Top 50 Clearing Lighteners | pitcher list (2023)

Continuing our fantasy baseball rankings today, we now look at some relief pitchers that probably won't be a major factor in save-only leagues, but might give you double-digit hold. I say it every year, but if you don't happen to be in a league where holds are counted, I highly recommend finding one (or convincing your commissioner to add them), because you're really missing out. The league is quickly adapting to a more close commission approach, making these leagues more relevant than ever before. In my opinion it makes competitions more realistic because we all have theNick AndersonsInvan Devin Williamsof the league are typically considered "better real life than fantasy" players.

My personal strategy when it comes to clearing, especially during design, is to prioritize the high upside relievers over the safer floor types. In reality, "safe" and "enlightener" are like oil and water anyway. I'm betting on someone who has shown his ability to miss bats at a rapid pace early in the season and adapt as the year progresses. You may notice some names are missing, but anyone competing for a rotation spot or expected to open the season on the injury list was left out for now. With that being said, let's get to the rankings.

NOTE: All ADPs listed are based on NFBC data from 01/01/2021 to 02/15/2021)

Level 1

Nr. 1: Devin Williams (Milwaukee Brewers)

This really wasn't a hard decision, likeDevin Williamswas by far the best reliever in baseball last season en route to the NL Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year honors. Williams' dominant 2020 saw him finish as the top reliever in xWOBA (.179), Whiff% (52%), SwStr% (22.3%), K% (53%), SIERA (1.56), and xFIP (1.09) , among many other statistics. Williams' go-to offering is his change, a pitch that had remarkable results last year (is a 12.8 pVAL good?). He threw 227 changes, resulting in only 2 hits, 5 walks and 41 strikeouts.

While it's only a sample of 27 IPs, there's no reason to believe the changes Williams made in 2020 won't stick. He redefined his change, a field that had an average vertical drop of 32.6 inches in 2019 and increased that number by more than 8 inches to 40.9 inches in 2020. His 8.3″ vertical drop vs AVG and 4.7 ″ horizontal movement vs AVG both were the highest among pitchers throwing 160 or more substitutions last season. It's arguably the best pitch in baseball, and one that shouldn't be going fast anyway.

Level 2

Nr. 2: Tanner Rainey (Washington Nationals)

Tanner Raineyhas a similar profile toJames Karinchak, top-notch swing and miss stuff (47.3% Whiff, 21.5% SwStr, 42.7% K rate) which comes with some control issues. Rainy wasable to get his commandlast season he finished with a walking percentage below 10% for the first time in his career. And if that number sticks, the top here is through the roof. Armed with a 90s fastball and an alien slider (73% Whiff rate!), Rainey is a prototypical closer waiting. His 2.30 SIERA was also 5th lowest among all qualified relievers.Brad handwill open the year as the Nationals draw closer, but don't be shocked if Rainey gets a chance to close out games next season.

No. 3: Tyler Duffey (Minnesota Twins)

Despite being in a busy, talented bullpen,Tyler Duffeycame up with 12 holds last season, second most by any reliever. He also performed in all other categories (except wins) and is making a name for himself as one of the best setup men in baseball. Duffey's curveball became his offering of choice last season, a field that gets a lot of hitters to chase (38% O-Swing). Duffey, like many pitchers in 2020, saw a dip in fastball speed, so that's something to keep an eye on to make sure it's not a trend. He was also very lucky with BABIP, as his .212 rating is .101 points below his career average. Duffey's role shouldn't change this season, and neither should his production.

Number 4:Trevor Rosenthal (free agent)

After being arguably the worst pitcher in baseball in 2019,Trevor Rosenthalreturned to its old cardinal form in 2020. Rosenthal's ability to miss bats has never gone away, but it was nice to see him lower his walk percentage to 8.8% while posting a career-high K percentage of 41.8%. His .210 xWOBA and 2.31 SIERA also both accounted for the top 10 among relievers in 2020. The only concern here is durability (39 IP over the past 3 seasons) and what his role in his new team might be. Rosenthal, only 30 years old, would be a great bullpen piece for any team, regardless of role, but he's usually paired with teams that already have closers.

