Baseball Press

2020 Positional Rankings - Relief Pitchers

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A quick overview and a few comments on 2020 rankings for relief pitchers. As always, you can find all of our rankings updated periodically by clicking the "Rankings" link at the top of the website.

Here are the positions we've covered thus far:

2020 Positional Rankings - Catcher
2020 Positional Rankings - First Base
2020 Positional Rankings - Second Base
2020 Positional Rankings - Shortstop
2020 Positional Rankings - Third Base
2020 Positional Rankings - Outfield
2020 Positional Rankings - Starting Pitchers

We're hitting our final positional review, as get to cover the relief pitcher rankings headed into the new season. Relief pitchers are tricky, as you need them for success almost in any league, but unlike positional players - if a designated closer goes 0 for 5 in saves, they will likely be removed from the role. Have a bad day as a closer, and it could be your last. With that said, I believe it's important to not invest too much in the position, as the closer depth landscape could change from month to month.

Tier One


Josh Hader is not only the best relief pitcher entering the new season, he's likely one of the top 50 overall pitchers in the game. He can toss multiple innings and can face righties and lefties without issue. Kirby Yates and the San Diego bullpen are very good.

Tier Two


Liam Hendriks is on the brink of a Tier One relief pitcher, and will likely end up in the top tier before the end of the season. Ken Giles and Brad Hand are solid additions to any roster, and will not only produce saves, but big strikeout numbers. Edwin Diaz was miserable last season, but still struck out 99 batters in 58 innings. However, if Diaz struggles, recently acquired Dellin Betances could be waiting.

Tier Three


This tier of relief pitchers are just "okay" - they will provide some value for your team and you can pick them up in the later rounds of your draft. As mentioned above, the players in this tier will likely fluctuate throughout the year. The closer is only as good as the saves you get the fantasy owner.

Tier Four


Emilio Pagan was ranked much higher prior to being traded to San Diego. Although Pagan won't be the main closer for the Padres, he still has value. With Pagan moving on from the Rays, who closes in Tampa Bay? Perhaps Diego Castillo? Perhaps Jose Alvarado? Perhaps both and someone else? Will Smith and Mark Melancon appear to be the favorites to close out games for the Braves, with Smith likely the favorite for Opening Day.

Tier Five


This tier is truly a mix of closers, potential closers, and other relievers who can offer value. Although Mychal Givens and Ian Kennedy are "established" closers, they are not very good and could lose their jobs quickly. The St. Louis Cardinals are still figuring things out heading into the season, thus the closer situation is a mess that is to be avoided.