Pre-Season Relief Pitching Rankings

Brian Garfinkel

Since I will be doing a weekly post again this year regarding the closing ranks in fantasy baseball, I figured I would give you my view of how I rank the closers for the upcoming year. As an added bonus I will give you some holds guys to keep an eye or two, or an eye-patch and one eye or....well you get the gist. So have a gander or even stare, but don't be shy to comment on my pre-season look at the conclusionary pitchers.

  1. Craig Kimbrel - Does there need to be a discussion? For me he would still be here if Chapman was the closer in Cincy.
  2. Jonathan Papelbon - Job security. Experience. 7 consecutive seasons of 30+ saves, numbers are so comforting some times.
  3. Jason Motte - Great starting rotation and a sound bullpen in front of him, if your not into addition that equals saves.
  4. Fernando Rodney - Going to be hard to repeat one of the greatest seasons EVER by a reliever. Going to be over-drafted and won't be owned by me because of it.
  5. Rafael Soriano - Pitching behind the best rotation, and arguably the best bullpen in baseball never hurts.
  6. Joe Nathan - No Hamilton, no problem. Stout staff in front of him and he plays the Astros 18 times.
  7. John Axford - Struggled early, but ended last season as the highest rated closer for the last 30 days on ESPN.
  8. Joel Hanrahan - New place better result, should come close to his second 40 save season.
  9. Mariano Rivera - The G.O.A.T. Plain and simple. Knee injury may limit early work.
  10. Tom Wilhelmsen - The first of the sophomore closer triumvirate, like him more because of K's.
  11. Greg Holland - KC is wonky, they are in a "we need to win nowish" mode so leash maybe short, shouldn't be.
  12. Addison Reed - Love the kids repetoire, if he figures it out how to avoid the bats and pitch as an "Intimidator" look out.
  13. Huston Street - Missed 58 games last year, still had 23 saves. I'm a great speculator if he saved a third of his appearances he would have had 40. Damn you injury bug.
  14. Jim Johnson - I followed him all the way to the drinking the juice last year, takes a big step back and another big overdraft based on people just reading one number.
  15. J.J. Putz - Just re-upped for another year, David Hernandez subtly gave him the finger.
  16. Jonathan Broxton - Clearly in the role, for how long? Ohhh Dusty...
  17. Chris Perez - Thank god saves help his value, cause he looks bad at times. When Cleveland realizes they aren't any good will be on a contender and off this list.
  18. Casey Janssen - I still see the Blue jays bringing in someone of note, doesn't take away that Janssen was the sshit last year.
  19. Rafael Betancourt - See Perez, Chris.
  20. Grant Balfour - Got Cooked, then rejoined the closing kitchen, oh puns you are so entertaining.
  21. Jason Grilli - Optimistically low, could be higher. K/9 was pretty last year.
  22. Brandon League - Battle for the closer in LA has gone all the way to FakeTeams. Jansen is capable, but more like the tin man.
  23. Sergio Romo - Early season reports say its a group discussion, Affeldt, Casilla and even a return of the Beard are possibilities. Would be higher if had job outright.
  24. Ryan Madson - Injury may hamper him early, handcuff with Ernesto. Could be a top 15 guy if form returns.
  25. Glen Perkins - I love me some lefty closers, where have you gone Randy Myers.
  26. Carlos Marmol - Cubs are and enigma, wrapped in a tortilla shell, could be a sell piece if he shows anything.
  27. Bruce Rondon - The Tigers really seem to be leaning this direction. Phil Coke waits in the wings.
  28. Frank Francisco - Hear I thought Armando Benetiz was shaky, Bobby Parnell is on ready five like Maverick.
  29. Steve Cishek - Saves are saves are saves.
  30. Jose Veras - Does it really matter who closes in Houston. For fantasy it sorta does but it seems like a wasted roster spot to me. Wesley Wright is second in command of the sinking ship.

And now some Holds guys you know and some you may want to keep your eye on.

Five you know.

  1. Joel Peralta - Last year's leader in holds. The setting up for Rodney was just as nice with Peralta and Jake McGee.
  2. Vinnie Pestano - I couldn't love a new born baby more then Vinnie. Even in leagues where pitching isn't counted I still want him on my team.
  3. David Hernandez - He is the heir apparent in the desert, high K potential and has 8th inning sewn up regardless of what you think of Heath Bell.
  4. Sean Burnett - Goes to the Angels this year and will be a dominant force in the bullpen their just like in Washington last year though not many noticed.
  5. Eric O' Flaherty - Quietly goes along and does his business and made up for the lack of season we expected from Jonny Venters, expect the same.

Five you should know

  1. Cody Allen - Great K numbers, typical youthful walks. Has closer type stuff and will get a boat-ton of work at the back end of Cleveland's pen
  2. Brad Brach - San Diego is just a continuous bullpen monster providing great options year in and year out.
  3. J.J. Hoover -The other lefty in the Cincy bullpen after Marshall. Dusty loves the dark-siders.
  4. George Kontos - Plenty of close games in SF, lots of bullpen options. I like him to outshine some and could sniff some saves if everything breaks right.
  5. Al Alburquerque - A rookie closer and a lefty waiting in his wings spells a huge workload for this power righty.
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