Number 5:Jordan Romano (Toronto Blue Jays)

Including the Blue JaysKirby Yates, it meant unfortunatelyroman jordaanwould fall back into a setup role. Similar to Devin Williams, Romano came onto the scene last season after a rough MLB debut in 2019. His 19.4% SwStr and 43.8% Whiff percentages definitely fall into the elite or near-elite category, while a 2 .40 xFIP would have been good for 6th lowest, had he qualified (3 innings shy). Romano worked his fastball off his "devastating slider“, and while he threw his slider 60% of the time, it was his fastball that was his outpitch (52.4% Whiff rate on a fastball!). All the tools are there for Romano to be a dominant enlightener in the future, assuming health cooperates.

Level 3

Number 6:Trevor May (New York Mets)

One of the first relievers to sign this offseason,Trevor meiagreed to a 2-year, $15 million deal with the Mets on December 1. That looks like one of the best contracts of the winter yet as the Mets get a top setup man on the job for closerEdwin Diaz. With 43% Whiff, 71.7% Z-Contact and 32.3% K-BB percentages, you can expect May to do the most damage with his slider and changeup. However, it was his fastball that he threw 48% of the time and had an insane 47% Whiff percentage in 2020.

No. 7: Chad Green (New York Yankees)

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With theAdam Piccolotrade to the Red Sox, it may have finally been releasedChad Greento earn consistent waiting opportunities. Green has usually been a great fantasy source for ratios and K's, but now with onlyZak Brittonahead of him in the pecking order, Green may also be willing to contribute with culling. After an up and down 2019 in which Green “made 15 starts” as an opener, Green appeared strictly out of the bullpen last year and returned to his 2017-18 ways…almost. Green finished the season with a .221 xWOBA and a career-high 15.2% SwStr percentage. He may not have the K on his head that the others above him have, and he's prone to a few blowouts from time to time, but Green is one of the more stable relievers in hold leagues for 2021.

Nr. 8: Pete Fairbanks (Tampa Bay Rays)

Equipped with a '90s fastball and a nasty slider,Piet Fairbanksis your prototypical late inning reliever with plus swing and miss potential. Like Williams and Romano, 2020 was Fairbanks' first "full" season and he did not disappoint. He ended up with 16.7% SwStr, 37.7% Whiff, and 33.3% K rates, eventually putting himself behind in a setup roleNick AndersenIndiego castilla. While the arrow seems to be pointing upwards for Fairbanks, it's important to remember that he's already had two Tommy John surgeries (once in high school, then again in 2017-18) and the 2019 season was his first since 2016 with more than 60 turns. thrown.

No. 9: Aaron Bummer(Chicago White Sox)

As much as I'd like to see itAaron Bummer(akaZak Britton2.0) taking over as the White Sox as closer this season, he's still a great asset in setting up leaguesLiam Hendrix. Bummer is a ground ball machine, posting rates of 72.1%, 68.4% over the last two seasons, but that's not to say he can't knock out batters either. His 36.8% K and 35% Whiff percentages last season, which are likely to drop in 2021, show he can still get K's when needed.

Nr. 10:Zack Britton (New York Yankees)

Zak Brittonhas been a mainstay on these lists for seven years and shows no signs of slowing down. Britton was fantastic for the Yankees in the first half of last season when he filled inAroldis Chapman, earned 8 saves and finished the year with 11 SV + HLDs. Britton, a groundball specialist, continued to use his sinker more than 80% of the time last year, leading to a league-high GB percentage of 72%. A 21% K percentage isn't something to get excited about from a reliever, but it's not like Britton can't miss high-tempo bats. His slider, who has a usage rate of less than 20% since becoming a reliever, managed to achieve a Whiff percentage of 64.3% in 2020 and 61% in 2019. One wonders if Britton has field will continue to use more given how effective it has been in small doses. Even if he doesn't, Britton is about as safe an option as there is when it comes to keeping leagues going, we just can't count on him to help with strikeouts... yet.

Nr. 11:Blake Trains (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Blake Trainshad a great season with the Dodgers and earned a second contract with the team, but like Britton, his nasty things don't translate into a high K-score. For someone who finished last year with an O-Swing of 41.2%, it's hard to understand how he only managed a Whiff percentage of 22.9% and a K percentage of 20.6%. That's not to say he's ineffective, as his weak contact attack plan clearly works, it just leaves you wanting more from a fantasy perspective. So just like Britton, Treinen is a safe, reliable option for running leagues, but just don't count on him helping much with strikeouts.

