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May 23, 2013

Bullpen Report

Introducing Tiers

by Mike Gianella


For this installment of the Bullpen Report, I am adding rankings, by popular demand. Closers are rated in five tiers, from best to worst. The tiers are a combination of my opinion of a pitcher’s ability, the likelihood that he will pick up saves, and his security in the job. For example, a pitcher in the third tier might have better skills than a pitcher in the second tier, but if the third-tier pitcher is new to the job or has blown a couple of saves in the last week, this factors into the ranking as well.

Tier 1 – Money in the Bank

Kimbrel had a rocky stretch in early May but has now converted his last four save opportunities and hasn’t allowed a hit in his last three outings. Grilli’s spectacular performance has been beaten to death, so I won’t repeat that here. Papelbon is an example of a pitcher listed among the elites because of his contract as much as if not more than his skills. Papelbon isn’t bad by any means, but if not for that big contract that offers him such a great deal of job security, he’d be down in the next group.

Tier 2 – Solid and Reliable

Tier 2 is populated by a solid yet unspectacular group of relievers that might not necessarily be exciting but get the job done. Wilhelmsen blew a save on Monday, but it was the result of a seeing-eye single, a bleeder into the outfield, and an error. Wilhelmsen will be fine. Henderson and Mujica are the new kids on the block that could easily move up to the top tier with a couple more weeks of high-level performance. Nathan is the other side of the coin. His ERA and WHIP are fine and he hasn’t blown any saves yet, but Nathan’s velocity is down and he hasn’t looked like his old elite self. Nathan is fine, but doesn’t seem like a top option anymore.

Tier 3 – Yeah…You’re…Good

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (05/23)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Bullpen Report: Diamon... (05/16)
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Fantasy Article Bullpen Report: Movin'... (05/30)
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