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Rest-of-Season Relief Pitcher Rankings (Midseason Update)

The trade deadline approaches and bullpen speculation is running rampant, with the battle for saves likely deciding which spot on the podium you'll stand on. We here at RotoBaller want to give you the inside track for a successful second half with a Rest-of-Season update of our mixed rankings analysis. RotoBaller writers Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Bill Dubiel and Scott Engel want you to crush the competition and know that rankings can't end on draft day. Check out our fantasy baseball rankings dashboard for the latest and greatest ranks at any time.

Only three RP-eligible players are within the top-50 on Yahoo's 5x5 standard scoring system, but then things really open up. Of course, the relief pool goes well beyond closers that accrue saves. I realize innings and roster spots are precious, but Scott Oberg and Ryan Pressly are top-100 players too. Keep an open mind and let's talk bullpens.

Without any more delay, let's break down the 2019 relief pitcher rest-of-season rankings for July.

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!


Relief Pitcher Tiered Ranks - 5x5 Mixed Leagues (July)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Ranking Tier Player Position Nick Pierre Bill
1 1 Kirby Yates RP 52 59 55
2 1 Aroldis Chapman RP 62 46 66
3 1 Josh Hader RP 47 45 83
4 1 Kenley Jansen RP 66 48 70
5 1 Edwin Diaz RP 90 49 72
6 1 Brad Hand RP 80 47 86
7 2 Felipe Vazquez RP 97 53 100
8 2 Roberto Osuna RP 96 58 99
9 2 Craig Kimbrel RP 92 60 112
10 2 Sean Doolittle RP 99 87 105
11 3 Ken Giles RP 119 106 121
12 3 Will Smith RP 173 65 175
13 3 Hector Neris RP 149 115 150
14 4 Shane Greene RP 183 92 185
15 4 Liam Hendriks RP 196 110 176
16 4 Raisel Iglesias RP 220 67 222
17 4 Alex Colome RP 206 117 209
18 4 Luke Jackson RP 176 138 223
19 4 Wade Davis RP 234 116 196
20 4 Greg Holland RP 218 131 220
21 4 Taylor Rogers RP 203 164 207
22 4 Hansel Robles RP 223 133 224
23 4 Jose Leclerc RP 221 149 221
24 4 Blake Treinen RP 174 150 271
25 5 Matt Barnes RP 224 204 226
26 5 Carlos Martinez SP/RP 228 272 200
27 5 Ryan Pressly RP 231 257 233
28 5 Emilio Pagan RP 245 245 245
29 5 Hunter Strickland RP 377 172 385
30 5 Blake Parker RP 299 203 298
31 5 Roenis Elias RP 301 207 304
32 5 Diego Castillo RP/SP 269 301 243
33 5 Brad Peacock RP/SP 294 256 266
34 5 Jeremy Jeffress RP 311 210 305
35 5 Reyes Moronta RP 328 163 351
36 5 Mychal Givens RP 355 142 358
37 6 Michael Lorenzen RP 327 209 335
38 6 Shawn Kelley RP 239 274 363
39 6 A.J. Minter RP 296 269 312
40 6 Nick Anderson RP 349 #N/A 238
41 6 Ty Buttrey RP 344 205 348
42 6 Pedro Strop RP 345 208 350
43 6 Adam Ottavino RP 305 293 309
44 6 Joe Biagini SP/RP #N/A 305 #N/A
45 6 Joe Jimenez RP 366 175 375
46 6 Andrew Miller RP 360 198 364
47 6 Zack Britton RP 353 236 356
48 6 Ryan Brasier RP 341 268 346
49 7 Lou Trivino RP 363 278 369
50 7 Jose Alvarado RP 207 310 211
51 7 Chris Martin RP 376 266 384
52 7 Matt Strahm RP/SP 350 350 350
53 7 Brandon Workman RP 362 352 368
54 7 Sergio Romo RP 401 292 410
55 7 David Robertson RP 364 404 371
56 7 Adam Conley SP/RP 385 #N/A 381
57 7 Sam Dyson RP 428 306 437
58 7 Mark Melancon RP 347 465 365
59 7 Seranthony Dominguez RP 391 #N/A 399
60 7 Marcus Walden RP 383 419 392
61 7 Kelvin Herrera RP 370 452 374
62 7 Dellin Betances RP 365 476 373
63 7 Cody Allen RP #N/A 405 #N/A
64 7 Brandon Morrow RP 386 447 382
65 7 Seth Lugo SP/RP 403 #N/A 412
66 7 Anthony Swarzak RP 368 484 377
67 7 Yusmeiro Petit RP #N/A 411 #N/A
68 7 Alex Reyes SP/RP 420 402 427
69 7 Brandon Kintzler RP #N/A 421 #N/A
70 7 Archie Bradley RP 498 265 502
71 7 Steve Cishek RP 423 416 431
72 7 Elieser Hernandez SP/RP 369 526 378
73 7 Kyle Crick RP 424 #N/A 433
74 7 Keone Kela RP #N/A 500 372
75 7 Sam Gaviglio SP/RP 480 425 407
76 7 Trevor May RP #N/A 439 #N/A
77 8 Yoshihisa Hirano RP 439 429 453
78 8 Brad Boxberger RP #N/A 441 #N/A
79 8 Trevor Rosenthal RP #N/A #N/A 442
80 8 Corbin Burnes SP/RP 426 475 429
81 8 Carl Edwards Jr. RP 437 #N/A 451
82 8 Craig Stammen RP 444 #N/A 459
83 8 Drew Steckenrider RP #N/A 453 #N/A
84 8 Anthony Bass RP #N/A #N/A 454
85 8 Nick Goody RP 448 #N/A 463
86 8 Jared Hughes RP 449 #N/A 464
87 8 Wily Peralta SP/RP #N/A 469 457
88 8 Joe Kelly RP 457 #N/A 473
89 8 Shawn Armstrong RP 445 497 460
90 8 Jeurys Familia RP #N/A 514 441
91 8 Cam Bedrosian RP #N/A 496 #N/A
92 8 Chad Green RP #N/A 506 #N/A
93 8 Alex Claudio RP #N/A 508 #N/A
94 8 Brad Brach RP #N/A 503 538
95 9 Pat Neshek RP #N/A #N/A 524
96 9 Robert Gsellman SP/RP #N/A #N/A 525
97 9 Luke Gregerson RP #N/A 485 565
98 9 Adam Cimber RP #N/A #N/A 526
99 9 Luis Cessa RP #N/A 527 #N/A
100 9 Fernando Rodney RP #N/A 507 553

