2022 Dynasty Baseball Rankings

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2022 TOP 75 DYNASTY LEAGUE RELIEF PITCHERS, #21-50

Continuing with our highlights of the league’s top Relief Pitchers, as judged by our collection of industry experts, below are the 21st through the 50th ranked players in the league.

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21. Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners (AGE: 31, PREVIOUS RANK: NR)

Sewald was a fine, but nondescript relief pitcher for the Mets before joining the Mariners. He regularly under-performed his underlying metrics while in New York, and they didn’t even offer him a contract after 2020. When he caught on with Seattle, he made two huge changes: he focused on increasing his spin rate, and he lowered his release point.

He became the posterboy for the importance of Vertical Approach Angle, which is the angle at which a pitch crosses the plate. He is maximizing the impact of his stuff by making it more difficult to pick up. Sewald isn’t a classic fireballer, so his abilities should age smoothly, and he has established himself as one of the best relievers in the game now. In a loaded bullpen for a competing Seattle squad, it’s possible that Sewald is primarily deployed in high leverage situations. Even without hefty save totals, he will bring value to any fantasy staff with his sparkling ratios and ~100 strikeouts. (Aaron Cumming)

22. Alex Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals (AGE: 27, PREVIOUS RANK: 24)

When it comes to Alex Reyes, most fantasy baseball players act like that one aunt who isn’t familiar with how time works. “Look at how big you are! Are you getting taller?” “No, Aunt Nancy, I stopped growing ten years ago.” He appeared as the number one organizational prospect on at least one of the many popular prospect lists every year from 2015 through 2019. By the end of that stretch, the club should’ve renamed themselves the St. Jude Cardinals, because by all accounts Reyes was a lost cause.

Having not thrown more than 31 innings in a season since 2016, imagine everyone’s surprise when Reyes logged 72.1 fairly productive innings in 2021. He nabbed the closer role and locked down 29 saves through the end of August. He had an impressive strikeout rate, but also walked batters at roughly twice the league average rate. The team couldn’t deny the reliability of Giovanny Gallegos any longer, and installed him in the 9th inning role. I’m not saying removing Reyes as closer caused the Cardinals to win 17 straight games in September, but I’m not NOT saying it, either. With other/better options for closer and the rotation (if the rumors of another tryout there are true), Reyes doesn’t have a solid role, but he has so much intrigue in his arm that there will always be somebody interested. (Aaron Cumming)

23. Blake Treinen, Los Angeles Dodgers (AGE: 33, PREVIOUS RANK: 48)

Treinen might be the most underrated reliever in all of baseball. He has gone from lauded prospect, to elite closer, to outcast, to untouchable setup man, and now possibly back to closer for the best team in the league. His 2019 was quite bad; there’s no argument here. But other than that, since his debut in 2014, he has never had a SIERA (ERA estimator) above 3.52. While with the Dodgers the last two seasons, he has honed his pitch mix and now boasts a slider/cutter combination that could rival Corbin Burnes’, plus he throws a 98-100 MPH sinker with elite movement. All of that led to a 1.99 ERA, .98 WHIP, and a nearly 30% strikeout rate in 2021. Kenley Jansen is a free agent, and if the Dodgers don’t make a move at the high end of the market, Treinen is poised to be a top 3-5 closer this year. (Aaron Cumming)

24. Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox (AGE: 31, PREVIOUS RANK: 33)

Barnes has led the Red Sox in saves each of the last 2 seasons, and by a significant margin. No other reliever had even half of his save total in either year. There is a lot of chatter about Garrett Whitlock taking the closer reins in 2022, but the team has hinted more at him transitioning to being a starter, not their closer. When Barnes landed on the IL at the end of August, Whitlock didn’t even lead the team in saves by a pitcher named Garrett in September (Richards had 2 to Whitlock’s 1). Barnes has been a steady producer, and last year was his best performance yet. In addition to the 24 saves, he had 3.79 ERA with even better estimators, a 1.12 WHIP, and a whopping 37.8% strikeout rate. He is under contract through 2023 with a club option after that, meaning he has a fixed cost to the club, unlike any fellow pitchers that will have arbitration cases in the near future. He is as safe of an option for saves as you will find. (Aaron Cumming)

