FanPost

2016 Pure Reliever Rankings: All-Star Break Edition

David Butler II-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 truly 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. You can find last month's results here.

Here are the results (rankings are through July 10th):

PLAYER, TEAM POS K W SV ERA WHIP PR PR Rank PR - Wins&Saves Pure RP Rank Change
Brad Brach, Bal RP 0.62 1.22 0.17 2.22 1.91 6.13 7 4.74 1 6
Andrew Miller, NYY RP 0.91 0.9 1.17 1.57 1.95 6.49 5 4.42 2 3
Kenley Jansen, LAD RP 0.43 0.26 5.16 1.66 2.12 9.63 1 4.21 3 -2
Seung Hwan Oh, StL RP 0.64 -0.06 0.17 1.64 1.67 4.07 25 3.96 4 21
Joe Blanton, LAD RP 0.35 0.58 -0.23 1.38 2.18 4.26 22 3.91 5 17
Ryan Dull, Oak RP 0.32 -0.06 -0.03 1.36 2.16 3.75 29 3.84 6 23
Zach Britton, Bal RP 0.21 -0.06 5.16 1.86 1.54 8.71 2 3.61 7 -5
Kelvin Herrera, KC RP 0.46 -0.38 -0.03 1.39 1.44 2.88 37 3.29 8 29
Mike Montgomery, Sea RP 0.32 0.26 -0.23 1.62 1.32 3.3 34 3.27 9 25
Dellin Betances, NYY RP 1.15 -0.06 -0.23 0.95 1.15 2.96 35 3.25 10 25
Addison Reed, NYM RP 0.46 -0.06 -0.03 1.2 1.39 2.95 36 3.04 11 25
Hector Rondon, ChC RP 0.19 -0.38 2.56 1.13 1.7 5.2 12 3.02 12 0
Chris Devenski, Hou RP 0.32 -0.7 -0.03 1.49 1.21 2.29 42 3.02 13 29
Fernando Rodney, Mia RP 0.08 -0.7 3.16 1.57 1.15 5.26 11 2.8 14 -3
Matt Andriese, TB RP 0.35 1.22 -0.23 1.22 1.22 3.78 28 2.79 15 13
Will Harris, Hou RP 0.11 -0.38 1.57 1.43 1.19 3.92 26 2.73 16 10
Nate Jones, CWS RP 0.19 0.58 0.37 1 1.49 3.62 31 2.67 17 14
Adam Liberatore, LAD RP -0.05 -0.38 -0.23 1.53 1.16 2.03 49 2.64 18 31
Roberto Osuna, Tor RP 0.35 -0.06 3.36 1.09 1.18 5.92 9 2.62 19 -10
David Phelps, Mia RP 0.56 0.58 0.37 1.06 0.96 3.53 33 2.58 20 13
Mark Melancon, Pit RP -0.08 -0.7 5.16 1.55 1.03 6.96 4 2.5 21 -17
Pedro Baez, LAD RP 0.4 -0.06 -0.23 0.61 1.45 2.18 45 2.47 22 23
Tyler Thornburg, Mil RP 0.35 0.26 0.17 0.82 1.1 2.7 38 2.27 23 15
Hector Neris, Phi RP 0.59 0.26 -0.03 0.87 0.75 2.43 41 2.2 24 17
Luke Gregerson, Hou RP 0.35 0.26 2.56 0.44 1.31 4.92 18 2.1 25 -7
Dan Otero, Cle RP -0.03 -0.06 -0.03 1.48 0.65 2.01 51 2.1 26 25
Shawn Kelley, Wsh RP 0.38 -0.38 0.57 0.69 1.02 2.27 43 2.08 27 16
Cam Bedrosian, LAA RP 0.03 -0.38 -0.23 1.48 0.56 1.46 62 2.07 28 34
Pedro Strop, ChC RP 0.27 -0.06 -0.23 0.51 1.16 1.65 54 1.94 29 25
Ryan Buchter, SD RP 0.54 -0.38 -0.03 0.87 0.53 1.52 58 1.93 30 28
Steve Cishek, Sea RP 0.43 -0.06 3.96 0.6 0.9 5.83 10 1.93 31 -21
Alex Colome, TB RP 0.11 -0.38 3.56 1.16 0.62 5.08 14 1.9 32 -18
Neftali Feliz, Pit RP 0.13 0.26 -0.03 0.66 1.11 2.13 47 1.9 33 14
Wade Davis, KC RP -0.19 -0.38 3.56 1.27 0.75 5.02 15 1.84 34 -19
Yusmeiro Petit, Wsh RP -0.05 0.26 -0.03 0.99 0.82 1.99 52 1.76 35 17
Jake Diekman, Tex RP 0.03 -0.38 0.17 0.71 0.97 1.5 59 1.71 36 23
Brad Hand, SD RP 0.67 -0.06 -0.23 0.75 0.28 1.42 64 1.71 37 27
Sam Dyson, Tex RP -0.11 -0.38 3.36 0.95 0.83 4.65 21 1.67 38 -17
A.J. Ramos, Mia RP 0.27 -0.7 5.16 1.01 0.4 6.13 8 1.67 39 -31
Tony Watson, Pit RP -0.05 -0.38 -0.23 0.67 1.03 1.04 77 1.65 40 37
Kevin Siegrist, StL RP -0.03 0.9 -0.03 0.67 0.98 2.5 39 1.63 41 -2
Tyler Lyons, StL RP 0.19 -0.06 -0.23 0.49 0.93 1.33 69 1.62 42 27
Scott Feldman, Hou RP 0.03 0.9 -0.23 1.18 0.39 2.26 44 1.59 43 1
Cody Allen, Cle RP 0.3 -0.06 3.36 0.78 0.52 4.89 19 1.59 44 -25
Jeurys Familia, NYM RP 0.16 -0.06 5.95 0.98 0.42 7.46 3 1.57 45 -42
Aroldis Chapman, NYY RP 0.08 0.26 3.16 0.65 0.81 4.96 16 1.54 46 -30
