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Updated Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings and Relief Pitcher Rankings

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Welcome back RotoBallers to more fantasy baseball rankings! With Spring Training rolling and the fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, it's time to look at closers and relief pitchers and see who may or may not be fantasy-relevant and worthy of a draft pick this season.

RotoBaller's lead MLB rankers - JB Branson, Pierre Camus, Ariel Cohen, Nicklaus Gaut, and Nick Mariano - have all updated their 2022 fantasy baseball mixed league roto rankings to help you prepare for draft day. You can also find our other draft rankings for all sorts of league formats, continually updated throughout the preseason, right here in our main fantasy baseball Rankings Wizard tool.

Make sure to follow our 24x7 news feed of fantasy baseball news and injuries. And more importantly, download our free fantasy sports mobile app to receive real-time alerts and push notifications on the latest MLB news. The app has just been updated, and has all of our articles too. Also, make use of all our premium resources with our MLB Draft Kit.

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Updated Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season, and Ariel Cohen was the top ranker in 2019. In addition, ATC Projections by Ariel Cohen have been the #1 most accurate projections system for the past three years. Be sure to follow their updated rankings and projections all season long!

Reliever
Rank
Reliever
Tier
Player Position Overall
Rank
Overall
Tier
1 1 Liam Hendriks RP 36 3
2 1 Josh Hader RP 40 3
3 2 Raisel Iglesias RP 66 5
4 2 Ryan Pressly RP 76 5
5 2 Craig Kimbrel RP 79 5
6 2 Emmanuel Clase RP 81 5
7 2 Edwin Diaz RP 83 5
8 3 Kenley Jansen RP 91 5
9 3 Aroldis Chapman RP 93 6
10 3 Jordan Romano RP 108 6
11 3 Giovanny Gallegos RP 123 7
12 4 Michael Kopech RP 145 8
13 4 Corey Knebel RP 147 8
14 4 Taylor Rogers RP 149 8
15 4 Scott Barlow RP 178 10
16 4 Ranger Suarez SP/RP 184 10
17 4 Mark Melancon RP 190 10
18 4 Andrew Kittredge RP 199 11
19 5 David Bednar RP 215 11
20 5 Tanner Houck SP/RP 221 11
21 5 Matt Barnes RP 224 12
22 5 Lucas Sims RP 226 12
23 5 Camilo Doval RP 228 12
24 5 Gregory Soto RP 234 12
25 6 Paul Sewald RP 246 12
26 6 Devin Williams RP 248 12
27 6 Blake Treinen RP 249 12
28 6 Garrett Whitlock RP 258 13
29 6 Jake McGee RP 266 13
30 6 Lou Trivino RP 267 13
31 6 Cal Quantrill SP/RP 269 13
32 6 Anthony Bender RP 273 13
33 6 Dylan Floro RP 274 13
34 6 Robert Suarez RP 278 13
35 6 Kyle Finnegan RP 282 13
36 6 Nestor Cortes Jr. SP/RP 283 14
37 6 Cole Sulser RP 284 14
38 7 Drew Rasmussen SP/RP 287 14
39 7 Aaron Ashby RP 288 14
40 7 Rowan Wick RP 294 14
41 7 Joe Barlow RP 296 14
42 7 Jonathan Loaisiga RP 297 14
43 7 William Smith RP 299 14
44 7 Emilio Pagan RP 303 14
45 7 Cristian Javier SP/RP 308 14
46 7 Chad Green RP 310 14
47 7 Diego Castillo RP 318 15
48 7 Daniel Bard RP 327 15
49 7 Dinelson Lamet SP/RP 330 15
50 7 Chris Stratton RP 331 15
51 7 Alex Colome RP 333 15
52 8 Pierce Johnson RP 335 15
53 8 Drew Steckenrider RP 339 15
54 8 David Robertson RP 342 16
55 8 Spencer Patton RP 349 16
56 8 Hunter Strickland RP 353 16
57 8 Mychal Givens RP 354 16
58 8 Daniel Hudson RP 355 16
59 8 Luis Cessa RP 367 16
60 8 Michael Fulmer RP 368 16
61 8 Art Warren RP 369 16
62 8 Tyler Wells RP 372 16
63 8 Hector Neris RP 389 17
64 8 Jorge Alcala RP 391 17
65 9 Chris Martin RP 398 17
66 9 Manuel Rodriguez RP 406 18
67 9 Tanner Rainey RP 407 18
68 9 James Karinchak RP 409 18
69 9 Matt Bush RP 410 18