25. Dylan Floro, Miami Marlins (AGE: 31, PREVIOUS RANK: NR)

When it comes to fantasy relievers, Floro is a perfect example of role over skills. He’s a perfectly fine journeyman reliever, and quickly became someone that Don Mattingly trusted. He doesn’t walk many batters, but also doesn’t strike out many either. He’s good at getting ground balls and limiting home runs, with that latter skill being enhanced by his move from Dodger Stadium to loanDepot Park. The Marlins have a seemingly endless supply of pitching talent, but there isn’t much competition in the bullpen for Floro to snag the closer role. If he can accumulate saves and pitch well enough to keep doing that all year, you’ll be happy with having him on your roster. (Aaron Cumming)

26. Andrew Kittredge, Tampa Bay Rays (AGE: 32, PREVIOUS RANK: NR)

Kittredge only jumped to prominence this past season, but his real breakout began in 2019 when he started throwing a sinker. He has almost entirely ditched his underperforming 4-seamer, and deploys a sinker/slider combo that covers both sides of the plate and keeps hitters off balance. He rode that pitch mix to a 1.88 ERA, .98 WHIP, and an impressive 22% K-BB rate. The Rays are typically thought to have a role-less bullpen, but when they find someone they like in the 9th, they stick with them in the 9th (Diego Castillo before he was traded, Emilio Pagan before he was traded, Alex Colomé before he was traded, etc.). Kittredge seemed to earn that distinction by the end of the year. From August 24th through the end of the season, he secured 6 saves while the rest of the team got 4 saves total from 3 different pitchers. He seems poised to lead them in saves in 2022 … until he gets traded. (Aaron Cumming)

27. Mark Melancon, Arizona Diamondbacks (AGE: 37, PREVIOUS RANK: 42)

The Diamondbacks play in the same division as the Dodgers, Giants and Padres. To say they will have a difficult time competing is an understatement. Wins will be at a premium, and thus, save opportunities will be few and far between. If there was one thing that this rebuilding club did not need to do, it was sign a soon-to-be 37-year-old closer. But here we are. Melancon proved last year (amid all of the preseason speculation about who would get saves for San Diego), he is a proven closer. And he’s pretty good, too. He hasn’t posted a FIP above 3.72 since 2012. He has a 51 save season, a 47 save season, and multiple 30+ save seasons, leading the majors twice, including last year. He’s getting older, he doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, and he’s on one of the worst teams in the league, but he’s going to get saves, and that’s all we need him to do. (Aaron Cumming)

28. Chad Green, New York Yankees (AGE: 30, PREVIOUS RANK: 67)

Chad Green has been one of the most underappreciated contributors in fantasy. We are finally showing him the respect he deserves with this ranking. He is regularly among bullpen leaders in innings pitched, and he does so with excellent ratios that help to stabilize those categories. He gets a few saves and a few wins each season while flirting with 100 strikeouts. Last season, he won 10 games while also saving 6 games as the primary closing option behind Aroldis Chapman. He ended up as the 10th most valuable reliever in standard 5×5 scoring. At a minimum, Green offers an excellent boost across the board to any fantasy pitching staff, with the chance that he could get more saves if anything changes at the back of New York’s bullpen. (Aaron Cumming)

29. Lucas Sims, Cincinnati Reds (AGE: 27, PREVIOUS RANK: 34)

Sims was sent from Atlanta to Cincinnati at the 2018 trade deadline as part of the Adam Duvall trade. The former 1st round pick was quite disappointing for the Braves, so the Reds knew they were getting a bit of a reclamation project. They clearly had a plan, because as soon as he joined their organization, he completely dropped his sinker, nearly eliminated the changeup, and went 4 seamer and curveball heavy. The next year they also revamped his slider, and he jumped his K-rate from 18.1% in his first two seasons, to 32.2% in 2019, and he hasn’t looked back. He’s increased that number for 3 seasons now, spiking a 39.0% mark in 47 innings last year. He is far and away the best and most consistent pitcher in the Cincy bullpen, and by all accounts is the favorite to be their closer. But with his skill and the Reds propensity for playing matchups with their bullpen and using their best pitcher in high leverage spots, he’s no lock to secure a strictly 9th inning role all season. Even if he gets fewer saves in 2022 than some others in this range on our list, his ratios and strikeouts will prop up his value. (Aaron Cumming)