Nr. 12:Evan Marshall (Chicago White Sox)

I don't think anyone expected to hear itEvan Marshallsname in the conversation for best curveball last summer, but here we are. Marshall's curveball finished with a CSW percentage of 50.4%, the highest in all of baseball. With a 58.5% whiff rate and .108 xWOBA against, why did he only pitch this pitch 16.7% of the time in 2019?Breakdown of Marshall's pitch uselast season was fascinating, throwing his fastball/sinker just under 30% of the time, while his change stayed his bet (38.6%) and he increased his curveball to 31.6% use. This, predictably, led to a career-high O-Swing, with his 41.8% O-Swing ranking second among qualified relievers. Even in a stacked White Sox bullpen, Marshall should continue to see plenty of opportunities.

Level 4

Nr. 13: Scott Barlow (Kansas City Royals)

Though the ERA won't show it,Scott Barlowhas improved since its debut in 2018 and may be on the cusp of a breakout campaign. Barlow reached career highs with a 16.6% SwStr, 37.6% Whiff and 31.2% K percentages as he lowered his running percentage from 11.9% in 2019 to 7.2% last year. Barlow should return to a startup role again in 2021 and could take over the closer role at some pointGr Hollandfalter or be traded. Barlow led the league in winless appearances in 2020 (25), and had it not been for two rough performances last year (9/2 vs. CLE, 9/19 vs. MIL), one of the elite- lineups men in baseball. Despite the sneaky deep Royals bullpen, it was Barlow's 9 SV+HLD that led the Royals in 2020.

Nr. 14:Freddy Peralta (Milwaukee Brewers)

The Brewers have athird relief aceinFreddy Peraltaas long as he stays in that role. The Brewers gifted Peralta an early renewal, so maybe they'll check him out in the rotation again, but after 3 seasons, it looks like he's coming out of the bullpen for the best. Peralta relies heavily on a 93 MPH fastball, a pitch that's surprisingly effective even with the high usage rate and slower speed than most relievers. Last season he was able to raise the field more, and coupled with improvements to his curveball led to career highs in Whiff (39.8%) and K (37.6%). The only problem with Peralta is how will it be used? As a starter, long reliever, or will he have a chance to earn double-digit holds? Teams can typically (for fantasy purposes) maintain 2-3 consistent hold relievers, and Peralta shouldn't fall behind anyone else in that bullpen except Williams and possiblyBrent Suter.

Nr. 15:Jonathan Hernandez (Texas Rangers)

Continuing the trend of young, 1st or 2nd year relievers to breakthrough,Jonathan Hernandezwas the Rangers' leading reliever in 2020, while also leading the league in innings pitched by a reliever with 31. Hernandez uses three-plus pitches; a sinking '90s fastball, a slider to tuck away right-handed hitters, and a substitution to finish off left-handers. This ability to miss bats didn't result in a ton of strikeouts (24.8% K percentage), but that should come with time with the speed he gets with his secondary pitches. Hernandez should be locked up ifJose Leclercstop handcuff, and with how the Rangers plan to use him (2-3 innings per game), he should be back at the top of the IP reliever standings.

Nr. 16:Victor Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Although it is only a sample of 15 games,Victor Gonzalezhas the makings of a future auxiliary bait, thanks in large part to its devastating slider. Gonzalez's slider was fantastic against hitters from both sides of the plate, ending 2020 with absurd 56.6% Whiff and 40.9% PutAway rates. The pitch helped Gonzalez to an almost 40% O-Swing (39.7%) as batters regularly chased the field out of the zone. Gonzalez combined the slider with a heavy float that yielded a GB rate of 67.3%, which was the second highest mark among qualified relievers. It remains to be seen what role Gonzalez will have in the Dodger bullpen, but he should be called upon to get closerKenly Jansenoften.

