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Dynasty Dugout Mid-Season Keeper/Dynasty Rankings: Relief Pitchers

This will be the last installment of the mid-season dynasty rankings. I’ve saved the best for last, too. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? Ranking relievers is more or less a crapshoot. You got your few elite options and then the rest is anyone’s guess. Over half of the relievers that were closers to start 2016 are either now in middle relief or retired.

Below are the top 40 reliever options in dynasty leagues today. There are many guys you could debate here, and this list will probably change dramatically come spring time.

If you missed any of the other rankings, they can be found below.

1st Base Dynasty Rankings

2nd Base Dynasty Rankings

3rd Base Dynasty Rankings

Shortstop Dynasty Rankings

Outfield Dynasty Rankings

Catcher Dynasty Rankings

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Prospect Rankings

Reminder: The below rankings are a blend of recent performance, current performance, and future potential.

Rk Player Tier Age Team
1 Kenley Jansen 1 29 LAD
2 Craig Kimbrel 1 29 BOS
3 Aroldis Chapman 2 29 NYY
4 Roberto Osuna 2 22 TOR
5 Wade Davis 2 31 CHC
6 Zach Britton 2 29 BAL
7 Raisel Iglesias 2 27 CIN
8 Corey Knebel 2 25 MIL
9 Ken Giles 3 26 HOU
10 Edwin Diaz 3 21 SEA
11 Greg Holland 3 31 COL
12 Andrew Miller 3 32 CLE
13 Kelvin Herrera 3 27 KC
14 Felipe Rivero 3 26 PIT
15 Cody Allen 3 28 CLE
16 Brad Brach 3 31 BAL
17 Alex Colome 4 28 TB
18 Archie Bradley 4 24 ARI
19 Dellin Betances 4 29 NYY
20 Chris Devenski 4 26 HOU
21 Alex Claudio 4 25 TEX
22 Jeurys Familia 4 27 NYM
23 Mark Melancon 4 32 SF
24 Brad Hand 4 27 SD
25 Trevor Rosenthal 4 27 STL
26 Sean Doolittle 4 30 WAS
27 A.J. Ramos 5 30 NYM
28 Tommy Kahnle 5 27 NYY
29 Arodys Vizcaino 5 26 ATL
30 Seung Hwan Oh 5 35 STL
31 Cam Bedrosian 5 25 LAA
32 Jim Johnson 5 34 ATL
33 Joe Jimenez 5 22 DET
34 Mychal Givens 5 27 BAL
35 Addison Reed 6 28 BOS
36 Fernando Rodney 6 40 ARI
37 Bud Norris 6 32 LAA
38 Anthony Swarzak 6 31 MIL
39 David Robertson 6 32 NYY
40 Koda Glover 6 24 WAS


#1 Kenley JansenJansen is so good, normal set-up men just won’t cut it. The Dodgers went out and acquired multiple former closers to pitch the 7th and 8th innings in front of Jansen. Through 46 1/3 innings, he has a 1.36 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 13.4 K/9. Those aren’t quite the same as Craig Kimbrel’s numbers, but Jansen is on the better team and should come close to 45-50 saves this season. You really can’t go wrong with either.

#2 Craig KimbrelIt just hasn’t been fair for hitters facing Kimbrel this year. It’s basically like Team USA versus the rest of the world in Olympic basketball. You could play baseball video games your entire life and not get stats close to what Kimbrel has done this year. He currently has a 1.24 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, and a ridiculous 16.5 K/9. That’s downright insanity. Those stats, plus around 40 save,s are the reason he’s still a tier-one reliever.

#3 Aroldis ChapmanThe flame-throwing Cuban has been a lot more hittable this season. After allowing just 4.1 H/9 last year, that number has almost doubled this season to 7.7.  His fastball velocity is down slightly from 100.4 to 99.9 MPH this season, but when you throw that hard, half a mile per hour isn’t going to make a big difference. Chapman is still elite, but just not quite on the same level as the two men before him.

#4 Roberto OsunaThe rising star on this list is Osuna. The 22-year-old Mexican native has become one of the premier closers in the game in a short period of time. Since he debuted in 2015, Osuna has compiled 82 saves with a 2.86 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Both his strikeout and walk rates are trending in the right direction too. His walk rate has dropped from 2.1 to 1.7 to 1.0, while his K/9 rate has risen from 9.7 to 10.0 to 12.3 this season.

#5 Wade DavisDavis is the old man of this top-10 at age 31. Ever since being converted to a reliever full-time at the start of 2014, Davis has been one of the best lockdown bullpen arms in the game. His 2.00 ERA this season is the highest mark he’s had as a reliever. The Cubs brought him in last offseason, and he hasn’t disappointed with 22 saves and 12.5 K/9 through the end of July. The Cubs are now hitting their stride, too, so there should be plenty of save opportunities the rest of the way.

