FanPost

Pure Reliever Rankings

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy baseball is all about accumulating the RIGHT stats. Sometimes this can be maddening to owners because they have to make sacrifices in order to make gains in certain areas. Whether it be having a guy who hurts your batting average but helps in power or a speedster that helps little anywhere else, owners must roster a balance of everything in order to win leagues.

Closers! So frustrating to own at times! It is so irritating when a guy goes into the 9th inning with a 3 run lead only to give up a couple of hits, walk a guy, and surrender two runs... BUT he gets 3 outs and the SAVE! This scenario leaves owners with an 18.00 ERA, a 3.00 WHIP, and 1 Save. That 1 save is all owners care about, but wouldn't it be nice to have relievers that ACTUALLY PITCH GREAT!

The Formula

Although it's not rocket science here's the way I've calculated what I call 'Pure Reliever Ranking'. I take the overall performance of the reliever and minus BOTH Wins & Saves. Wins are complete luck and a lot of them come when a guy blows a lead only to have his team's offense regain the lead the following inning. I have already made my point as to why saves are out.

When I subtracted wins from the relief pitchers performance, it did not have as significant an impact as I initially thought. The true eye opening data was when I took away the reliever's save total. This greatly changed the landscape of the top RPs and showed just how overrated certain closers are.

Here are the results (rankings are through June 9):