Nr. 17:Codi Heuer (Chicago White Sox)

While Gonzalez's rookie season showed how good his slider is,Pick up Heuersdid exactly the same. Heuer is similar to Gonzalez, only from the right side and he throws his sinker just a little harder, averaging 97.6 MPH. However, Heuer relied much more on his sinker than Gonzalez, despite having a slider with a ridiculous 66.7% Whiff rate. I'd like to see Heuer increase its slider usage from 25% to closer to 40% next season, which in turn should lead to a nice increase in strikeouts. As I mentioned earlier with Peralta, Heuer should slide in as the 2nd or 3rd setup option despite a crowded bullpen, which should lead to a lot of holding opportunities.

Nr. 18:Josh Staumont (Kansas City Royals)

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Much of the same can be said about thatIf StaumontHowever, Staumont has a considerably higher walking pace. Able to get plenty of swings and misses on both his curveball and his fastball, Staumont only needs to use his control to fly at the top of this list. While others have done this (cfTanner Rainey) it's reasonable to be skeptical that Staumont ever did this as he hasn't had a running percentage of less than 11.4% at any level since his professional debut in 2015. minor league quit by a fairly significant margin. The stuff is there for him to be elite, but a running percentage closer to 10% is needed to really take that next step.

Nr. 19:John Gant (St. Louis Cardinals)

John Gentdealt with a groin injury last season, which obviously sapped some of his speed as he was down 2+ MPH across the board as he tried to push through the pain. Gant was still able to appear in 15 games and "set" career lows in ERA (2.40) and WHIP (1.07). A former starter not too long ago, Gant is one of those rare relievers who actually uses a five-pitch mix, his bread and butter being his sinker and variety. No matter how the Cardinals' pitching staff ends up, Gant should be a fixture at the back of games and be a reliable source of holdouts.

Nr. 20: MIke Mayers (Los Angeles Angels)

Similar to Evan Marshall,Mike Mayersis another great example of an enlightener starting to use its best-offspeed pitch as its primary offering, and to wonderful results. While with the Cardinals from 2016-2019, Mayers went to his fastball about 60% of the time and got very average results at best. With the Angels last year, Mayers dropped his fastball usage by nearly 30% while using a new cutter 24.2% of the time. Now throwing his slider more than any other pitch (39.6%), Mayers set career records in almost every category, eventually finishing games for the Angels. With no reason to expect that trend to change, Mayers is a great option in competitions in 2021.

Level 5

When. 21: Emily Heiden(San Diego Padres)

After an outbreak in 2019 saw thatEmily Haydenwhile the Rays were closing in de facto, Pagan was traded to the Padres last winter and things didn't go so well. It was actually more of a rough start to the season, as Pagan fared much better in his last 11 IP (1.64 ERA, .64 WHIP) than in his first 11 (7.36, 1.46). His fastball wasn't nearly as effective, and judging by heatmaps from 2020 and 2019, he seemed to miss the plate with his cutter much more often last year. Perhaps that was a result of his bicep injury, and while I do like his chances of bouncing back this season, I'm not sure we can count on the K-speed and swing-and-miss numbers we saw in 2019 . Pomeranz or Melancon seems to be the favorite for rescues in this bullpen, but Pagan will definitely be the mix, potentially leading to another nasty timeshare.

Nr. 22:Austin Adams (San Diego Padres)

Austin Adamsteased us with an electric fastball/slider combination for the past few years, but unfortunately struggled to stay sane. Adams was limited to just 4 innings in 2020, so let's take a look at his 2019 to see why Adams is worthy of your attention in competitions. Only 4 relievers with a minimum of 30 IP had a K percentage over 40% in 2019, with Adams in 2nd placeJos Haderat 42.1%. His slider, which comes in at around 89 MPH with a spin rate of over 2800 RPMs, ended that year with a Whiff rate of 48.4%. Given his injury history, there is some risk in drafting Adams, but if he can finally put together a full season, the reward will be well worth it.

Nr. 23:wanof the serum(Washington Nationals)

hiking serumseems to have followedKenley Jansenscutter heavy approach, throwing over the field more than 80% of the time in 2020. While he won't be overwhelmed by speed (91 MPH), he was still able to produce a career-high 15.6% SwStr speed last season. Suero also does a good job of getting swings out of zone (36.6% O-Swing) and limiting contact while working in zone (73.9% Z-Contact). Suero should return to a regular role for the Nationals, where his 25 positions over the past two seasons rank him tied for 20th among all pitchers in that span.