70 9 Tyler Rogers RP 418 18
71 9 Aaron Bummer RP 420 18
72 9 Brusdar Graterol RP 421 18
73 9 Trevor May RP 425 18
74 9 Garrett Crochet RP 437 18
75 9 A.J. Puk RP 439 18
76 9 Collin McHugh SP/RP 440 18
77 10 Ryan Yarbrough SP/RP 448 19
78 10 Jeffrey Springs RP 450 19
79 10 Kendall Graveman RP 468 20
80 10 Ken Giles RP 472 20
81 10 Matt Wisler RP 475 20
82 10 Ryan Thompson RP 480 20
83 10 Josh Staumont RP 484 20
84 10 Alex Reyes RP 486 20
85 10 Tim Mayza RP 488 20
86 10 Trevor Richards RP 496 20
87 10 Trevor Rosenthal RP 503 20
88 10 Jake Cousins RP 504 20
89 10 Brent Suter RP 507 20
90 10 Joely Rodriguez RP 508 20
91 10 Mike Mayers RP 509 20
92 10 Rafael Montero RP 510 20
93 10 Carlos Estevez RP 511 20
94 10 Adbert Alzolay SP/RP 514 20
95 11 Tommy Kahnle RP 517 20
96 11 Paul Fry RP 519 20
97 11 Brad Hand RP 523 20
98 11 Nick Sandlin RP 525 20
99 11 Jake Diekman RP 527 20
100 11 Seth Lugo RP 530 20
101 11 Michael Lorenzen RP 540 21
102 11 Caleb Thielbar RP 549 21
103 11 Ian Kennedy RP 551 21
104 11 A.J. Minter RP 552 21
105 11 Andrew Chafin RP 553 21
106 11 Steven Okert RP 555 21
107 12 Ross Stripling SP/RP 557 21
108 12 Robert Stephenson RP 558 21
109 12 Jake Brentz RP 559 21
110 12 Jose Alvarado RP 564 21
111 12 Jarlin Garcia RP 567 21
112 12 Darwinzon Hernandez RP 568 21
113 12 Colin Poche RP 570 21
114 12 Tyler Matzek RP 572 21
115 12 Caleb Ferguson RP 574 21
116 12 J.P. Feyereisen RP 575 21
117 13 Andres Munoz RP 578 21
118 13 Phil Maton RP 584 21
119 13 Jordan Hicks RP 587 21
120 13 Tyler Alexander SP/RP 589 21
121 13 JT Chargois RP 590 22
122 13 Genesis Cabrera RP 592 22
123 13 Casey Sadler RP 594 22
124 13 Amir Garrett RP 596 22
125 13 Randy Dobnak SP/RP 604 22
126 13 Austin Adams RP 609 22
127 14 Tim Hill RP 611 22
128 14 Yimi Garcia RP 612 22
129 14 John King RP 616 22
130 14 Alex Vesia RP 620 23
131 14 Connor Brogdon RP 622 23
132 14 Anthony Bass RP 626 23
133 14 Ryan Tepera RP 627 23
134 14 Caleb Smith SP/RP 628 23
135 14 Richard Bleier RP 630 23
136 14 Julian Merryweather RP 631 23
137 14 Hansel Robles RP 632 23
138 14 Tony Watson RP 634 23
139 14 Aaron Loup RP 641 23
140 14 Drew Pomeranz RP 644 23
141 14 Mitch White SP/RP 645 23
142 14 Reynaldo Lopez SP/RP 646 23
143 14 Deolis Guerra RP 649 23
144 14 Joe Kelly RP 657 23
145 15 Bryan Garcia RP 661 23
146 15 Tyler Duffey RP 667 23
147 15 Clay Holmes RP 669 23
148 15 Brad Boxberger RP 671 23
149 15 Nick Wittgren RP 674 23
150 15 Richard Rodriguez RP 675 23
151 15 Adam Ottavino RP 676 23
152 15 Josh Sborz RP 678 23
153 15 Luke Jackson RP 682 23
154 15 Phil Bickford RP 684 23
155 15 Sammy Long SP/RP 685 23
156 15 Josh Taylor RP 686 23
157 15 Tanner Scott RP 689 23
158 15 Kervin Castro RP 692 23
159 15 Craig Stammen RP 695 23
160 15 Pete Fairbanks RP 702 23
161 15 Anthony Misiewicz RP 703 23
162 15 Jose Leclerc RP 705 23
163 15 Sean Newcomb RP 706 23
164 15 Dominic Leone RP 707 23
165 15 Nick Anderson RP 710 23
166 15 Brooks Raley RP 711 23
167 15 Jose Quijada RP 723 23
168 15 Heath Hembree RP 726 23
169 15 Thomas Hatch RP 728 23
170 15 Alex Faedo RP 729 23
171 15 Tony Santillan RP 732 23
172 15 Sam Coonrod RP 736 23
173 15 Greg Holland RP 737 23
174 15 Ryan Helsley RP 739 23
175 15 Ryne Stanek RP 742 23
176 15 Sergio Romo RP 744 23
177 15 Alec Mills SP/RP 747 23
178 15 Jorge Lopez SP/RP 749 23
179 15 John Gant SP/RP 764 23
180 15 Jose Cisnero RP 767 23
181 15 Dylan Coleman RP 773 24
182 15 Bailey Falter SP/RP 778 24
183 15 Paolo Espino SP/RP 781 24
184 15 J.B. Wendelken RP 790 24
185 15 Scott Effross RP 792 24
186 15 Spencer Strider SP/RP 793 24
187 15 Kirby Yates RP 796 24
188 15 Josh Fleming SP/RP 802 24
189 15 J.B. Bukauskas RP 804 24

