Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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May Reliever Rankings

Monday, May 6, 2013

Welcome to the May reliever rankings. Players are ranked based on how I believe they will perform in 5x5 leagues over the remainder of the season. Along with the position rankings, you'll soon find a fully updated top 300 list.


Click to see other May rankings:

Top 300 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH


Relief pitcher Rankings

Dropping off: Jason Motte (No. 18), Mitchell Boggs (No. 34), Sergio Santos (No. 38), Jake McGee (No. 44), Phil Coke (No. 45), Tyler Clippard (No. 56), Frank Francisco (No. 58), George Kontos (No. 60)


  • Axford was likely a couple of good appearances away from getting another shot in the closer's role until giving up four runs on May 1. Now, that outing was hardly all his fault -- the homer he allowed came on a pretty good pitch -- but he lost the benefit of the doubt over the course of his awful first 10 days. Now it seems clear that the Brewers job belongs to Henderson until he does something to let it slip away. I'm not all that high on him, but there's no arguing with his numbers so far.


  • I would have ranked Hanrahan above Bailey even if not for Bailey's little biceps problem last week, though I would have been a bit more nervous about it then. I had Hanrahan with the sixth best ERA in the Boston pen this year, so it's not as though I think he's the team's best reliever. However, I do believe everything sets up better with him in the ninth. Bailey and Uehara both need to be handled carefully, and Hanrahan's wildness is problematic in a setup role, since you don't want him coming in with men on base very often.


  • Rosenthal has fanned 12 while allowing two runs -- one earned -- in his last 7 1/3 innings of work. With a lights out first two weeks, he probably would have gotten a crack at closing duties over Mujica in St. Louis. Mujica hasn't had any missteps yet, but given that he's allowed a homer for every seven innings of work in his career, he doesn't make for an ideal closer. As for Carlos Martinez, I did give a little thought to putting him in the top 60, but I thought it was a bit too early for that. He certainly has the stuff to make a big impact in a setup role if his command holds up.



RankRelief PitcherTeam2013
1 Craig Kimbrel Braves 1
2 Aroldis Chapman Reds 2
3 Mariano Rivera Yankees 5
4 Jonathan Papelbon Phillies 4
5 Fernando Rodney Rays 3
6 Rafael Soriano Nationals 6
7 Joe Nathan Rangers 8
8 Jim Johnson Orioles 11
9 Addison Reed White Sox 10
10 Glen Perkins Twins 9
11 Sergio Romo Giants 12
12 Jason Grilli Pirates 30
13 Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners 16
14 Chris Perez Indians 19
15 Brandon League Dodgers 20
16 Grant Balfour Athletics 22
17 Greg Holland Royals 17
18 Rafael Betancourt Rockies 24
19 J.J. Putz Diamondbacks 15
20 Huston Street Padres 13
21 Casey Janssen Blue Jays 25
22 Bobby Parnell Mets 23
23 Edward Mujica Cardinals 88
24 Jim Henderson Brewers 141
25 Ernesto Frieri Angels 33
26 Steve Cishek Marlins 21
27 Joel Hanrahan Red Sox 14
28 Jose Valverde Tigers 64
29 Andrew Bailey Red Sox 63
30 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals 46
31 Kenley Jansen Dodgers 28
32 Mark Melancon Pirates 29
33 Sean Doolittle Athletics 32
34 Kevin Gregg Cubs 266
35 Ryan Madson Angels 26
36 Jose Veras Astros 35
37 Joaquin Benoit Tigers 40
38 Kyuji Fujikawa Cubs 27
39 John Axford Brewers 7
40 Al Alburquerque Tigers 37
41 Ryan Cook Athletics 36
42 Kelvin Herrera Royals 39
43 Brian Wilson   42
44 A.J. Ramos Marlins 57
45 Santiago Casilla Giants 49
46 Rex Brothers Rockies 52
47 Junichi Tazawa Red Sox 54
48 Luke Gregerson Padres 69
49 David Hernandez Diamondbacks 43
50 Carter Capps Mariners 51
51 Vinnie Pestano Indians 48
52 Koji Uehara Red Sox 59
53 Carlos Marmol Cubs 31
54 Drew Storen Nationals 41
55 Jared Burton Twins 65
56 David Robertson Yankees 53
57 Aaron Crow Royals 55
58 Bruce Rondon Tigers 47
59 James Russell Cubs 144
60 Sean Marshall Reds 50

Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot

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