Nr. 24:Ryan Brasier (Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox relieverRyan Brasserhas flashed swing and miss stuff since joining the team in 2017, but he still has a lot to help in the ratio department. Brasier's best pitch is his slider, which earned a 46.5% Whiff percentage in 2020, and given how often his fastball is hit, he might want to consider a pitch to throw more often. With a total of 29 holds over the past 3 seasons, Brasier should continue to play a startup role in a shallow Boston bullpen.

Nr. 25:Andreas Miller(St Louis Cardinals)

Andreas Miller, who turns 36 in May and has suffered numerous injuries, was better than expected in his 13 innings last season, but can we trust him for next season? The short answer to that is probably, but Miller is not the pitcher he was in 2016/17, as his speed has been in free fall for the past four seasons, and his effectiveness has slowed with it. While he no longer gets hitters to chase (26.5% O-Swing in 2020), his slider is still good pitch and continues to produce weak contact. Miller has settled into an above-average reliever, but one who needs to keep seeing enough footing and possibly keep saving chances as long as health cooperates.

Nr. 26:Miguel Castro (New York Mets)

It's hard to argue against throwing a 98 MPH sinker, but like many others on this list,Michael Castrocould use his two offspeed throws in 2021 a little more. Castro threw his float 50% of the time in 2020, and the roll was ravaged (.354 AVG, .563 SLG), while his slider produced a 48.3% Whiff rate and .197 xWOBA. While not as successful, Castro's substitution has produced some pretty good results against left-handed batters as well.Zinkers are cool, and they work sometimes, but maybe someone like Castro would be better off throwing heaters into the zone that match that slider/switch combination.

No. 27: Phil Matton(Cleveland Indians)

After showing promise in his first call-up to the Padres in 2017,Phil Mattonhas been mostly an afterthought ever since, dealing with injuries and periods of inconsistency. Maton has been much better since landing in Cleveland in July 2019, and while the 2020 4.57 ERA and 1.34 WHIP make him unrosterable on the face of it, there areenough underlying numbers to get excited abouthere.

First of all, Maton had to deal with a .412 BABIP in 2020, obviously a number that is not sustainable. He also posted career highs in SwStr (17.1%) and K-BB (27.1%). Maton has 3 potential plus offers in his fastball, curve, and cutter/slider, all of which had a Whiff percentage of over 30% last year. Maton may not throw in the mid-90s like most back-end relievers, but he has great spin speeds and excels at inducing weak contact. While I wouldn't rule him out as an option to close, Maton will most likely settle into a mediocre assist role to start the season, but should end up with his fair share of waiting opportunities as the season progresses.

Nr. 28:Felix Pena (Los Angeles Angels)

Felix Penafinally established himself as a full-time reliever last year, and while the results seem pretty average on the surface, Pena's elite slider is still something to watch in 2020. The field had a 56.5 Whiff percentage % and as we've seen and mentioned with other relievers, it would benefit Pena to throw him more often than his fastball/sinker, which has been hammered over the past two seasons. However, until we see a change, Pena will remain just a mid-range hold option with an advantage for now.

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Level 6

Nr. 29:Pierce Johnson (San Diego Padres)

Here's a crazy stat that will probably surprise you,Pier Johnsonended 2020 with the 5th highest CSW rate at 38%. Johnson was great on his return to the United States, providing the Padres with 20 quality innings from the bullpen. Using his curveball 54% of the time, Johnson earned a 48.1% Whiff and 37.9% PutAway percentage on the field, which also had one of the higher spin rates in baseball. Johnson's 96+ MPH sinker also received many snatches, leading to a combined 40% Whiff percentage for the season, ranking 12th best among qualified relievers. Johnson should get more high leverage opportunitiesKirby Yatesand Trevor Rosenthal not close, but stillDrew Pomeranz, Emily Pagan, and possiblyAustin AdamsInMark Melanconfor him.

