Previous articles in this series:
- Three-Year Rankings: Catcher
- Three-Year Rankings: First Base
- Three-Year Rankings: Second Base
- Three-Year Rankings: Third Base
- Three-Year Rankings: Shortstop
- Three-Year Rankings: Outfield, 1-40
- Three-Year Rankings: Outfield, 41-90
- Three-Year Rankings: Starting Pitchers, 1-50
- Three-Year Rankings: Starting Pitchers, 51-125
I can’t believe Bret is making me do this. I’m going to hold out next offseason.
It’s pretty self-explanatory up top. Kimbrel is a monster and shows no signs of slowing down. Ditto Chapman, who is also left-handed and that’s pretty cool. Holland was actually more valuable than Kimbrel last year for our purposes, but he’s older. Jansen’s dealing with a foot injury might miss some or all of April, but since these are three-year rankings, that doesn’t matter so much.
Melancon is still one of the game’s most underrated relievers. He’s been downright dominant since leaving the Red Sox, throwing 142 innings of sub-2.00 ERA ball the past two years. He’s about to turn 30, but you have to love him in that park for the next few seasons. Robertson and Allen are just good #analysis. Betances is low based on talent alone, but we’re not even sure he’s going to close and we’ve only seen him be dominant once. Rosenthal may seem low if you look at what he did in 2012-2013, but he led to more walks in 2014 than Boston’s train system did this winter. No, I’m not bitter. You’re bitter.
Cishek and Perkins are perennially under drafted because they play for meh teams (industry term) and don’t post insane strikeout numbers, but their consistency should be valued. Britton lacks their upside but is young and has the stuff to thrive, even in Baltimore. McGee’s erratic and has some injury concerns, but when he’s right, he’s like a left-handed Rosenthal.
Neither has a closing gig right now, but these are three-year rankings and both could be earning saves at a moment’s notice. Plus, Giles and Davis are both worth owning in 12-team leagues even if they never close. They’re that good. If peeing your pants is cool, then consider the Giles, Davis tier.
Shoulder injuries are scary, so because he’s had to see a doctor, Doolittle ranks down here. Street’s probably not as old as you think he is—he’s just entering his age-32 season—and while he’s a lock to miss time, he’s effective when on the mound. Uehara’s so old that he might not be pitching in year three, but he’s too good to discount heavily on the front-end. We’ve been hearing about how bad Papelbon’s becoming for so long now that he may actually be underrated, and he’s still “only” 34. Rodney’s about to be 38, despite sporting his hat as though he’s in middle school, and is a pretty reliable short-term RP2. Let’s hope his last few years lead to more moments like this.
You could rank Miller up with Giles and Davis based on ability, or you can rank him in the mid-30s based on the fact that he’s not set as a closer and has horrible contextual factors. We’ll split the middle here. Storen is young and serviceable but lacks upside, while Reed and Feliz are young and serviceable with lower floors. Soria is somehow already almost 31, but he’s something else in Detroit you can bank on closing pretty soon.
This is a pretty uninspiring tier, but Benoit, Casilla, Gregerson, and Rodriguez can get the job done in the short term while Rondon offers some long-term upside. Isn’t this an exciting exercise!? I’m not doing this next year Bret, DO YOU HEAR ME?
Parnell can still dish out some saves in his career; he’s not total trash yet, he just has to make sure he’s on the field when he’s supposed to be. Mejia is there to pick up saves when Parnell inevitably can’t do what’s described above. Nathan is proof that when the end comes for relievers it tends to come fast, but there’s a chance he’s still relevant for a year or two. Soriano’s still out there waiting for someone to love him again, but odds are someone will once a reliever or two goes down.
A bunch of good set-up men who have the potential to see saves in 2015 thanks to injuries or uninspiring depth charts. There’s no point in thinking three years out with these guys given the volatility of relievers, but they might provide you with some value this year. Also LaTroy Hawkins. Never doubt LaTroy Hawkins.
Honorable Mention: Kelvin Herrera, KC; Danny Farquhar, SEA; Tyler Thornburg, MIL; Rex Brothers, COL; Joe Smith, LAA; Casey Janssen, WAS; Kyle Crockett, CLE; Tanner Scheppers, TEX; Neil Ramirez, CHC; J.J. Hoover, CIN; Darren O’Day, BAL; Your Favorite RP Prospect, (Insert Team Here); Your Favorite SP Prospect Who Will Probably Relieve, (Insert Team Here)