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

Yates, Chapman, Hader, Jansen, Diaz and Hand find themselves at the top, with Diaz being the clear grandfathered exception, whereas the others’ performances are worthy of top-five discussion in 2019. While I personally have Hader over Yates due to the insane strikeout rate and league-leading 1.66 SIERA, I can’t be upset at Yates winding up numero uno. His 30 saves lead the league, which has helped make him the top closer thus far.

Considering past save rate isn’t exactly predictive, I’ll take Hader’s absurd 50.3% strikeout rate and 42.3% K-BB mark. Chapman doesn’t casually touch 104 mph anymore, but his increased slider usage makes him a different kind of nasty. Jansen has rebounded from low-velo concerns in kind and Hand is fantasy’s third-best stopper in 5x5 formats.

Tier Two

Vazquez is filthy but the Pirates could ship him to a team that doesn’t use him in the ninth. It’s unlikely, but possible given Pittsburgh’s lot. Osuna is humming right along, though only 40 K’s in 38 ⅔ IP is surprising. Doolittle’s metrics have slipped since last season (1.95 SIERA in ‘18, up to 3.80 in ‘19) but he went from a career-low .196 BABIP last year to a career-high .351 thus far.

You’re likely most intrigued by Kimbrel, who has only logged five appearances in the majors through July 14. Two of the first three resulted in a combined five earned runs as he shakes off the rust, but he’s had a clean last two appearances for saves. Expecting peak Kimbrel right out of the gate is silly, but Craig has yet to post a SIERA south of 2.93 or strikeout rate below 36% in his career. Take whatever discount you can get here.