A.J. Schugel, Pit RP 0.08 -0.06 -0.03 0.45 0.99 1.44 63 1.53 47 16
Jeanmar Gomez, Phi RP -0.24 0.26 4.56 0.95 0.75 6.28 6 1.46 48 -42
Michael Feliz, Hou RP 0.59 1.22 -0.23 -0.03 0.9 2.45 40 1.46 49 -9
Travis Wood, ChC RP -0.19 0.26 -0.23 0.64 1 1.49 60 1.46 50 10
Pat Neshek, Hou RP -0.29 -0.06 -0.23 0.69 1.05 1.17 73 1.46 51 22
Luke Hochevar, KC RP 0.11 -0.38 -0.23 0.51 0.83 0.84 89 1.45 52 37
Nick Vincent, Sea RP 0.19 -0.06 -0.03 0.39 0.84 1.33 70 1.42 53 17
Craig Kimbrel, Bos RP 0.4 -0.38 3.16 0.32 0.65 4.15 24 1.37 54 -30
Jerry Blevins, NYM RP -0.24 0.26 -0.23 0.78 0.81 1.38 66 1.35 55 11
Sean Doolittle, Oak RP 0 -0.06 0.57 0.57 0.72 1.81 53 1.3 56 -3
Heath Hembree, Bos RP 0 0.58 -0.23 1.13 0.15 1.64 55 1.29 57 -2
Carlos Torres, Mil RP 0.24 -0.38 0.17 0.7 0.28 1.02 80 1.23 58 22
Deolis Guerra, LAA RP -0.45 -0.06 -0.23 0.57 1.09 0.92 86 1.21 59 27
Tony Barnette, Tex RP -0.16 1.22 -0.23 1.02 0.33 2.17 46 1.18 60 -14
Santiago Casilla, SF RP 0.24 -0.38 3.96 0.68 0.25 4.75 20 1.17 61 -41
Matt Barnes, Bos RP 0.21 -0.06 -0.23 0.77 0.18 0.87 87 1.16 62 25
Nick Wittgren, Mia RP -0.19 0.26 -0.23 0.57 0.75 1.17 72 1.14 63 9
Derek Law, SF RP -0.05 0.26 -0.03 0.59 0.6 1.36 67 1.13 64 3
Blake Treinen, Wsh RP -0.05 0.58 -0.23 0.99 0.2 1.48 61 1.13 65 -4
Tyler Clippard, Ari RP 0.16 -0.06 -0.03 0.6 0.36 1.03 79 1.12 66 13
Francisco Rodriguez, Det RP -0.13 -0.7 4.56 0.57 0.64 4.94 17 1.08 67 -50
Brandon Kintzler, Min RP -0.51 -0.7 0.77 0.69 0.89 1.14 74 1.07 68 6
Hansel Robles, NYM RP 0.46 0.26 -0.23 0.73 -0.13 1.09 75 1.06 69 6
Zach Duke, CWS RP 0.05 -0.06 -0.03 0.74 0.22 0.93 84 1.02 70 14
Dan Jennings, CWS RP -0.29 0.26 -0.23 1.39 -0.08 1.05 76 1.02 71 5
Kyle Barraclough, Mia RP 0.67 0.58 -0.23 0.5 -0.17 1.35 68 1 72 -4
Matt Bush, Tex RP -0.27 0.26 -0.23 0.65 0.56 0.97 83 0.94 73 10
Jeremy Jeffress, Mil RP -0.19 -0.06 4.36 1.01 0 5.13 13 0.83 74 -61
Joakim Soria, KC RP 0.03 0.26 -0.03 0.56 0.19 1.01 81 0.78 75 6
Hunter Strickland, SF RP -0.16 0.26 -0.03 0.56 0.37 1 82 0.77 76 6
Arodys Vizcaino, Atl RP 0.32 -0.38 1.77 0.75 -0.33 2.13 48 0.74 77 -29
Jonathan Papelbon, Wsh RP -0.21 -0.38 3.56 0.58 0.34 3.9 27 0.72 78 -51
Koji Uehara, Bos RP 0.35 -0.06 0.57 -0.28 0.64 1.21 71 0.7 79 -8
Tony Cingrani, Cin RP -0.19 -0.38 1.77 0.56 0.27 2.03 50 0.64 80 -30
Cory Gearrin, SF RP -0.16 0.26 0.17 0.17 0.58 1.03 78 0.6 81 -3
Mychal Givens, Bal RP 0.4 1.22 -0.23 0.49 -0.35 1.54 56 0.55 82 -26
Ross Ohlendorf, Cin RP 0.21 0.9 -0.03 0.09 0.23 1.4 65 0.53 83 -18
David Robertson, CWS RP 0.21 -0.7 4.36 0.52 -0.21 4.18 23 0.52 84 -61
Brad Ziegler, Bos RP -0.16 -0.06 3.36 0.81 -0.29 3.67 30 0.37 85 -55
Carlos Estevez, Col RP 0 -0.06 0.57 -0.04 0.3 0.78 90 0.27 86 4
Erasmo Ramirez, TB RP 0.16 1.54 -0.23 0.08 -0.02 1.53 57 0.22 87 -30
Kevin Quackenbush, SD RP -0.37 0.9 -0.23 0.19 0.38 0.87 88 0.2 88 0
Ryan Madson, Oak RP -0.11 0.26 3.16 0.32 -0.03 3.61 32 0.19 89 -57
Blake Wood, Cin RP 0.13 0.9 -0.03 0.61 -0.69 0.93 85 0.06 90 -5
Joe Smith, LAA RP -0.35 -0.38 0.97 -0.25 -0.34 -0.34 93 -0.93 91 2
Jake McGee, Col RP -0.43 -0.7 2.76 -0.69 -0.56 0.38 92 -1.68 92 0
Huston Street, LAA RP -0.64 0.26 1.17 -0.23 -0.9 -0.35 94 -1.78 93 1
Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP 0.19 -0.06 2.56 -0.51 -1.66 0.53 91 -1.97 94 -3
Shawn Tolleson, Tex RP -0.27 -0.06 1.97 -1.41 -1.02 -0.79 95 -2.7 95 0