PLAYER, TEAM POS K W SV ERA WHIP PR PR Rank PR - Wins&Saves Pure RP Rank Change
Andrew Miller, NYY RP 0.82 0.58 1.64 1.41 1.7 6.15 5 3.93 1 4
Seung Hwan Oh, StL RP 0.75 0.15 -0.23 1.34 1.84 3.84 21 3.92 2 19
Will Harris, Hou RP 0.14 -0.7 0.3 1.78 1.62 3.14 26 3.54 3 23
Brad Brach, Bal RP 0.4 1.43 0.3 1.77 1.31 5.21 11 3.48 4 7
Zach Britton, Bal RP 0.06 0.15 4.84 1.39 1.86 8.31 1 3.32 5 -4
Alex Colome, TB RP, SP 0.33 -0.27 4.31 1.43 1.04 6.83 3 2.79 6 -3
Joe Blanton, LAD RP 0.29 0.58 -0.23 0.8 1.68 3.11 27 2.76 7 20
Kenley Jansen, LAD RP -0.09 0.15 4.04 1.17 1.64 6.92 2 2.73 8 -6
Chris Devenski, Hou SP, RP 0.56 -0.7 -0.23 1.14 0.95 1.71 51 2.64 9 42
Hector Neris, Phi RP 0.52 -0.27 0.03 0.97 1.13 2.38 38 2.62 10 28
Addison Reed, NYM RP 0.33 -0.27 0.03 1.08 1.05 2.22 42 2.46 11 31
Dellin Betances, NYY RP 1.16 0.15 -0.23 0.39 0.88 2.35 39 2.43 12 27
Ryan Dull, Oak RP 0.22 -0.27 -0.23 0.84 1.37 1.92 45 2.42 13 32
Mike Montgomery, Sea SP, RP 0.06 0.15 -0.23 1.12 1.22 2.32 40 2.4 14 26
David Phelps, Mia SP, RP 0.52 1 0.3 0.97 0.83 3.63 23 2.33 15 8
Fernando Rodney, SD RP -0.24 -0.7 2.7 1.53 1.02 4.32 15 2.32 16 -1
Ryan Buchter, SD RP 0.4 -0.27 0.03 0.97 0.94 2.08 43 2.32 17 26
Kelvin Herrera, KC RP 0.33 -0.27 -0.23 1.19 0.77 1.78 48 2.28 18 30
Fernando Rodriguez, Oak RP 0.22 -0.27 -0.23 1.06 1.01 1.77 50 2.27 19 31
Hector Rondon, ChC RP 0.06 -0.7 2.7 0.93 1.28 4.27 16 2.27 20 -4
Tyler Thornburg, Mil RP 0.37 0.15 0.03 0.55 1.33 2.44 37 2.26 21 16
Craig Kimbrel, Bos RP 0.33 -0.7 3.51 0.73 1.18 5.04 12 2.23 22 -10
Roberto Osuna, Tor RP 0.25 0.15 3.24 1.06 0.91 5.61 6 2.22 23 -17
Daniel Hudson, Ari RP -0.2 -0.27 -0.23 1.06 1.32 1.67 54 2.17 24 30
Nick Vincent, Sea RP 0.22 0.15 0.03 0.91 1.01 2.32 41 2.14 25 16
Michael Feliz, Hou RP 0.52 1 -0.23 0.3 1.31 2.89 30 2.12 26 4
Jake Diekman, Tex RP 0.03 -0.27 0.03 0.99 1.09 1.87 46 2.11 27 19
Sam Dyson, Tex RP 0.03 -0.27 1.9 0.99 1.08 3.73 22 2.1 28 -6
Steve Cishek, Sea RP 0.25 0.15 3.24 0.77 1.06 5.47 9 2.08 29 -20
Dan Otero, Cle RP -0.16 -0.27 0.03 1.44 0.74 1.77 49 2.01 30 19
Erasmo Ramirez, TB SP, RP 0.29 2.28 -0.23 0.75 0.94 4.03 18 1.98 31 -13
Wade Davis, KC RP -0.13 -0.27 4.04 1.22 0.71 5.57 7 1.8 32 -25
Neftali Feliz, Pit RP 0.03 -0.27 -0.23 0.52 1.19 1.24 61 1.74 33 28
Sean Doolittle, Oak RP 0.22 -0.27 0.57 0.64 0.8 1.95 44 1.65 34 10
Fernando Abad, Min RP -0.2 -0.27 -0.23 1.17 0.63 1.09 63 1.59 35 28
Kevin Siegrist, StL RP 0.1 1 0.03 0.62 0.86 2.61 34 1.58 36 -2
Pedro Strop, ChC RP 0.25 -0.27 -0.23 0.52 0.79 1.06 66 1.56 37 29
Cory Gearrin, SF RP -0.28 0.15 0.03 0.8 1 1.7 52 1.52 38 14
Nate Jones, CWS RP -0.13 0.15 0.03 0.53 1.09 1.68 53 1.5 39 14
Shawn Kelley, Wsh RP 0.14 -0.27 -0.23 0.46 0.86 0.95 70 1.45 40 30
Arodys Vizcaino, Atl RP 0.33 -0.27 1.64 0.84 0.28 2.81 32 1.44 41 -9
Luke Hochevar, KC RP 0.06 -0.27 -0.23 0.48 0.9 0.94 71 1.44 42 29
Junichi Tazawa, Bos RP 0.1 -0.27 -0.23 0.39 0.93 0.92 72 1.42 43 29
Jeanmar Gomez, Phi RP -0.13 0.15 4.84 0.78 0.75 6.4 4 1.41 44 -40
Mark Melancon, Pit RP -0.24 -0.7 4.84 1.02 0.63 5.54 8 1.4 45 -37
Mychal Givens, Bal RP 0.52 1.43 -0.23 1.06 -0.18 2.59 36 1.39 46 -10
Jake Barrett, Ari RP -0.09 -0.7 0.03 0.7 0.73 0.68 80 1.35 47 33
David Hernandez, Phi RP 0.4 -0.27 0.03 0.67 0.24 1.07 64 1.31 48 16
Santiago Casilla, SF RP 0.14 -0.27 2.97 0.57 0.57 3.98 19 1.28 49 -30
Michael Tonkin, Min RP 0.25 -0.27 -0.23 0.49 0.5 0.74 76 1.24 50 26
Yusmeiro Petit, Wsh RP -0.13 -0.27 -0.23 0.65 0.7 0.71 78 1.21 51 27
Sammy Solis, Wsh RP -0.24 -0.27 -0.23 0.76 0.66 0.67 81 1.17 52 29
Zach Putnam, CWS RP -0.05 -0.27 -0.23 0.77 0.45 0.66 82 1.16 53 29
Justin Wilson, Det RP 0.25 0.15 -0.23 0.28 0.61 1.06 65 1.14 54 11
Brad Hand, SD RP, SP 0.63 -0.27 -0.23 0.63 -0.13 0.63 85 1.13 55 30
Adam Liberatore, LAD RP -0.24 -0.27 -0.23 0.99 0.37 0.62 86 1.12 56 30
Travis Wood, ChC RP, SP -0.32 0.58 -0.23 0.64 0.8 1.46 57 1.11 57 0
Pat Neshek, Hou RP -0.32 0.15 -0.23 0.45 0.97 1.02 68 1.1 58 10
Cody Allen, Cle RP 0.18 -0.27 3.24 0.34 0.4 3.87 20 0.9 59 -39
Fernando Salas, LAA RP -0.16 0.15 0.3 0.23 0.78 1.3 59 0.85 60 -1
A.J. Ramos, Mia RP 0.14 -0.7 4.57 0.79 -0.11 4.7 13 0.83 61 -48
Tyler Clippard, Ari RP 0.03 0.15 0.03 0.59 0.21 1.01 69 0.83 62 7
Blake Treinen, Wsh RP -0.01 1 -0.23 0.77 0.05 1.58 56 0.81 63 -7
Vance Worley, Bal RP, SP 0.06 0.15 -0.23 0.97 -0.23 0.73 77 0.81 64 13
Aroldis Chapman, NYY RP -0.2 -0.7 2.7 0.55 0.46 2.81 31 0.81 65 -34
Blaine Boyer, Mil RP -0.62 -0.27 0.03 1.04 0.37 0.55 87 0.79 66 21
Heath Hembree, Bos RP -0.16 0.15 -0.23 0.88 0.06 0.7 79 0.78 67 12
Jeremy Jeffress, Mil RP -0.24 -0.27 4.04 0.56 0.43 4.51 14 0.74 68 -54
Luke Gregerson, Hou RP 0.14 -0.7 3.24 -0.08 0.68 3.28 25 0.74 69 -44
Joe Biagini, Tor SP, RP -0.32 0.58 0.03 1.02 0.02 1.33 58 0.72 70 -12
Hunter Strickland, SF RP -0.09 0.15 0.03 0.35 0.44 0.88 73 0.7 71 2
Koji Uehara, Bos RP 0.18 0.15 0.03 -0.1 0.58 0.84 74 0.66 72 2
John Axford, Oak RP -0.24 0.58 0.03 0.51 0.34 1.21 62 0.6 73 -11
Ross Ohlendorf, Cin RP 0.03 1 -0.23 -0.13 0.6 1.27 60 0.5 74 -14
Kyle Barraclough, Mia RP 0.59 0.58 -0.23 0.39 -0.49 0.84 75 0.49 75 0
Francisco Rodriguez, Det RP -0.24 -0.7 4.31 0.27 0.41 4.05 17 0.44 76 -59
Ryan Madson, Oak RP -0.35 0.15 2.97 0.59 0.1 3.47 24 0.35 77 -53
Logan Verrett, NYM RP, SP -0.01 0.58 -0.23 0.53 -0.23 0.63 84 0.28 78 6
Darren O'Day*, Bal RP -0.05 0.15 0.3 0.34 -0.08 0.66 83 0.21 79 4
Jeurys Familia, NYM RP 0.03 0.15 5.11 0.21 -0.05 5.44 10 0.18 80 -70
David Robertson, CWS RP 0.06 -0.7 3.51 -0.03 0.1 2.94 29 0.13 81 -52
Huston Street, LAA RP -0.81 0.15 1.37 0.66 0.26 1.63 55 0.11 82 -27
Joe Smith*, LAA RP -0.35 -0.27 1.37 0.09 0.22 1.05 67 -0.05 83 -16
Jonathan Papelbon, Wsh RP -0.32 -0.7 3.77 0.37 -0.13 2.99 28 -0.08 84 -56
Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP 0.14 0.15 2.7 0.34 -0.6 2.74 33 -0.11 85 -52
Jake McGee, Col RP -0.47 -0.7 3.77 0.25 -0.25 2.6 35 -0.47 86 -51
Brad Ziegler, Ari RP -0.47 -0.27 2.7 0.38 -0.53 1.81 47 -0.62 87 -40
Tony Cingrani, Cin RP -0.09 -0.27 1.1 -0.13 -0.4 0.21 88 -0.62 88 0
Kevin Jepsen, Min RP -0.39 0.15 1.64 -0.83 -1.06 -0.5 89 -2.29 89 0
Shawn Tolleson, Tex RP -0.43 -0.7 2.7 -1.64 -1.12 -1.19 90 -3.19 90 0

