The Best Non-Closing Relievers: Top 137

Mar 20

The Best Non-Closing Relievers: Top 137

When I graduated high school, I went to Regis University in Denver, CO, for one year, because I thought I wanted to play baseball.

After two weeks I not only knew that I did not want to play baseball, but that the title of “University” was a misnomer for what Regis really is: 13th grade. Don’t get me wrong, it may have been an ideal situation for some, but for me the lack of beautiful platinum blondes and recreational indulgences spelled out URGENT.

My relocation to the University of Colorado at Boulder met all of the requisite needs that I had for an institute of higher learning, but my transition from Regis to CU enforces an important idea: context.

If you took a girl of average appearance from the University of Colorado, G.O.A.P. mind you, and placed her next to the most attractive girl at Regis, most would mistake the girl from Regis for a soccer mom that has given birth to three children and whose last priority, right below procurement of coupons for oven degreaser, is her appearance.

The girl from the CU did not change at all to have her value increased. She was just placed into a different context. The same can be true for elite relievers that are not closers in Fantasy Baseball. Unless relievers are placed in a certain context—used as the pitcher that throws the last inning of each game—they maintain significantly less value.

Over the long run, a reliever will pitch the same whether or not it’s the seventh inning or the ninth. Like I’ve said before, I assume that because you’ve found this article on some far off corner of the Internet, and as a result have a more developed knowledge of baseball than people that consume baseball through ESPN, you’ll know the previous statement to be true. And because this statement is true, I thought we would look at the best non-closing relievers, as projected by the 2014 Steamer forecasts.

The deeper the league, the more important these pitchers become. Because as the season goes on, closers will lose their jobs, get injured, or a combination of the two, and be replaced by the players on this list.

There are some starters sprinkled in this list because Steamer, the projection system that I used to forecast fantasy value, doesn’t think they will pitch more innings than the maximum innings threshold it set, and there are pitchers—Jason Motte and Kyuji Fujikawa—who were injured the majority of last year that Steamer does not account for. I also just focused on runs allowed per nine and total strikeouts. Relievers that play for teams that have a cluster of relievers that are till in a situation to vie for the closer role have been left in the chart: Rangers, White Sox, Astros.