 

Tier 1

It's Hendriks or Hader here, and if you want to nab an elite closer this season, you're going to need to draft one early. These two are going in the third round of drafts.

I would be fine taking either of them, but I lean towards Hendriks as do our rankings. After posting 38 saves last season, he's primed for another huge year with Chicago. I have nothing against Hader, but the walks really stand out here when you compare them to how incredibly efficient Hendriks was (less than one walk per nine innings).

Personally, I have been punting saves in some of my drafts this year as I have been trying to get some leverage on other owners in my leagues who are paying a premium for closers. If you're not comfortable with that strategy or just don't want to spend a third-round pick on these two, then there are still quality closers to be had in the next few tiers, too.

 

Tier 2

Raisel Iglesias and Edwin Diaz stand out here to me as the cream of the crop in this tier. Both had over 30 saves last year and the unquestioned closers for their respective teams (good teams, that should win a lot of games).

Iglesias continued to increase his K% while decreasing his BB% for the fourth-straight season - you know what you're getting with him at this point in his career. Diaz saw his ERA puff up to 3.45 last year, but his underlying numbers were just fine. With the elite starting pitching the Mets have put together and the above-average collection of bats, he could find himself in more save situations than he did last season.

UPDATE: Craig Kimbrel has been traded to the Dodgers in exchange for outfielder A.J. Pollack.

That really throws a wrinkle in the rankings and of course, it happened the same day this article was published! That's par for the course with this wacky post-lockout Spring that we have had so far. If you already grabbed Kimbrel in the late rounds, then congratulations on snagging the best value closer. He's going to get a ton of save opportunities for a title contender and Blake Treinen had already gone on record that he preferred working as a setup man. Our rankings have slotted him in fifth overall right between these next arms.

Ryan Pressly and Emmanuel Clase are the next two closers here. Both are solid options coming off 26 and 24 save seasons, respectively. We have Pressly ahead of Clase and that's likely due to the higher K% and pitching for a better team. Both guys had sub-one WHIPs last season and don't mess around with walks.

 

Tier 3

As we drop down into Tier 3, we are now talking about guys you are taking in rounds 8-12 basically and there's far less certainty here, which explains why the prices for the top handful of elite closers continue to go up.

Kenley Jansen gets dropped to Tier 3 mainly due to the fact that it's likely he splits some save opportunities with lefty Will Smith. He's still at the top of his game and joins a talented Braves team, but it's hard to take him ahead of the rest of these guys who have a stranglehold on the high-leverage situations.

I had a whole section on why to avoid Treinen here, but that's a moot point now with the Kimbrel trade, so let's look at the other relevant relievers instead.

I'd prefer Aroldis Chapman or youngster Jordan Romano ahead of Treinen. Chapman can be a drag on your WHIP with all the walks, but he still saved 30 games last season and the Yankees don't really have anyone else in that bullpen who's a threat to his save situations. I really like Romano in Toronto this year and if the Blue Jays don't beat everyone by 10 runs every night with that elite offense, he's got a great chance at 30 saves with solid ratios.

Giovanny Gallegos is another young closer worth considering here, but he carries some risk too, as it was recently reported that the Cardinals could also use a committee approach to closing out games. Despite his electric stuff, St. Louis has several other really good arms in that pen too that they could choose to use in save situations. My buddy Eric Samulski sums it up well with this tweet.

Hicks is a phenom and going to be used in plenty of high leverage situations, too. They're both excellent young arms and Gallegos certainly won't hurt you if your league counts holds as well as saves with his solid ratios.

 

Tier 4

This tier is loaded with guys who are either splitting the closing duties, who play for below-average teams where they won't get as many save situations, or lack the elite strikeout upside that we see from the upper-tier closers (see Melancon, Mark).