30. Josh Staumont, Kansas City Royals (AGE: 28, PREVIOUS RANK: 44)

When scouts say “even if he can’t cut down on the walks, he’ll be a good bullpen arm,” Staumont is exactly what they’re talking about. Unsurprisingly, his 17+% walk rate in the minors, largely as a starter, caused him to transition to a relief role, and his wicked stuff has played up in those shorter outings. Since his debut with Royals in 2019, working exclusively out of the bullpen, he has a 2.93 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 124 strikeouts in 110.2 innings. With the risk of walks always present, it seems that the team prefers to use more experienced options in the 9th inning, though. Staumont’s fifth and final save of 2021 came on May 19th, with Scott Barlow leading the way from there on out. The club is on the cusp of graduating a lot of young talent and opening up a competitive window, so they could be in the market to add a veteran to lock down the closer role. A reunion with Trevor Rosenthal would seem to fit into what Kansas City has done recently, and could block Staumont and Barlow from holding much value. (Aaron Cumming)

31. GREGORY SOTO, DETROIT TIGERS (Age: 27, Previous Ranking: 49)

Soto heads into the 2022 season named as the Tigers closer per manager, AJ Hinch, after he was repeatedly called out of the pen for high leverage situations last year. He repeatedly got the job done with a career high 63.2 innings pitched converting 18 out of 19 save chances with a respectable ERA of 3.39; expected ERA isn’t too far off at 3.60 either. Soto’s slider is an effective off speed offering that pairs very well with a sinker that average’s 98.2 mph ranking that put him in the 81st percentile of the league for whiff% in 2021. The lefty looks like he’s settling into this role nicely as he enter’s his prime; pitching for what should be a more competitive Tiger’s lineup in a position to win more games sooner. (Andrew Jurewicz)

32. ANDRES MUNOZ, SEATTLE MARINERS (Age: 23, Previous Ranking: 41)

After undergoing Tommy John surgery the in the middle of 2020, Munoz was able to return for an encouraging 2021 debut at the very end of the season picking right back up where he left youth. With youth and electric fastball slider combination it’s easy to get excited about his potential for high leverage opportunities. That slider averaged a 46.8 whiff% and .061 expected batting average in 2019. The Seattle bullpen looks a bit crowded right now so owner’s will have to be patient to see saves opportunities eventually start to come but will still be a great hold and strikeouts option in the meantime. (Andrew Jurewicz)

33. JORDAN HICKS, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (Age: 26, Previous Ranking: 15 )

When Hicks is able to pitch he brings one of the best fastball’s in the game, however, that hasn’t been often as he’s missed a ton of time going back to 2019. As he continues to work his way back from tearing the UCL in his right elbow he dealt with inflammation in 2021 that limited to just 10 innings pitched in April and May. You hope that he can get healthy but this is now several years in a row he’s been dealing with this arm issue. Right now he’s projected as a middle reliever but if he can get back on track I can see him getting his old job back. Might be a risky hold but could have a nice reward for those comfortable with that risk. (Andrew Jurewicz)

34. BRUSDAR GRATEROL, LOS ANGELES DODGERS (Age: 24, Previous Ranking: 26)

By owning Brusdar Gaterol in your league you’re banking on youth, a 100 mph average fastball, and that he could be the Dodgers closer sooner or later. As of right now it looks like he’s still got some business to take care of to put himself in a position for closer consideration. Thought of someone that has power stuff I was surprised to his strikeout %s that seemed low at 14.8% and 18% for the 2020/2021 seasons. Perhaps expectations aren’t meeting reality and that’s why he’s slid a few spots from our rankings from last year. (Andrew Jurewicz)

35. LOU TRIVINO, OAKLAND ATHLETICS (Age: 30, Previous Ranking: NR )

Trivino did a good job as the A’s closer in 2021 converting for 22 out of 26 saves chances with a 3.18 ERA. However, an expected ERA of 4.32 shares that he may have gotten a bit lucky along the way. He’ll enter the 2022 season in conversation to return as the A’s closer but I’m curious too see if AJ Puk challenges him for the job. (Andrew Jurewicz)

