Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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July Reliever Rankings

Monday, July 1, 2013

Here are the July reliever rankings. As always, players are ranked based on how I believe they will perform in 5x5 scoring over the rest of the season. Included along with the position rankings you'll find a fully updated top 300 list.



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Click to see other July rankings:

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



Relief pitcher Rankings

Dropping off: Brandon League (No. 23), Jose Valverde (No. 38), Brian Wilson (No. 48), Carter Capps (No. 51), Ryan Madson (No. 57), Sam LeCure (No. 59), Robert Coello (No. 61), J.J. Hoover (No. 66), Tim Collins (No. 69), Joe Smith (No. 70)


  • Teams that might trade their closers this month:


Somewhat likely: Cubs, Astros, Marlins, Phillies

Less likely: White Sox, Twins, Indians, Mets, Rockies, Padres


I didn't include the Brewers in the list, since they'll keep their closer (Henderson). However, they should have both K-Rod and Axford on the block, and it's possible one of them could close for another team, though it's more likely that they'd remain setup men.


Gregg would seem to be the closer most likely to go, and it's a mess behind him in the Cubs pen, one without even Carlos Marmol as a fallback option any longer. Russell, Carlos Villanueva and Parker look like the favorite for saves at the moment, but it's such a fluid situation that none crack the top 60 here. Villanueva remains listed with the starting pitchers since he's a candidate to go back into the rotation when Garza is traded.


The Astros could close with either Ambriz or Cisnero if Veras goes. Ambriz has been the eighth-inning guy, so he would seem to have the early edge. Cisnero looks like the better pitcher, though I doubt he'll maintain anything close to his current 2.14 ERA.


Ramos hasn't been good enough to deserve a look as the sole closer in Miami if Cishek is traded, but I still think he's the best bet of the group. My guess is that they'll end up keeping Cishek anyway since no one seems likely to step forward with a particularly bold offer.


I don't think Papelbon goes either, but if it happens, Bastardo would seem to be the top choice for saves in Philadelphia. Ideally, Phillippe Aumont would step up and give the Phillies a righty alternative, but that still may be a ways off from happening.


As for the rest: the White Sox are far more likely to trade Crain than Reed, though they've moved young relievers before when the price was right. The Twins have Perkins signed cheap for a couple of more years, so they have little interest in making a move. Trading Perez would be a gutsy move for the Indians. I think it's unlikely, but they could go back to Pestano if it happens. Parnell is in the same class with Reed, and I don't imagine that another team will step forward with the kind of offer it would take to pry him away from the Mets. In Colorado, Brothers has emerged as the team's best reliever. The Rockies, though, are probably going to have to keep both he and Betancourt, even if Brothers takes over as closer. The Padres will probably be open to moving Street, but as awful as he's looked, it seems unlikely that anyone will want him.


  • I'm keeping Bailey ranked above Uehara in Boston. This is the first time in his career that he's ever struggled like this, and the Red Sox had no choice but to replace him for a spell. However, he is healthy and a quick turnaround remains a possibility. The Red Sox would prefer to have Uehara in a setup role, so there's little doubt they'll go back to Bailey once he shows he's ready.


  • I'm also sticking with the former closer in Seattle, even though Wilhelmsen is a mess right now. Medina has a long history of control problems and while Perez has been a great find, he's still primarily a matchup guy. I'd take Medina for July, but Wilhelmsen for the rest of the season.


  • Thanks to the spectacular failures of Bell, Putz is waltzing right back into his old closer gig in Arizona. However, I remain skeptical about his chances of holding up while pitching with a damaged elbow. That's why he comes in at No. 30 rather than 10 spots higher.


  • Because of the possibility they'll become setup men as a result of trades, Gregg and Veras are also lower than they otherwise might be.


  • Benoit is another who could be turned back into a setup man by a trade, though in his case, it'd be because the Tigers would acquire someone to close over him. I think that's likely to happen at the end of the month, but if it doesn't, it's entirely possible Benoit will be a top-15 fantasy closer the rest of the way.



1 Craig Kimbrel Braves 1 1 1
2 Aroldis Chapman Reds 2 2 2
3 Mariano Rivera Yankees 5 3 3
4 Jason Grilli Pirates 30 12 5
5 Jonathan Papelbon Phillies 4 4 4
6 Rafael Soriano Nationals 6 6 7
7 Jim Johnson Orioles 11 8 8
8 Joe Nathan Rangers 8 7 9
9 Glen Perkins Twins 9 10 10
10 Kenley Jansen Dodgers 28 31 27
11 Addison Reed White Sox 10 9 6
12 Grant Balfour Athletics 22 16 12
13 Edward Mujica Cardinals 88 23 13
14 Fernando Rodney Rays 3 5 15
15 Greg Holland Royals 17 17 17
16 Sergio Romo Giants 12 11 14
17 Casey Janssen Blue Jays 25 21 18
18 Ernesto Frieri Angels 33 25 20
19 Bobby Parnell Mets 23 22 16
20 Chris Perez Indians 19 14 24
21 Jim Henderson Brewers 141 24 31
22 Jose Veras Astros 35 36 32
23 Rafael Betancourt Rockies 24 18 26
24 Huston Street Padres 13 20 25
25 Joaquin Benoit Tigers 40 37 36
26 Andrew Bailey Red Sox 63 29 19
27 Kevin Gregg Cubs 266 34 21
28 Rex Brothers Rockies 52 46 28
29 Steve Cishek Marlins 21 26 37
30 J.J. Putz Diamondbacks 15 19 NR
31 Koji Uehara Red Sox 59 52 50
32 Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners 16 13 11
33 Mark Melancon Pirates 29 32 30
34 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals 46 30 29
35 Yoervis Medina Mariners 458 NR NR
36 Vinnie Pestano Indians 48 51 33
37 Jake McGee Rays 44 NR 52
38 Tanner Scheppers Rangers 131 NR 45
39 Francisco Rodriguez Brewers 85 NR 34
40 Sean Doolittle Athletics 32 33 35
41 David Robertson Yankees 53 56 44
42 Jesse Crain White Sox 101 NR 55
43 Ryan Cook Athletics 36 41 47
44 A.J. Ramos Marlins 57 44 43
45 Drew Smyly Tigers 151 SP 91 SP 105 SP
46 David Hernandez Diamondbacks 43 49 42
47 Joel Peralta Rays 70 NR 40
48 John Axford Brewers 7 39 46
49 Luke Gregerson Padres 69 48 39
50 Tyler Clippard Nationals 56 NR 58
51 Bruce Rondon Tigers 47 58 53
52 Luis Avilan Braves 79 NR 65
53 Oliver Perez Mariners 196 NR NR
54 Junichi Tazawa Red Sox 54 47 41
55 Jose Cisnero Astros 338 SP NR NR
56 Heath Bell Diamondbacks 90 NR 22
57 Jared Burton Twins 65 55 49
58 Hector Ambriz Astros 221 NR 56
59 Darren O'Day Orioles 67 NR 54
60 Robbie Ross Rangers 100 NR 62
61 Drew Storen Nationals 41 54 63
62 Brad Ziegler Diamondbacks 94 NR 68
63 James Russell Cubs 144 59 67
64 Tommy Hunter Orioles 82 NR NR
65 Antonio Bastardo Phillies 77 NR NR
66 Jordan Walden Braves 68 NR NR
67 Al Alburquerque Tigers 37 40 NR
68 Dale Thayer Padres 150 NR 60
69 Cody Allen Indians 116 NR 64
70 Blake Parker Cubs NR NR NR

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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