Nr. 30:Robert Stephenson(Colorado Rockies)

Robert Stephensonwas a sensible trading target from the Colorado Rockies this offseason and should fit nicely into the lineupDaniel Bard. The simple philosophy when it comes to finding pitchers who work in Colorado is usually either high groundball rates or high K rates. Stephenson brings the latter as the starter turned reliever's 18.9% SwStr percentage since 2019 is the 4th highest in all of baseball. Like others before him on this list, his fastball has been abused throughout his career, leading him to start throwing his slider almost 60% of the time over the last two seasons. We can't totally throw away his 10 turns in 2020, but he did deal with an underlying issue that certainly didn't help, and neither did his ridiculous 50% HR/FB rate. He allowed 11 hits all season, 8 of which were HRs. That's just not a sustainable rate. Still, it's a little concerning that he's moving to Coors now given his FB and HR rates, but the massive K profit makes Stephenson worth checking out in deeper formats.

Nr. 31:Rafael Dolis (Toronto Blue Jays)

InRaphael Dolisfirst season back in Major League Baseball since 2013, the seasoned right-hander proved he belonged, finishing with a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings of work. Dolis' main offering is his mid-'90s sinker that gets a lot of weak contact and ground balls, but his two offspeed offerings turned out to be plus strikeouts in 2020. Both his slider and splitter had Whiff percentages in excess of 50%, making Dolis a weapon against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. The main concern with Dolis would be his 14% running speed, as he likes to keep those quick throws off the plate as much as possible. He could probably use those pitches more often as strikes early in counts, making hitters look different, but it's hard to argue with what made his 2020 so successful. After earning 5 saves and 7 holds last year, Dolis returns in a setup role where he should see many opportunities for a Blue Jays team on the rise.

Nr. 32:Jorge AlcalaMinnesota twins

Jorge Alcalaproved in 2020 that he has more in his arsenal than just a '90s fastball as the young right-hander flashed two potential plus secondary pitches in his slider and changeup. While he had no issues with walking hitters, Alcala didn't exactly have a consistent command of his throws, which could limit his advantage if he continues. With the Twins losing half their bullpen this offseason, Alcala should be lining up to see some opportunities this year after failing to pick up a save or hold in 2020.

Nr. 33:Cody Stashak (Minnesota Tweeling)

While he may not throw as hard for a potential back-end reliever,Cody Stashakplus command and slider gives him a chance to be a high-level setup guy for the Twins. Stashak's slider already makes him a great match against right-handed hitters, but he may need to develop a substitution to find more consistent success against left-handed hitters. Stashak's elite command and slider taste ability should see him surpass the 5 holds he earned last year by a wide margin, making him a nice option for late rounds.

Nr. 34:Brusdar Graterol (Los Angeles Dodgers)

It's amazing to think that someone throwing a 100 MPH sinker can only get a 15.2% Whiff Speed ​​and a 6.2% SwStr Speed, butBrusdar Grateroldid that last season. Strikeouts aren't Graterol's goal though, and he's hugely effective just working that sinker in the zone and getting ground balls. Graterol is a kind of soup soupMark Melanconat this point, however, there is definitely a strikeout on his head if he were to throw his slider more. I just don't think he'll be thrilled after how useful he was to the Dodgers last season as an efficient outs machine.

Nr. 35:Emmanuel Clase (Cleveland Indians)

After being the headliner in the deal that shippedCorey Kluberto Texel,Emmanuel classdid not take the mound for the Indians in 2020 after a back strain and subsequent PED suspension. Similar to Graterol, Clase throws 100 MPH, but he throws for contact instead of trying to miss bats. Clase mainly features his 99+ MPH cutter and, like Graterol, causes a ton of ground balls. Clase should be a nice bridge option to get the ball toJames Karinchakfor the Indians, but just don't expect many counting stats in what will probably be his first full season.

Nr. 36:Reyes Moronta (San Francisco Giants)

Similar to Hicks,Reyes Morontamissed all of 2020 as he was rehabbing from major arm surgery he underwent in 2019 albeit a torn labrum for Moronta. Moronta has great stuff, with a 90s fastball and wipeout slider, but he's had trouble keeping his running speed down (13.6% career rate). Coming back from an injury like this will certainly be a test for Moronta, and so it will beJordaan Hicks,the Giants can play it safe and keep Moronta in a more mediocre relief role, at least early in the season. However, no one has the advantage that Moronta has in the Giants bullpen.

