So here’s the thing – closers are shaky. And not all relievers are closers. And some relievers are actually starters. And each team really only has one pitcher that they’d like to hand the ball to in the ninth inning. So all of these factors make the Relief Pitcher rankings for 2015 a little crazy.
By crazy, I mean that you’d be hardpressed to find a set of Relief Pitcher rankings for 2015 on two different sites that look even remotely similar.
You’ll see in the rankings tool below by FantasyPros.com. They show you the Experts Consensus Rankings (ECR) next to the player/team name. It shows how much higher or lower my ranking is compared to the consensus.
You’ll see lots of crazy numbers in the ECR. Some of those numbers can be attributed to our site ranking some starting pitchers with relief eligibility among the relievers, while some rankings only list them with the starters. Since they have at least 10 relief appearances and five starts, they are listed at both positions for us. We’re cool like that.
Other relievers with big differences in the ECR – well, I’ll try to explain as we go.
2015 Relief Pitcher Rankings
Here are some players that stand out in our relief pitcher rankings compared to the ECR:
Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis: I was reluctant to jump on the Rosenthal wagon last year because he really hadn’t proved himself much in the closer role …
Dellin Betances, N.Y. Yankees: … Which is also why I likely won’t end up owning the Yankees’ new closer. Betances is certainly talented – and can help your team a lot with strikeouts even if he isn’t the closer. But that last-inning pitcher can turn a young pitcher into a headcase. I’ll be all in on Betances next season if he dominates in the ninth this season.
Kenley Jansen, L.A. Dodgers: Jansen could miss all of Spring Training, as well as a month-and-a-half of the regular season with a foot surgery to remove a growth. He’s also going to have to get into shape, holding his own Spring Training in May.
Santiago Casilla, San Francisco: Closer on the reigning World Champs in a great pitcher’s park? I’ll take it.
Brett Cecil, Toronto: The Blue Jays have had troubles in the ninth inning before, and Cecil has some experience there. Will rookie Aaron Sanchez inherit the job? Ask Tigers closer Bruce Rondon how that worked out for him a couple years ago.
Kevin Jepsen, Tampa Bay: He’s a grizzled veteran entering his Age-30 season, and he’s coming off his best season in the majors, with a 2.63 ERA in 74 games last year. He’ll be a placeholder (unless Brad Boxberger wins the gig), until Jake McGee (elbow) returns from injury.
Joakim Soria, Detroit: You better hope and pray that everyone else leaves Soria for the later rounds for you to snatch up as your ninth pitcher. With Joe Nathan struggling last season, and Soria plenty of time away from his Tommy John surgery, you can bet he’ll be the Tigers’ dominant closer by the All-Star Game.
No doubt, these 2015 Relief Pitcher rankings will be adjusted up and down as Spring Training rolls around.
Aroldis Chapman Photo Credit: Keith Allison
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.