinen (Oakland Athletics, 29)

22. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels, 32)

23. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves, 27)

24. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles, 32)

25. Brandon Morrow (Chicago Cubs, 33)

26. Luke Gregerson (St. Louis Cardinals, 33)

27. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals, 23)

28. Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers, 23)

29. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians, 32)

30. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees, 30)

31. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks, 25)

32. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers, 29)

33. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins, 27)

34. Addison Reed (Minnesota Twins, 29)

35. Fernando Rodney (Minnesota Twins, 40)

36. Alex Claudio (Texas Rangers, 26)

37. Brad Boxburger (Arizona Diamondbacks, 29)

Tier Five: Everyone Else

38. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers, 24)

39. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox, 32)

40. Joakim Soria (Chicago White Sox, 33)

41. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs, 26)

42. Brendon Maurer (Kansas City Royals, 27)

43. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros, 27)

44. Brad Ziegler (Miami Marlins, 38)

45. Cam Bedrosian (Lost Angeles Angels, 26)

46. Tyler Lyons (St. Louis Cardinals, 30)

47. Tony Watson (San Francisco Giants, 32)

48. David Robertson (New York Yankees, 32)

49. AJ Ramos (New York Mets, 31)

50. Juan Minaya (Chicago White Sox, 27)

Brennen’s Notes:

  • Tier One is heavy on who is the best of the best in 2018. All three are still young enough to keep up their elite production. No question.
  • Tier Two is heavy on younger relievers who will likely remain as closers regardless of what team they’re pitching for – these are the “safe” pick at the position. I would imagine that Roberto Osuna makes the leap this year from Tier Two to Tier One.
  • Tier Three gets murky – these are all closers and many will likely keep their roles, but there begins a degree of risk to each of these picks.
  • Tier Four distilled by Yoda. Some of these players may be closers, most might be setup men, but because these are dynasty rankings – I see a future where one day the talent of Josh Hader allows him a closing spot.
  • Tier Five could slip into a role this year or they could just provide elite support. Feel like investing if you want, there are few guarantees.

I’ll be making notes in each of my rankings for players/situations/choices worth noting — if there is something specific you wish to discuss regarding the ranks — drop a comment.

Brennen Gorman

A lifetime Tigers fan (oh boy) getting ready to watch some good minor league baseball for the next few years. Liquor lawyer by trade, consumed by baseball statistics for pleasure? Yep. Seems about right.

  • Avatar Paul says:

    For dynasty purposes I would add Givens. He may be closing by the end of the year.

  • Avatar Katman says:

    I expected to see AJ Minter on this list.

    • Avatar Brennen Gorman says:

      I think as a whole the community is writing off Vizcaino too much. He was able to bring his walk rate down by nearly half from 2016 to 2017. He did struggle with the long ball a bit too much, but he was an effective closer (14/16). I think Minter is the pre-season hype setup man – not to undercut where he could be if Vizcaino does struggle, but I’m pumping the breaks on him a bit (with only 15 innings in the majors and an whelming 15 innings in AAA in 2017). Soon into the season he could move onto the list as a high-end setup man (a la Betances or Robertson), but until then consider him #51.

      • Avatar theKraken says:

        100% agree! I will leave the speculation on a pitcher with 15 MLB innings tot he rest of the crowd. I don’t think Vizcaino is that bad either.

  • Avatar jeff says:

    Hey Brennan,
    Just stumbled across this website. Awesome stuff. Looks like you’re going to provide a steady stream of minor leaguers I should add. The problem is that I just joined a dynasty league and inherited an awful team. We can hold up to 50 minor leaguers and the roster I inherited is pitiful — only two guys in the top 200! And with a deep league like ours (16 teams x 50 minor leaguers each), I need to start filling my team with under-the-radar guys.

    The problem is I really don’t know which of these guys on my roster to drop. They all seem to have SOME potential. Can you help?

    Luis Campusano, C, SD
    Dilson Herrera, 2b, Cinn
    Jose Miranda, SS, Minn
    Austin Slater, OF, SF
    Drew Ellis, 3b, AZ
    Sam McMillan, C, Det
    Kyle Holder, 2b, NYY
    Jordan Ludlow, OF, Pitt
    Ryan Cordell, OF, CWS
    Corey Ray, OF, Mil
    Andrew Velazquez, SS, TB
    Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phil
    Rafael Bautista, OF, Wash
    Austin Allen, C, SD
    Eric Haase, C, Cleve
    Frank Schwindel, 1B, KC
    Blake Perkins, OF, Wash
    Casey Gillespie, 1B, CWS
    Wes Rogers, OF, Colo
    Darick Hall, Phil
    Breyvic Valera, LAD
    Adalberto Mejia, Minn
    Austin Gomber, StL
    Keegan Akin, Balt
    Bobby Poyner, Bos
    Brendon Little, CHC
    Zack Burdi, CWS
    Trey Wingenter, SD
    Trevor Richards, Miami
    Tom Eshelman, Phil
    David Peterson, NYM
    Zack Eflin, Phil
    Dillon Maples, CHC
    Wilmur Font, LAD
    Tom Pannone, Tor
    Bryan Mata, Bos
    Dillon Maples, CHC
    Corey Oswalt, NYM
    Jordan Romero, Tor
    Caleb Smith, Mia

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    • Avatar Brennen Gorman says:

      This is quite a bit to compact – do you have an online sheet with all of the prospects taken to date?

  • Avatar jeff says:

    There’s no list of prospects that are taken, but I’ve taken a look at Rotowire’s Top 400 prospects and only found a handful that were available (Mata, Oswalt), and I grabbed them.

    I guess i wasn’t looking so much for individual analysis (you are probably way too busy for that) for each player as much as just hoping that perhaps there were a handful of guys you knew off the top of your head who jumped out to you as guys you really thought had big-time potential and/or guys with very limited upside that I could drop.

    Thanks

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