Nr. 37: A.J. Minter (Atlanta Braves)

It was nice to seeA.J. Minterrecovery in 2020 after a disastrous 2019 and after the departure ofShane Greene, Mark Melancon,InDarren O'Day, he should again be eligible for more highly leveraged work. While he may never live up to the strikeout upside, he flashed in his first call-up in 2017, Minter's cutter/slider does a fantastic job limiting hard contact and after remodeling the field last season, he's now getting more groundballs. He is definitely a name to watch this season in all competitions.

Nr. 38:Joel Rodriguez(Texas Rangers)

Upon his return to Major League Baseball,Joel Rodriguezimpressed in 2020 despite being limited to just 12.2 IP due to a hamstring injury. While on the mound, Rodriguez was able to get a steady diet of groundballs from his sinker/changeup combination and finished the year with a 32.7% K percentage despite a true plus whiff pitch. Rodriguez should play a startup role for the Rangers in 2021, but it would be nice to see him produce more swings and misses on his offspeed pitches before moving up the list.

Level 7

Nr. 39:Brent Suter (Milwaukee Brewers)

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by Brent Suterthe transition to the bullpen has worked out spectacularly for the Brewers, as the left-handed soft-toss has been super efficient with his fastball/changeup combination. I wonder how long that will last though, as his fastball averaged 85.4 MPH last season and his substitution averaged 81.1 MPH. A 4 MPH difference in pitches, especially at that speed, is unlikely to be successful at this level, but Suter counters the speed with his extension (2.2 m). Nevertheless, Suter's 2020 change still achieved a 52.6% Whiff percentage as the veteran's command of the zone remains top-notch. Despite making four appearances in the last month of last season, expect Suter to fit into a setup/middle relief role with potential to become a valuable asset to the Holds League.

Nr. 40:Tyler Rogers (San Francisco Giants)

Though his road to rescues is a bit darker than his brother Taylor's,Tyler Rogerscould hypothetically be the first crack in closing games for the Giants. More than likely, Gabe Kapler and the Giants will continue with a commission approach like last year, mixing and matching based on matchups. Rogers won't help you boost your strikeouts, but he rarely outruns people and does a great job of missing barrels (only 1 barrel in 136 career PA). AfterTrevor Gottled the team with a whopping 4 saves last year, it's safe to say predicting the use of this bullpen will be a fool's errand in 2021.

Nr. 41:Matt Wisler (San Francisco Giants)

After washing as an appetizer,Matt Wislerhas made himself a promising reliever, relying on his slider more than 80% of the time to get strikeouts or generate weak contact. Wisler was used as an opener by the Twins last season, but now in San Francisco, Wisler could end up in a high-impact role in the late inning, and possibly in the closer mix as well. It would be nice to see Wisler reduce his running speed to below 10%, but it's understandable given his slider use and the fact that he has to be careful about where he locates his underwhelming fastball, as his heat map indicates.

Nr. 42:Will Harris(Washington Nationals)

It was an up and down first season in Washington for the veteran relieverWill Harris, who finished 2020 with a 3.06 ERA despite a 1.70 WHIP. Harris, who hadn't seen his walking percentage rise above 6.1% since 2015, saw that skyrocket to 10.7% last year as he struggled to find his cut off fastball. Perhaps this was a result of a groin strain that sidelined him at the beginning of the year, but for a pitcher like Harris, command issues like this can be detrimental. Harris should still be a big part of this Nationals pen, assuming he's healthy, and given his track record, I'll be taking overDaniel Hudsonas the 3rd setup option behind Rainey and Suero.

Nr. 43:Mychal Givens (Colorado Rockies)

I'm still a big supporter of itMychal factsas a reliever, but things didn't go well after he was sent to the Rockies in late August last year. It's obviously a tough spot for any pitcher, but Givens actually had more trouble on the road after the move than he did with Coors. Givens still has 3 above average throws on worst pitches, but now that he's in Colorado he may need to hit more swings and miss a few to survive. Givens is a flyball heavy pitcher (37% career GB rate) who hasn't exactly been a strikeout maven outside of 2019. He will probably open the year asDaniel Bardstop handcuff, but beware of the volatility.