Rather than talk about any of them, I'd much rather implore you to draft Michael Kopech here. After pitching out of the pen last season (and looking incredible), he's slated to move to the rotation this year and I love the idea of getting a starter with RP eligibility. Kopech's stuff is downright filthy and while he probably will have pitch counts and inning limitations, he could pile up strikeouts and wins as a starter with good ratios too.

Ranger Suarez is another SP/RP here in this tier, and while he was lights out down the stretch, he relied a lot more on an elite groundball rate than he did on swing-and-miss stuff. I'm fine grabbing him around picks 180-190 and hoping it wasn't a fluke.

Corey Knebel and Taylor Rogers are both $8 auction values and then it drops to $5 closers here with Barlow, Melancon, and Kitteredge. Knebel is my favorite of the bunch and he could rack up saves in bunches if the Phillies have a big year. The Twins made a splash by getting Correa in the offseason and could contend in the AL Central, too.

 

Tier 5

Could I interest you in another starter or two who are also SP-eligible? Tanner Houck stands out to me here as he had elite strikeout stuff last season while swapping back and forth between the pen and the rotation. He's being drafted as many as 40-60 picks too late, according to our rankings when compared to his ADP.

Cal Quantrill will be starting for the Guardians too, though he doesn't have the same strikeout potential as Houck. He put together an excellent second half last season and was a solid inning-eater with good run prevention if nothing else.

As far as the other closers in this tier go, I know a lot of people are enamored with Lucas Sims, but the Reds might be bad and he's already set to open the season on the injured list. He's not someone you should take ahead of Barlow, Bednar, or Kitteredge despite his upside.

Camilo Doval is pretty clearly the best young arm of the trio of Giants closers, but it still sounds like they'll close by committee. He's worth grabbing at his ADP, however, with the hopes that he ends up with the most save opportunities in San Francisco on a very good Giants team.

 

Tier 6 And Beyond

If we knew whether or not Robert Suarez or Dinelson Lamet would win the job as Padres' closer, they'd both be a steal compared to where they're being drafted. But it could honestly end up neither of them with Emilio Pagan and others all vying for save situations.

I had to admit, I am intrigued by Nestor Cortes Jr. as a starter this season. He combines a number of different arm angles, wind-ups, and throws a lot of different pitches, and has been pretty effective as hitters have a hard time adjusting. Another starter down here is Drew Rasmussen, who while unproven, is projecting as the #2 starter for the Rays right now and has a chance of having a solid season. We know Tampa has had a lot of success with pitchers.

I'm also pretty enamored with Aaron Ashby and you can read more of my thoughts on him here. He should start the season in long relief or as a sixth starter, but he's going to be good, and at some point, I think he's likely to crack the rotation.



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Jermaine Burton - Fantasy Football Rankings, College FB, WR, NFL Draft Sleepers

Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight: Jermaine Burton

With the 80th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton. The surplus of receivers drafted early created a demand for the position, and the Bengals got their guy in Round 3. Burton was the 13th wide receiver taken off the board -- drafted ahead of guys... Read More


Who Is Our Favorite RB Sleeper? 2024 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings Analysis

We working fantasy football angles around the clock at RotoBaller! As early best ball drafts are already getting underway, we're putting together our first-look rankings for 2024 fantasy football. RotoBaller's David Rispoli dives into our new Running Back rankings for 2024. Our RB1 isn't a huge surprise, but there are some sleepers as we work... Read More


Rhamondre Stevenson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Fantasy Football Running Back Winners From the 2024 NFL Offseason

The NFL Draft and free agency are officially complete. With these big transactional periods in the rearview window, fantasy managers can now officially look back and see who has been the biggest winner of the offseason. For this series, I’ll review each fantasy-relevant positional group and identify the biggest winners and why they’re winners. The... Read More


Malik Nabers - Fantasy Football Rankings, Rookie, College FB, WR, NFL Draft Sleepers

Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight: Jamari Thrash

Draft capital matters for fantasy football players, but more so early in drafts with a 0.576 correlation for top-10 picks and fantasy points per game for wide receivers over the past five seasons. For context, the correlation plummets to 0.004 for picks 11-32, with a slightly better correlation (0.131) to PPR/G for Rounds 5-7 at... Read More


Kyler Murray - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Fantasy Football Bounce-Back Candidates You Must Have in 2024 - Fantasy Football Sleepers

The term "sleeper" gets thrown around a lot these days in fantasy circles. Aside from being a popular fantasy gaming app, a sleeper in fantasy football is a player currently undervalued at their draft price -- particularly with the expectation they will vastly outplay their ADP. While these targets are typically a late-round choice, sleepers... Read More