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Midseason Position Rankings: Relief Pitcher

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It's "relief pitcher" now, not "closer," so come on down, starters-with-reliever-eligibility.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, I use this space for "closer" rankings. Today, it's "reliever" rankings. There's a subtle difference there, but one that I think matters on a week-to-week basis.

There are a handful of starters who qualify as relievers. The list isn't as notable this season as it has been in some years past, but still, Carlos Martinez, Carlos Carrasco, a handful of other starters qualify as relievers, and they have a role in the rankings.

Week to week, though, projecting who is going to win an individual start, and then whether that win is going to outweigh the two or three (or more) saves each individual reliever might get can become something of a crystal-ball activity (well, even more of a crystal-ball activity than, you know, everything else we do here). So I focused on saves and save opportunities, and made it Closer Rankings, meaning I was literally just looking at closers and guys with closer opportunities.

But this is the midseason rankings, and today, it's "reliever" rankings. That means everyone reliever-eligible was considered for the rankings, and I tried to crystal-ball some starters' qualifications against relievers'. Also, the general rankings were not weighted so heavily toward save opportunities, so guys like Wade Davis, who is phenomenal but not such a save-accumulator, gets extra credit, and guys like Brandon Maurer, who has six wins in relief, got more of a look than he normally does in the weekly rankings.

Here we go. I'm also bringing back a feature from last year, by giving the thoughts of Twitter and not my own, because I've been giving "thoughts" on hundreds of players of the last week, and I'm all thought-ed out, guys:

Relief Pitcher Rankings, rest of season

Rank Player Team Thoughts
1 Andrew Miller NYY <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Andrew Miller against Ackley/Taylor/Zunino is like a steamroller against nothing, literally nothing at all</p>&mdash; Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) <a href="https://twitter.com/based_ball/status/622858161226014720">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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2 Aroldis Chapman CIN <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Aroldis Chapman got to 500 career strikeouts in fewer innings than any MLB pitcher in history <a href="http://t.co/dlyhVxoKVY">http://t.co/dlyhVxoKVY</a> <a href="http://t.co/CMi20CRhQh">pic.twitter.com/CMi20CRhQh</a></p>&mdash; Sports Illustrated (@SInow) <a href="https://twitter.com/SInow/status/622974321963700224">July 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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3 Drew Storen WAS <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">How good has Drew Storen been for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nationals?src=hash">#Nationals</a> this year? The numbers say very good, writes Navy Yard Notes: <a href="http://t.co/tYRi3qXjE0">http://t.co/tYRi3qXjE0</a></p>&mdash; Gerald F Seib (@GeraldFSeib) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeraldFSeib/status/623485817844051968">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
4 Kenley Jansen LAD <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Kenley Jansen heads to the All-Star break with a 49% strikeout and a 3% walk rate--highest K-BB% in the majors (20 IP minimum). <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dodgers?src=hash">#Dodgers</a></p>&mdash; Positive Residual (@presidual) <a href="https://twitter.com/presidual/status/620397305691123712">July 13, 2015</a></blockquote>
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5 Carlos Martinez SLC <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Life without Oscar, how Carlos Martinez and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cardinals?src=hash">#Cardinals</a> are coping with tragedy.   <a href="http://t.co/mhWqZIiYbc">http://t.co/mhWqZIiYbc</a> <a href="http://t.co/S8uqkr3pZS">pic.twitter.com/S8uqkr3pZS</a></p>&mdash; CBS Sports MLB  (@CBSSportsMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSSportsMLB/status/623496013618135040">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
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6 Wade Davis KAN <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">In fairness, Wade Davis has an ERA+ of 870, but close enough :)&#10;&#10;0.46 ERA- 2 earned runs in 39 IP <a href="https://t.co/IAekIGKVVJ">https://t.co/IAekIGKVVJ</a></p>&mdash; ESPN Stats &amp; Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo/status/621840240521687040">July 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
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7 David Robertson CHW <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">David Robertson: &quot;We&#39;ve been playing better baseball. Things are starting to look good for the South Side.&quot;</p>&mdash; Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChuckGarfien/status/619652868606455809">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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8 Mark Melancon PIT <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">When <a href="https://twitter.com/BrockStar4Lyf">@BrockStar4Lyf</a> and Mark Melancon were traded for each other in 2012, who had them both appearing in this year&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASG?src=hash">#ASG</a>? Congrats to both</p>&mdash; haru (@gr8_white_ninja) <a href="https://twitter.com/gr8_white_ninja/status/620084064423276544">July 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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9 Craig Kimbrel SDP <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Padres are rumored to have listed, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, and James Shields on the trading block, per <a href="https://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN">@Buster_ESPN</a></p>&mdash; ShitBallPlayersDo (@ShtBallPlayrsDo) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShtBallPlayrsDo/status/623257640517373953">July 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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10 Dellin Betances NYY <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Latest entry in the series &quot;Dellin Betances Makes Other People Look Tiny.&quot; <a href="http://t.co/GqmAM7QGY4">pic.twitter.com/GqmAM7QGY4</a></p>&mdash; Jesse Spector (@jessespector) <a href="https://twitter.com/jessespector/status/621089759843221505">July 14, 2015</a></blockquote>
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11 Huston Street LAA <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">With Angels up 3-0 in the 7th, a reminder that closer Huston Street has 299 saves.</p>&mdash; Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffFletcherOCR/status/622604570355740672">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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12 Carlos Carrasco CLE <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Do people still prefer Carlos Carrasco over Dallas Keuchel?</p>&mdash; Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams) <a href="https://twitter.com/faketeams/status/622875087478194177">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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13 Koji Uehara BOS <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Prior to his HR, Mike Trout was 0-for-5 with 3 K against Koji Uehara.</p>&mdash; Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) <a href="https://twitter.com/FlyByKnite/status/622459900296237056">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote>
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14 Zach Britton BAL <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">How All-Star Zach Britton went from middling starter to dominant closer <a href="http://t.co/lmnFWhT7gP">http://t.co/lmnFWhT7gP</a> <a href="http://t.co/pMymzSBqpg">pic.twitter.com/pMymzSBqpg</a></p>&mdash; SB Nation MLB (@SBNationMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/SBNationMLB/status/621319589339754497">July 15, 2015</a></blockquote>
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15 Greg Holland KAN <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Kelvin Herrera AND Greg Holland blew saves. The Royals win anyway. I love this team.</p>&mdash; Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) <a href="https://twitter.com/jazayerli/status/622549018984476673">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote>
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16 Glen Perkins MIN <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Glen Perkins&#39; consecutive saves streak is snapped at 28 by an infield single, a wild pitch, and a bloop single. Baseball is dumb.</p>&mdash; Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) <a href="https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/622614226784382976">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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17 Cody Allen CLE <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Indians?src=hash">#Indians</a> Closer Cody Allen has been dominate over his last 20 appearances: &#10; &#10;- 10SV 19.1(IP) 8H 1R 1ER 4BB 31SO (14.56 K/9 IP)</p>&mdash; Todd Paquette (@IndiansAccounts) <a href="https://twitter.com/IndiansAccounts/status/622610662397640704">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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18 Jeurys Familia NYM <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I have NOTHING bad to say about Jeurys Familia who has been superb all year. This is ALL on the <a href="https://twitter.com/Mets">@Mets</a> bats. We need to score here in 14th!</p>&mdash; Mets n Jets (@NYMetsandJets) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYMetsandJets/status/622897014125170688">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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19 Trevor Rosenthal SLC <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal was scratched from the All-Star Game with a sore right arm.</p>&mdash; Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) <a href="https://twitter.com/FeinsandNYDN/status/621083429749268480">July 14, 2015</a></blockquote>
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20 Hector Santiago LAA <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hector Santiago has 20 strikeouts and 2 walks in July, which will play. He is third in the AL in ERA behind Dallas Keuchel and Sonny Gray.</p>&mdash; Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) <a href="https://twitter.com/pedromoura/status/623266782808178688">July 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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21 Will Harris HOU <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Gregerson on Will Harris: He&#39;s been the main anchor of this bullpen. I start calling him the magic man down there <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Astros?src=hash">#Astros</a></p>&mdash; MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetworkRadio/status/623237660954398720">July 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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22 Francisco Rodriguez MIL <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Brewers?src=hash">#Brewers</a> closer Francisco Rodriguez is 21 for 21 in saves this year and his streak of 26 in row is third longest active in MLB.</p>&mdash; Tom (@Haudricourt) <a href="https://twitter.com/Haudricourt/status/622614951958609920">July 19, 2015</a></blockquote>
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23 Joakim Soria DET <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Once again joakim soria is a closer for a below  average team that won&#39;t see the postseason. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tigers?src=hash">#tigers</a></p>&mdash; Fredi Bello Pizzaman (@FrediThePizzamn) <a href="https://twitter.com/FrediThePizzamn/status/622952214940753921">July 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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24 Luke Gregerson HOU <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Luke Gregerson might have the worst facial hair in sports</p>&mdash; Daniel Swindle (@Swindle_46) <a href="https://twitter.com/Swindle_46/status/622243715331952640">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote>
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25 Jonathan Papelbon PHI <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">First time Jonathan Papelbon has had saves in 2 straight apps since May 20. Of course he only has 5 saves total since then - in 53 games</p>&mdash; Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) <a href="https://twitter.com/jaysonst/status/623316435713032192">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
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26 Tyler Clippard OAK <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Yankees potential trade target: Tyler Clippard <a href="http://t.co/AxGF5DeNSi">http://t.co/AxGF5DeNSi</a> <a href="http://t.co/b5rTAJd8pw">pic.twitter.com/b5rTAJd8pw</a></p>&mdash; Akron Zips Update (@AkronZipsHub) <a href="https://twitter.com/AkronZipsHub/status/623355309289934848">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
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27 Williams Perez ATL <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Fredi said Williams Perez is going to get another start in Triple-A. The plan for him is to throw 85 pitches. &#10;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash">#Braves</a></p>&mdash; Carlos Collazo (@CarlosACollazo) <a href="https://twitter.com/CarlosACollazo/status/622514671766118400">July 18, 2015</a></blockquote>
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28 David Phelps MIA <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lack of support gives Phelps little margin for error: Marlins manager Dan Jennings felt starter David Phelps g... <a href="http://t.co/NJaaAIuL34">http://t.co/NJaaAIuL34</a></p>&mdash; Social In Miami (@socialinmiami) <a href="https://twitter.com/socialinmiami/status/623389694219304961">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
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29 Brad Ziegler ARI <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Nice job <a href="https://twitter.com/BradZiegler">@BradZiegler</a> w the Save, u might be 26th in the MLB in saves, but u have the best ERA of them all <a href="https://twitter.com/Dbacks">@Dbacks</a> <a href="http://t.co/v0SkoaQwlv">pic.twitter.com/v0SkoaQwlv</a></p>&mdash; DBacks Stat Guy (@DBacksStatGuy) <a href="https://twitter.com/DBacksStatGuy/status/623355512935952384">July 21, 2015</a></blockquote>
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30 Chris Heston SFG <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chris Heston has a 2.25 ERA over his last 6 starts.</p>&mdash;    Mike Honcho (@Honcho_ITL) <a href="https://twitter.com/Honcho_ITL/status/620245721694932993">July 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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