Fantasy Baseball 2012: AL-Only & NL-Only Relief Pitcher Rankings

NEW YORK - FILE: Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch against the New York Mets on June 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports, Rivera will have surgery on his vocal cords to have polyps removed on Friday December 2, 2011. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Last and finally not least we have the Relief Pitching ranks. To catch you up on all the links for all positions, please check out all the AL/NL only ranking links.







Previous Mixed league versions of Relief Pitching ranks, with fancy write-ups.




1. Mariano Rivera, NYY

2. Jose Valverde, DET

3. Andrew Bailey, BOS

4. Sergio Santos, TOR

5. Joakim Soria, KC

Might as well jump, or at least continue reading after it.


6. Joe Nathan. TEX

7. Brandon League, SEA

8. Chris Perez, CLE

9. Jordan Walden, ANA

10. Matt Capps, MIN

11. Addison Reed, CHW

12. Kyle Farnsworth, TB

13. Jim Johnson, BAL

14 Vinnie Pestano, CLE

15. Grant Balfour, OAK

16. David Robertson, NYY

17. Mike Adams, TEX

18. Jonathan Broxton, KC

19. Matt Thornton, CHW

20. Joaquin Benoit, DET

21. Joel Peralta, TB

22. Greg Holland, KC

23. Scott Downs, ANA

24. Alexi Ogando, TEX

25. Francisco Cordero,TOR

The AL is a muddled up mess in best opinion. After the first 4 pitchers listed, each one has a caveat next to them. Whether it be decent replacement behind them, rumored to be a trade candidate or someone that we just don't trust to last the whole season as the closer. Some afterthoughts:

  • The unknown starts with Soria, he has 2 viable suitors behind him in Broxton and Holland. I think he stays there all season, Broxton isn't the healthiest specimen and Holland while effective is young and I can see him grabbing this role next season.
  • Addison Reed is pretty much flat out dominant. I know, rookie closer on a mediocre team are things to usually steer clear of, but from personally viewing experience i think he will be a top 3-4 candidate in the AL next year if all goes to plan.
  • I will own Vinnie Pestano on every team I own this year, book it. Given that he is a deep end of the draft guy, will give you great periphs and a decent amount of K's. Plus I think he steals the job due to Perez's ineffectiveness. 15 saves and 15 holds. That's the 30/30 of pitching.
  • Situations to avoid start in Oak, I listed Balfour as the closer on here. That can change in an instance and its probably only beneficial for your roster if you have an extended bench. With names like Fauntino De Los Santos, Joey Devine, and Brian Fuentes all being bantered around. It looks like a situation to avoid for now and to take advantage of via waivers. Also avoid Baltimore's situation unless forced.


1. Craig Kimbrel, ATL

2. Jon Axford, MIL

3. Jonathon Papelbon, PHI

4. Drew Storen, WAS

5. Ryan Madson, CIN

6. Brian Wilson, SF

7. Heath Bell, MIA

8. J.J. Putz, ARI

9. Joel Hanrahan, PIT

10. Carlos Marmol, CHC

11. Rafael Betancourt, COL

12. Jason Motte, STL

13. Huston Street, SD

14. Frank Francisco, NYM

15. Javy Guerra, LAD

16. Kenley Jansen, LAD

17. Johnny Venters, ATL

18. Francisco Rodriguez, MIL

19. Tyler Clippard, WAS

20. David Hernandez, ARI

21. Juan Abreu, HOU

22. Sergio Romo, SF

23. Rex Brothers, COL

24. Sean Marshall, CIN

25. Ernesto Frieri, SD

I could have listed to 50 that's how much I love the NL relief pitching ranks. For obvious depth reasons, league averages for relievers are better as a whole in NL. I wont argue with anyone if they wanted to change any rankings between 5-13. From a draft standpoint, the depth is there. With lots of viable resources to get later in the draft as compared to the AL which has a lot of question marks. Some afterthoughts:

  • I'm not a fan of Huston Street here, there are so many options in NL. I don't thinking running out and buying the shiny new toy theory in SD is the right play here. Deep bullpen with a lot of quality, Gregerson, Frieri, and Cashner all shore up the back of the bullpen.
  • The Dodgers closer situation is cloudy. Guerra pitched well to end the year and Jansen has the ability. It's way too early to call right now, but if your drafting one you should draft the other.
  • Like Oakland in the AL, Houston is the team with the avoid badge here. Let's be honest how many games are they really going to win anyways, add in the ones that are actually save situations. Yea it's not many. Names Like Abreu, Wilton Lopez, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter are all option in play here.
  • From a quality middle relief standpoint you cant go wrong with the NL. Lot's of names I left of that will contribute to stellar peripheral numbers. I will be following this post up with a holds/middle reliever list for all you holds league guys/gals.

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