Nr. 44:Adam Ottavino (Boston Red Sox)

Despite his ERA rising nearly 4 full points last season,Adam Piccoloactually wasn't as bad in 2020 as one might think. Under the hood, it was actually very similar to his 2019, but I can't help feeling that landing with the Red Sox hurts its value. He will probably be setting upFood Barnes, and continue to post good strikeout percentages, but expect a dip in hold and it's far from guaranteed to help with ratios at this point. Ottavino's combination of sinker and slider can still be lethal, so I understand I don't want to give him up completely just yet.

Nr. 45:Pedro Baez (Houston Astros)

After a not particularly great season,Pedro Baezcertainly seems lucky to get a $12.5 million dollar two-year deal this off-season from the Astros where he will presumably work the 8th inning to get the ball closerRyan Pressley. Baez's 5.73 xFIP was by far the worst of his career, and last year he really struggled to eliminate anyone, with his 8.6% K-BB percentage one of the worst of any reliever. He was a little better in the playoffs (23.3% K-BB rate, 4.52 xFIP) in 7.2 innings, so maybe we can attribute the bad year to the groin injury that hit him early in the season. Baez has been a staple of this list since I dealt with relievers and that shouldn't change now that he's in Houston but it would be nice to see Baez go back to missing bats at the pace he was at from 2015-2019 .

NO. 46:Andrew Chafin (Chicago Welpen)

Injuries limitedAndreas Chafinto just 9.2 unproductive innings in 2020 between the Cubs and Diamondbacks, but Chafin was one of the more productive relievers in baseball from 2017-2019. Chafin's slider in particular is a devastating roll, never having a sniff rate below 47% since 2015. Chafin uses two fastballs, a two-seamer/sinker, primarily against right-handed hitters, and a four-seamer that he likes to keep away from left-handers. , although neither has been particularly friendly to him. Re-signed by the Cubs earlier this month, expects Chafin to find himself in a startup role to begin the season.

Nr. 47: Connor Brogdon (Philadelphia Phillies)

Connor Brogdonimpressed in his first taste of major league action last season with a 2.90 SIERA, 16% SwStr and 38.6% K rate over 11.1 innings. Brogdon's change earns 60 figures, and rightly so, but it looks like he found a legit 3rd roll in his cutter. Although a small sample (only 29 pitched), the field earned a 43% Whiff percentage and .191 xWOBA while burying the field in the outside corner for right-handed hitters. The additions ofArchie BradleyInJose Alvaradoare a boost to this bullpen, but I imagine Brogdon is still a big part of their late-inning plans.

Nr. 48: JB Wendelken(Oakland Athletics)

Jake Diekmanwill probably get the first chance to finish competitions for the athletics in 2021, but who will be next in line behind him? It could beBurch Smith,which was impressive before a flexor strain ended his 2020, which also lands him in the high-risk category for TJS.Lou Trivinois another option, but is still only 2 years away from a terrible 2019 and hasn't exactly set the world on fire in 2020.

EnterJB Wendelkenwho has quietly been one of the team's most effective relievers for the past 3 seasons. He doesn't miss many bats, but his 5-pitch mix keeps hitters off balance and suppresses hard contact. I would expect him to open the year in some setup role, with the potential to close out games at some point if Diekman falters or gets traded.

Nr. 49: Enoli Paredes(Houston Astros)

Although I am not a fan of the 10% K-BB rateEnoli Paredesdelivered in his first MLB season, it's easy to see the potential for him to get a whole lot better. That starts with him getting his command straight, but his fastball/slider combo easily makes him a possible future candidate. With Pedro Baez andRyne Stanekin Houston, Paredes may not see high leverage right now, but he remains one to watch closely.

No. 50: Kevin Ginkel(Arizona Diamondbacks)

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Kevin Nickeltook at least two steps back last year from his promising 2019 season, when his walking pace rose to a horrific 16.5%. That's probably more of a fluke and just a by-product of 2020 than a legitimate concern given Ginkel's 2019 and minor league numbers. His slider is still a fantastic away field, and assuming he can improve his running speed and get it down to around 10%, he should be a solid contributor in the guard leagues. Also after theJoakim Soriasigning, the Diamondbacks bullpen is still very thin, so Ginkel could easily get a high leverage roll early in the season.

Photo by Quinn Harris & Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Modified by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter & IG)


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