#6 Zach BrittonThere wasn’t a pitcher on the planet last year more dominant than Britton. Which is why Buck Showalter not using him in the one-game playoff was simply absurd. In 67 innings, Britton allowed only four men to round the bases. Just four. This year, while pitching around an injury, he’s already allowed seven runs in 20 innings. However, that shouldn’t put a damper on how you look at him. He’s a stud closer. The only thing that keeps him from the top tier is his less-than-elite strikeout rate.

[the_ad id=”384″]#7 Raisel IglesiasThis is another example of a hard-throwing starter than turned out to be much better in relief. After moderate success as a starter, Iglesias has flourished as the closer in Cincinnati. He’s registered a 1.95 ERA and 10.8 K/9 while locking down 17 saves for a bad Reds team. His success has mostly been due to his fastball velocity, which has risen almost five MPH (91.7 to 96.5) since his rookie season. He’s also able to get punchouts with his plus slider. You could even argue that Iglesias will get even better, as this is only his third season pitching in the states.

#8 Corey KnebelAll he needed was a chance. Knebel inherited the closer’s role early in the season and hasn’t looked back. His 15.8 K/9 is third best in the majors behind only Kimbrel and Dellin Betances. The one down side to Knebel is his below average control, which has gotten worse this year. Walks have gotten him in trouble, but luckily all the strikeouts have limited the overall damage. Still just 25, Knebel could be a top-notch closer for years to come.

#9 Ken GilesGiles always seems to be on the cusp of being an elite closer but can never quite reach that level. One year his ERA will be a little higher, the next his strikeout rate will drop. There’s always something. That’s not to say he’s not one of the best fantasy closers in the game, though. He closes for one of the best young teams in the league and is only 26. His electric arsenal should make him a top-10 dynasty closer for years to come.

#10 Edwin DiazAfter a very promising rookie season where he posted a 2.79 ERA and 15.3 K/9, Diaz has experienced a slight sophomore slump. He’s still been pretty darn good but has fallen short of the top-five status he had entering the season. In the end, his elite strikeout stuff will keep him high in these rankings. Diaz is still only 23, so the best could be yet to come.

#12 Andrew MillerIf he were a full-time closer, Miller would certainly be in the top five here. However, his versatility is so valuable, it would limit his overall value to the Indians if he solely pitched in save situations. Whatever role he’s pitching in, Miller is a stud that will be a major factor for your fantasy team year in and year out. His K/9 hasn’t been below 13.0 since 2012. It’s almost unfair for opposing batters.

#18 Archie BradleyThis former top starting pitching prospect has found his calling out of the Arizona bullpen. Bradley has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season, with a 1.50 ERA and 10.3 K/9 in 48 innings. Fernando Rodney isn’t a tough obstacle to hurdle, either. Expect Bradley to be closing games within the next calendar year.

#19 Dellin Betances Maybe Betances just isn’t cut out to be a closer. There’s no questioning his dominance in middle relief and setup roles, but he’s floundered every time he gets a chance in the 9th inning. Just take a look at his stats by inning below. The strikeouts remain consistent, but the ERA and WHIP go way up in the 9th inning.






6 & 7
















There’s a certain mentality that you need to have to close out close games, and it appears that Betances doesn’t have it. His ratios and high strikeout rate make him valuable, but saves might never be a big part of his game.

#21 Alex ClaudioWhen you think of the prototypical closer, you probably aren’t thinking of a guy like Claudio. He’s a side-arming southpaw with a fastball slow enough to give Jamie Moyer a run for his money. However, his “heater” has good sink, and he mixes speeds and eye levels well with his changeup and slider. Every other 9th inning option for Texas has failed miserably this season, so expect Claudio to have a long leash.

#30 Seung Hwan OhBefore the season, Oh was considered a top-10 option. Oh, how times have changed. It looks like he’s throwing batting practice with how many balls are flying out of the park when he’s on the hill. Last season, Oh gave up 0.6 HR/9 and 6.2 H/9. This season, those numbers have risen dramatically to 1.5 and 10.0, respectively. He could eventually become a valuable closer again, but for now, his value is capped while he’s stuck in middle relief.

Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout on Fantrax. Check back next week for another Dynasty Dugout. Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.

  1. Todd says

    Love the articles Eric! Are you going combine all positions into one list after? Top 300 or something? I’m keeping Bryant and Bellinger but my lack of depth at 2B has me entertaining a Bryant for Altuve deal or a Bellinger for Murphy deal.

    1. Eric Cross says

      Thanks Todd! Working on an overall list as we speak. Should be out next Tuesday. I’m a big fan of Bryant and Bellinger. I’m going to have them ahead of Altuve and Murphy overall but it’s close enough to justify making a move like that if you need a 2B.

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