Interesting Finds

Francisco Rodriguez moves into the top 10 without wins (he has zero wins so far this season). Kelvin Herrera moves up 6 spots and Arodys Vizcaino moves up 8 spots into the top 40 without factoring in wins for relievers. Those who lost the most value in dropping their win totals include Brad Brach(#7 to #19), Michael Feliz(#40 to #64), Tony Barnette(#46 to #75), and Mychal Givens (#56 to #89). All of those relievers have 6 wins on the season. Erasmo Ramirez saw the biggest hit to his value as taking away his 7 wins dropped him from #57 to #92.

The most eye opening data came from removing saves.

Eliminating saves pushed Brad Brach to #1 in the rankings. His 0.91ERA and 0.83WHIP help him achieve this spot. Andrew Miller, last month's #1 Pure Reliever, falls to #2 despite actually improving his numbers from the month prior. Kenley Jansen, the #1 reliever when accounting for saves, lands at #3 in the Pure Reliever rankings. He and #2 standard scoring reliever Zach Britton both remain in the top 8, proving their value extends past their ability to close games.

The top 20 Pure Relievers have some eye opening names many owners may be unaware of how well they have pitched. In fact, 7 of the top 11 and 13 of the top 20 are all relievers who rank outside of the top 20 when saves and wins are factored in. Seung Hwan Oh and Joe Blanton join Brach, Miller, Jansen, and Britton as the only Pure Relievers to rank inside the top 10 both months. Oh has a chance to keep the closer job for the Cardinals the rest of this season. If he does, he is easily a Top 5 standard scoring reliever based on his numbers.

The Jeurys Familia Problem

This is my favorite part of this research. This section of the post is dedicated to those relievers whose value is tied almost ENTIRELY to saves. As noted last month, Jeurys Familia dropped 70! spots losing his saves. Familia continued to lead the way in saves (31) and despite losing a ton of value in those, he didn't fall quite as far as he did last month. This month he dropped 42 spots from #3 to #45. Jeanmar Gomez also fell 42 spots. Familia and Gomez lost the most value of any top 10 standard relievers. The biggest drops this month are shared between Jeremy Jeffress(#13 to #74) and David Robertson(#23 to #84). Each reliever lost 61 spots in the ranking when losing their save and win totals. Others who's value dropped tremendously without saves include:
Santiago Casilla #20 to #61
Francisco Rodriguez #17 to #67
Jonathan Papelbon #27 to #78
Brad Ziegler #30 to #85
Ryan Madison #32 to #89

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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