Tier Three

Giles is working through nerve inflammation in his right elbow, but remember Hader’s elite marks from before? Well, Mr. Ken’s 2.07 SIERA, 43.4% K rate and 36.1% K-BB mark are second only to Hader out of qualified relievers. Giles is a likely trade candidate and I’d knock him up to Tier Two if he retains a closing role.

Will Smith is all but gone at the Trade Deadline, so your gamble will be on whether the southpaw takes the eighth or the ninth on his new squad. Neris is a volatile arm that rides or dies with his splitter command, but most other options that Philly entered the year with are injured.


Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

An unfortunate facet of the RP ranks going last in the article rotation is that bullpens are the most volatile. You could subtract 100 from Hendriks for me and add it to Blake Treinen, putting him into Tier Three. I love what we’re seeing from Liam while Treinen simply doesn’t inspire any confidence right now.

Shane Greene and Alex Colome aren’t as strong a trade candidate as Will Smith, but they’re close. Wade Davis must deal with Coors and has quite the rocky season to date, while Jose LeClerc may never see the ninth this year. We still have to respect his top-10 abilities when on, but he seems to blow it whenever he nears the ninth.

Tier Five

It appears Carlos Martinez should hold onto the closer’s job in 2019, what with his 2.18 ERA/0.97 WHIP over 20 ⅔ IP. After posting an elevated 11.5% walk rate in ‘18, it’s nice to see an early 8.8% mark in ‘19. Jordan Hicks isn’t coming back this season and CarMart makes a nice RP2/3 in 12-team formats.

With Jose Alvarado on the shelf for roughly six weeks, Emilio Pagan could be on many first-place teams, though I think Diego Castillo works back into a 50/50 split. Both should be owned in most leagues.

I’m done speculating on Jeremy Jeffress -- it looks like any hopes of a split like last season are six feet under. Hunter Strickland is also nearing dump territory thanks to a setback already in the books on top of the lengthy injury. He’ll then need to show he’s game-ready again.

Tier Six

Kelley is the clear favorite for me in this group, with my feelings illustrated with Jose LeClerc’s tepid blurb. Lorenzen is the other name that can get you some saves, though he’s clearly still the 1B to Raisel Iglesias’ 1A at the back-end. Meanwhile, A.J. Minter has scooped some saves when Luke Jackson is resting, but Minter won’t produce enough value on his own to warrant playing without a regular closing role.

Since our ranks got put in, it was made fairly clear that Daniel Hudson has leapfrogged Joe Biagini as the heir apparent to Ken Giles’ ninth should a trade go down. Joe Jimenez has also looked better of late and warrants top-300 consideration for sure.


Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Seven

Obviously, you’re burying Alvarado in the ranks here. These are mostly dart throws that would require an injury, demotion or miraculous recovery to hit it big. Most require more than one of those. Rehabbers include Philly’s David Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez, the Cubbies’ Brandon Morrow and the Yanks’ Dellin Betances - who was recently cleared to start throwing.

Mark Melancon could be one of the last men standing in San Francisco after Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson potentially fetch some prospects. I still think Moronta is the one to own, but the Giants may do their darndest to give Melancon and his awful contract some trade value.

The best value in this tier likely comes from Boston's Brandon Workman, but his .169 BABIP underscores the 4.06 SIERA behind the 1.74 ERA. Tread carefully.

Tiers Eight & Nine

If the dart throws came earlier than these are the weighted darts that will take even more effort to hit any sort of bullseye with. In fact, you should consider yourself lucky if you score any points with them at all.

Folks such as Yoshihisa Hirano could take the D-backs role from Greg Holland, though Yoan Lopez is impressing in the eighth. Corbin Burnes could reenter the rotation at some point, but we can’t lean on him until he curbs the longball issue. Fernando Rodney is Fernando Rodney, but Washington is desperate for bullpen help and their crumminess means Rodney is already Doolittle’s backup. Doolittle is great but is not known for his durability.

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