Interesting Finds

As stated before, taking out wins didn't alter the ranks as much as I'd assume. Brad Brach and his 5 wins drop from #11 to #22. Michael Feliz and Kevin Siegrist (4 wins each) drop 19 and 17 spots respectively. Erasmo Ramirez took the biggest drop. Eliminating his 7 wins dropped him from #18 overall to #50.

The most eye opening data came from removing saves.

Eliminating saves vaulted Andrew Miller, Seung Hwan Oh, Will Harris, and Brad Brach over top closer Zach Britton. The top 3 closers, however, proved they have great value beyond their saves. Britton, Alex Colome, and Kenley Jansen all stayed in the top 8 overall despite losing their most valued asset.

Others in the top 10 did not fare as well. Robert Osuna dropped from #6 to #23, Steve Cishek from #9 to #29, and Wade Davis from #7 to #32. Although these pitchers are still having great seasons, their value drops quite a bit without wins or saves. Jeanmar Gomez and Mark Melancon, #44 and #45 respectively, suffer more significant drops. The loss of saves severely damages their value. They also can't recover as much as their counterparts because of their low strikeout totals.

The Jeurys Familia Problem

This is by far the most telling part of this research. This is the group of relievers who almost ALL of their value is tied to saves. Familia is the poster child for this club because removing saves from his value drops him from #10 overall all the way down to #80. Familia's season has been camouflaged by his 20 saves, but if those are out of the equation, he is the 80th best relief pitcher this season! Others who's value is tied almost entirely to saves include:
Francisco Rodriguez #17 to #76
David Robertson #29 to #81
Jonathan Papelbon #28 to #84
Trevor Rosenthal #33 to #85
Jake McGee #35 to #86

Papelbon, Rosenthal, and McGee are actually NEGATIVELY impacting their fantasy teams without saves!

Conclusion

This is not a harbinger to cut all these closers. Saves are still an important stat to a fantasy owner's success. This is simply a post to open some eyes and inform baseball fans that most closers are unjustly overrated. This data can also be used to show the awesome seasons non-closers are pitching. It shows the true value of a relief pitcher beyond the world of saves.

Please leave comments if you have any further questions and feel free to let me know what you found most interesting in this research. Thanks for the read!

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