Updated May Rankings and Tiers: Relief Pitcher (RP)

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The comedian Lewis Black has a fantastic bit about the dumbest thing he’s ever heard in his life. After relaying the thing in question, he cautions the audience, “Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood will shoot out your nose.” This is more or less how it felt trying to make heads or tails of 2017’s weird and wild first month and produce updated rankings. It’s why, unlike my esteemed colleague Nick Mariano, I went only 300 players deep as opposed to 500. Had I pressed on, it might have broken my brain.

All of which is to say, if you disagree strongly with any particular ranking, know that there’s a decent chance you could talk me into adjusting mine. The sheer number of injuries and surprise performances (in both directions) made putting this update together a stiff challenge. We're finishing up this series with a look at relievers. Unsurprisingly, quite a bit has changed since March - and even since we completed this update at the beginning of the month.

You can find our full, updated rankings here. Note that they’re based on a standard 12-teamer, so you should make adjustment based on your specific league settings. Tiers, auction values, prospects, news and more. It's all free.

Editor's note: Purchase an NFL Premium Pass (including Draft Kit + DFS), and get MLB Premium for free! Whoa. Check out our NFL and MLB Premium tools, and crush your leagues. Sign Up Now!

 

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Relief Pitcher (May Updates)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Aroldis Chapman RP 62 59 60.5
2 1 Kenley Jansen RP 60 61 60.5
3 1 Edwin Diaz RP 86 101 93.5
4 2 Craig Kimbrel RP 97 97 97
5 2 Roberto Osuna RP 94 121 107.5
6 2 Kelvin Herrera RP 104 122 113
7 2 Wade Davis RP 128 109 118.5
8 2 Seung-Hwan Oh RP 113 125 119
9 2 Kenneth Giles RP 127 163 145
10 2 Alexander Colome RP 117 176 146.5
11 3 Andrew Miller RP 118 178 148
12 3 Cody Allen RP 124 174 149
13 3 Dellin Betances RP 125 184 154.5
14 3 Greg Holland RP 146 169 157.5
15 3 Brad Brach RP 158 158 158
16 4 David Robertson RP 139 246 192.5
17 4 Mark Melancon RP 196 196 196
18 4 Chris Devenski SP/RP 168 254 211
19 4 A.J. Ramos RP 195 231 213
20 5 Matt Bush RP 186 305 245.5
21 5 Tony Watson RP 220 294 257
22 5 Brandon Maurer RP 221 297 259
23 5 Justin Wilson RP 260 260 260
24 5 Addison Reed RP 261 261 261
25 5 Santiago Casilla RP 262 262 262
26 5 Hector Neris RP 257 276 266.5
27 6 Cameron Bedrosian RP 192 348 270
28 6 Neftali Feliz RP #N/A 271 271
29 6 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP/RP 273 328 300.5
30 6 Brandon Kintzler RP 259 346 302.5
31 6 Shawn Kelley RP 250 357 303.5
32 6 Jim Johnson RP 276 338 307
33 6 Francisco Rodriguez RP 311 311 311
34 6 Raisel Iglesias SP/RP 161 462 311.5
35 6 Zach Britton RP 312 312 312
36 6 Jeurys Familia RP 313 313 313
37 6 Nate Jones RP 283 372 327.5
38 6 Fernando Rodney RP #N/A 331 331
39 6 Trevor Rosenthal RP #N/A 332 332
40 7 Ryan Madson RP #N/A 345 345
41 7 Daniel Hudson RP #N/A 354 354
42 7 Kyle Barraclough RP 287 443 365
43 7 Adam Ottavino RP #N/A 370 370
44 7 Arodys Vizcaino RP #N/A 376 376
45 7 C.J. Edwards RP #N/A 379 379
46 7 Carter Capps RP #N/A 398 398
47 7 Ryan Dull RP #N/A 430 430
48 7 Corey Knebel RP #N/A 439 439
49 7 Ty Blach RP #N/A 442 442
50 7 Sean Doolittle RP #N/A 444 444
51 7 Luke Gregerson RP #N/A 451 451
52 7 Michael Lorenzen RP #N/A 465 465
53 7 Joaquin Benoit RP #N/A 469 469
54 7 Will Harris RP #N/A 471 471
55 7 Chad Green RP #N/A 478 478
56 7 Matt Strahm RP #N/A 487 487

 

Relief Pitcher Rankings Analysis: May

Right off the bat, we've got multiple rankings in the top tier that need adjustment. Aroldis Chapman hit the disabled list a few days ago with a strained rotator cuff. He's not expected back until mid-June. Edwin Diaz was demoted from the closer role on Tuesday, one day after walking four straight batters. While he'd only blown two saves, he also hasn't looked much like the dominant reliever we saw last season. It seems like a temporary move while Diaz gets straightened out, and the talent is still immense. Obviously, however, we can't put a guy in the top three when he's not locking down games for his team. At least Kenley Jansen has been his usual self, and Craig Kimbrel is making anyone who thought he'd fallen out of the ranks of the elite (meekly raises hand) look like a fool. Things are relatively stable otherwise in the top 10, though Seung Hwan Oh and Ken Giles haven't really lived up to their preseason hype so far.

As we move into the middle tiers, we see plenty of players whose valuations have fluctuated wildly in the early going. Greg Holland took the Rockies' closer job and ran with it from day one. He leads MLB with a whopping 17 saves, five more than anyone else. Of course, he's not going to go the entire season without allowing a home run, but he's certainly proven he's all the way back from Tommy John surgery. With Zach Britton out long-term, Brad Brach is closing for the Orioles. He hasn't been nearly as dominant as he was in 2016 and has blown his last two save chances, but appears to still have a firm grip on the role. Similarly, Addison Reed is the man in Queens with Jeurys Familia on the shelf, though he's struggled relative to his outstanding performance from a year ago. Sam Dyson's disastrous April opened the door for Matt Bush to seize the ninth in Texas. Until recently, the Rangers had gone on a remarkable run of games without a save opportunity. Bush converted all three chances he got last week, however, and hasn't allowed a run since April 9.

The biggest jump of all belongs to a guy who isn't closing. Chris Devenski has looked a bit more human lately, but he's still sitting on a gaudy 46.8 K% and 0.82 WHIP. With most of his appearances covering multiple innings, he's been more valuable than many starting pitchers, to say nothing of relievers.

A few quick hits to close things out:

  • Archie Bradley hasn't been quite as good as Devenski, but he occupies a similar role for the Diamondbacks and deserved to be ranked here.
  • There was speculation that Bradley could see some save ops, but Fernando Rodney hasn't allowed a run in his last five appearances. That streak has brought his ERA down to a sparkling 8.59. Fernando Rodney is bad, but he somehow has 10 saves anyway.
  • The Nationals' ninth inning situation has predictably been a mess, but at least last year they had a good bullpen otherwise. This year's group has been awful. They're still the best team in the National League, but it seems like even more of a lock than before that they'll trade for a closer.
  • Another guy we didn't rank who probably should have been mentioned: Bud Norris. He's been quite solid with Cam Bedrosian out, and could hold on to the job even when Bedrosian returns.
  • Names to remember ROS: Carter Capps, Felipe Rivero, Nate Jones.

 

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