Best Non-Closing Relievers

RK
Player
zSCR
1Jake McGee1.73
2Joaquin Benoit1.49
3Jason Motte1.43
4Mark Melancon1.37
5Kelvin Herrera1.20
6Jesse Crain1.06
7Danny Farquhar1.02
8Sergio Santos0.87
9Cody Allen0.87
10Jordan Walden0.83
11Kevin Siegrist0.83
12Nate Jones0.83
13Tyler Clippard0.76
14Bruce Rondon0.74
15Kyuji Fujikawa0.72
16J.J. Putz0.72
17Burch Smith0.71
18Sean Doolittle0.68
19Junichi Tazawa0.68
20Will Smith0.62
21Luke Hochevar0.60
22Neal Cotts0.59
23J.J. Hoover0.59
24Shawn Kelley0.57
25Jonny Venters0.53
26Rex Brothers0.52
27Al Alburquerque0.50
28Brian Wilson0.46
29Alex Torres0.46
30Aaron Crow0.44
31Andrew Miller0.44
32Brad Lincoln0.42
33Antonio Bastardo0.42
34Oliver Perez0.40
35Carlos Martinez0.38
36Mike Dunn0.38
37Manny Parra0.36
38Francisco Rodriguez0.33
39Carter Capps0.29
40Paco Rodriguez0.29
41Ryan Cook0.25
42Steve Delabar0.25
43Joel Peralta0.23
44Drew Storen0.21
45Darren O'Day0.17
46Craig Stammen0.15
47Boone Logan0.14
48Heath Bell0.10
49Jeurys Familia0.10
50Jamey Wright0.08
51David Hernandez0.08
52Pedro Strop0.06
53Charlie Furbush0.06
54Christian Garcia0.06
55Brad Ziegler0.05
56Joakim Soria0.03
57Justin Wilson0.01
58Nick Vincent-0.01
59Brett Cecil-0.01
60Tony Watson-0.05
61Sean Marshall-0.07
62Darren Oliver-0.07
63Gonzalez Germen-0.07
64Luis Avilan-0.07
65Jared Burton-0.07
66A.J. Ramos-0.08
67Josh Fields-0.08
68Josh Beckett-0.08
69Jenrry Mejia-0.09
70J.P. Howell-0.09
71David Carpenter-0.09
72Neftali Feliz-0.10
73Blake Parker-0.12
74Tim Collins-0.14
75Michael Kohn-0.14
76Javier Lopez-0.15
77Brandon Kintzler-0.15
78Joe Smith-0.16
79Luke Gregerson-0.16
80Carlos Villanueva-0.17
81Yoervis Medina-0.18
82Vinnie Pestano-0.18
83Tommy Milone-0.19
84Kevin Jepsen-0.20
85Rafael Betancourt-0.20
86Seth Maness-0.21
87Heath Hembree-0.22
88Sam LeCure-0.22
89Carlos Marmol-0.23
90Tim Stauffer-0.24
91Brandon Workman-0.24
92Casey Fien-0.24
93Jonathan Broxton-0.24
94Tanner Scheppers-0.24
95Roberto Hernandez-0.25
96Drew Pomeranz-0.26
97Brian Matusz-0.26
98Vic Black-0.27
99Bryan Shaw-0.29
100Joe Thatcher-0.29
101Robbie Ross-0.31
102Yusmeiro Petit-0.32
103Tyler Lyons-0.32
104Mike Adams-0.33
105Matt Thornton-0.33
106Joel Hanrahan-0.33
107Randy Choate-0.35
108Jesse Chavez-0.35
109Arodys Vizcaino-0.35
110Jeremy Affeldt-0.35
111Louis Coleman-0.35
112Matt Belisle-0.37
113Brian Duensing-0.37
114Chris Perez-0.37
115Kevin Gausman-0.41
116Brandon Gomes-0.41
117Adam Ottavino-0.42
118Tom Wilhelmsen-0.42
119Josh Collmenter-0.43
120Justin De Fratus-0.44
121Jake Diekman-0.44
122Josh Lueke-0.48
123Dale Thayer-0.48
124Joba Chamberlain-0.48
125Juan Oviedo-0.50
126Chris Withrow-0.50
127Santiago Casilla-0.50
128Matt Lindstrom-0.50
129Franklin Morales-0.52
130Neil Wagner-0.54
131Jean Machi-0.56
132Aaron Loup-0.56
133James Russell-0.57
134Tom Gorzelanny-0.58
135Dane de la Rosa-0.59
136Stephen Pryor-0.59
137Josh Edgin-0.59

Jake Mcgee: Tampa Bay Rays

Jake McGee tops the list, and although he showed signs of decline at the start of last year, there may be somewhat of an explanation for the ineffectiveness. McGee worked on cutter in spring training last year, and when the 2013 season started he put the cutter away, and said that he didn’t have as good of command with his fastball because of the time he spent with the cutter in spring training. I tried to find a source for this, but was only able to find a dialogue about it in the most recent episode of the Sleeper and the Bust.

McGee FF

A cool 96 MPH from the left side.

This isn’t to say that Grant Balfour, the incumbent Rays closer, will lose his job in 2014. It’s to say that if Balfour happens to get hurt or become ineffective, McGee could become a top Fantasy option.

Joaquin Benoit: San Diego Padres

benoitdance2

I planned to associate a metaphor between Lindsay Lohan’s frequently, regular tendency to fall off the wagon, and Huston Street’s similar pattern of misfortune when it comes to injures, but that would be low hanging fruit. So instead, we can talk about what we know. 1.) Huston Street will—we can’t say with absolute certainty, but the greatest predictor of future injuries are past injuries, which he has had a lot of—land on the DL in 2014. 2.) Joaquin Benoit is good reliever. Great combination.

Lindsay Lohan

This picture says it all. Notice the ankle bracelet. What college taught me: if you want to trick an ankle bracelet that monitors for alcohol, all you have to do is soak a piece of leather in water, insert the piece in between your skin and the monitor, and re-saturate until the alcohol is gone from your system.

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Devin Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading him, follow him on Twitter @devinjjordan.

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