36. MICHAEL FULMER, DETROIT TIGERS (Age: 29, Previous Ranking: 205 AS SP)

I like to see that Fulmer has revitalized his career through opportunities to become as effective reliever. Using his starter’s repertoire of pitches over shorter outings he came in at the 89th percentile for hitters chase rate. The Tiger’s quietly built a nice one two punch for high leverage situations with Soto and Fulmer. (Andrew Jurewicz)

37. DAVID BEDNAR, PITTSBURGH PIRATES (Age: 27, Previous Ranking: NR)

Pirates might have unearthed a gem here with Bednar. He put up an outstanding season out of the bullpen with a trio of very effective pitches (fastball/splitter/curve) combining for an 87th percentile whiff% and -17 run value. I’d like to see him have the closer’s job in Pittsburgh, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if they utilized him in high leverage situations outside of saves chances since it’s easy to expect they won’t be playing with with the lead all to often. (Andrew Jurewicz)

38. DIEGO CASTILLO, SEATTLE MARINERS (Age: 28, Previous Ranking: 27)

Diego Castillo is a pretty darn good reliever! His slider is one of the best in the game with at a 40+ whiff% each year since 2018 and it produced a -15 run value in 2021 over 622 times thrown. As mentioned before the Seattle bullpen looks crowded at the moment but he’ll remain an elite holds that will also help with strikeouts and ratios. If Seattle can upgrade their offense it would give a boost to their relievers for more saves and holds opportunities. (Andrew Jurewicz)

39. KYLE FINNEGAN, WASHINGTON NATIONALS (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: NR)

If you’re looking for an opportunity to pick up some cheap saves Finnegan should be a target; just don’t expect fantasy baseball riches with the move. He picked up 11 saves over 15 chances when given the closer job last year with a respectable 3.54 ERA. Chances should be limited as the Nationals try to figure out their rebuilding roster but I think 15 to 20 saves is possible if he holds onto the job for the entire year. I’m not sure who’d really challenge him for the job as it stands now to be honest. (Andrew Jurewicz)

40. A.J. PUK, OAKLAND ATHLETICS (Age: 27, Previous Ranking: 83 AS SP)

Puk makes his long awaited debut on the RP list. At 27, the opportunity to be an effective weapon out of the bullpen looks like his best path for a successful baseball career. At first look you’ll see a woeful ERA of 6.08 with 12 appearances, however, I see some optimism with an expected ERA that was almost 2 points lower at 4.15. The rebuilding A’s have Diekman out of the picture along with a mildly effective Trivino as the present closer; you can make an case for Puk that saves opportunities will come as he continues to become more comfortable working out of the pen. (Andrew Jurewicz)

41. Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: 10)

Nick Anderson is the top relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays if he is healthy. I don’t know what to think about the surgery he had. Apparently it is an alternative to Tommy John surgery where they stabilize the tendon rather than repair it and it is supposed to cut the recovery timeline significantly. When healthy Anderson has a career 2.89 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched with a cozy 0.962 WHIP and 14.1 strikeouts per 9. This is a good spot to take a chance on a player coming off injury/surgery while his value is in the tank. He should be available for a low price. (Brian Shanks)

42. Jake McGee, San Francisco Giants (Age: 35, Previous Ranking: 135)

McGee has had an up and down career. One season it’s a sparkling 1.95 ERA the next it is an inflated 4.02 ERA. Mix in 4 years where he got shelled in the thin air of Colorado and overall it’s an uneven 12 year career. 2021 was an excellent showing, however, where he compiled 59.2 innings with a 2.72 ERA and 31 saves. Consistently inconsistent, my fear is he has had 2 really good years back to back and that is not what his career has been. If he can hold on to this newfound success he is a key piece, but be prepared to let go quickly. (Brian Shanks)

43. Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees (Age: 27, Previous Ranking: 273 as SP)

I am a fan of Loaisiga and I am really happy the Yankees moved him to the bullpen. The 5’11, 165 pound frame concerned me as a starter, especially when he was throwing so much gas. 2021 was good to Loaisiga, to the tune of a 2.17 ERA in 70.2 innings pitched. I don’t think he has quite made it into the conversation for saves, but he did pick up 5 of them in 2021. If 2021 was the breakout campaign for him then maybe he can take on a bunch more high-leverage situations. However, the Yankees bullpen is deep and he still has a lot yet to prove. This is someone that I want on my rosters before the price tag becomes out of control. (Brian Shanks)

44. Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals (Age: 29, Previous Ranking: 93)

Barlow had a career year in 2021 for the Royals throwing 74.1 successful innings with a great 2.42 ERA. Throwing strikes, keeping the long ball at bay, and not walking people seems to be a pretty good way to become a professional pitcher. The only question with what Barlow did in 2021, is “isit sustainable?” His past seasons suggest not, but at just 29 years old he may have found his niche in the Royals bullpen. I’m buying the breakout. (Brian Shanks)

45. Tejay Antone, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 28, Previous Ranking: NR)

If the Cincinnati Bengals need another linebacker next year maybe they should call Tejay. The guy stands 6’4 and weighs 230. He won’t be throwing much this year as he had Tommy John surgery in late August so might as well pop over to the football field for some conditioning drills while lighting Joe Burrows up in the backfield. It really is a shame that he has to go through the surgery for the second time, he was really starting to become a nice asset out of the bullpen for the Reds. We have only seen 69 innings out of Antone but they have been superb, with an ERA sitting at 2.48 and a 11.3 strikeouts per 9. Get well soon Tejay, we will see you again in 2023. (Brian Shanks)

46. Drew Steckenrider, Seattle Mariners (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: NR)

I have a soft spot for guys with great nicknames. Currently known as Steckasaurus, Steckenrider had an out-of-nowhere kinda 2021. With all the injuries in the bullpen for the Mariners, Steckenrider shook off the poor showing of 2019 (6.28 ERA in 14.1 innings) and the rust from not pitching in 2020 to dominate in 2021. In 67.2 innings Steckenrider had a lovely 2.00 ERA with 14 saves and a WHIP of 0.977. It’ll be interesting what the Mariners do with their bullpen with everyone coming back from injuries but if Steckasaurus comes out in spring training as the closer and keeps up the newfound “stuff”, be prepared to pay a hefty price to get him. (Brian Shanks)

47. Codi Heuer, Chicago Cubs (Age: 25, Previous Ranking: 104)

Special shout to the Missoula, Montana native, Codi Heuer was absolutely brilliant in 2020 for the Chicago White Sox in 23.2 innings. Overall, he recorded a miniscule 1.52 ERA and a low 0.887 WHIP. 2021 did not hold the same kind of impressive production, in 38.2 innings for the White Sox, he got beat up with a 5.12 ERA and was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Must have been a Hell of a moving expense. He fared much better with the Cubbies, in 28.2 innings he delivered a 3.14 ERA with a couple saves with a decent WHIP of 1.151. This is one of those sleepers that doesn’t have much value at the moment, but could lock down the closer position in spring ball and without a ton of competition. (Brian Shanks)

48. Rowan Wick, Chicago Cubs (Age: 29, Previous Ranking: 79)

If there is competition for Heuer then it comes in a 6’3, 234 pound package with the greeting card from Rowan Wick.  Wicks career numbers are decent, in 82 innings he has a 3.51 ERA, 11 saves, 10 strikeouts per 9 and a WHIP of 1.350. My thoughts are he will be put in a setup role where he should compile good strikeout totals and get plenty of holds handing it off to Heuer. If you can get the two of them together for your fantasy ball club that would be a plus but if you have to choose between the two I would lean towards Heuer. (Brian Shanks)

49. Brad Hand, Free Agent (Age: 32, Previous Ranking: 8)

Brad Hand was well-traveled in 2021, playing for three different ball clubs: Washington, Toronto and the New York Mets. He has also played for 6 different teams in his 11 year career. In 673.1 Innings pitched he has a 3.68 ERA, 685 strikeouts, and 126 saves. I don’t think the days of being a closer are over, obviously depending on where he lands in 2022.  He is definitely serviceable and I’ll be keeping an eye on which suitor he chooses. In the event he gets a closing opportunity, he will hold decent value.  (Brian Shanks)

50. Ken Giles, Seattle Mariners (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: 89)

Coming off Tommy John surgery there is always a wait and see period. If you believe he will get to 100 MPH on the radar again and maintain his control, then he is a definite add. His numbers overall are legit. He has had seasons with ERAs of 1.18, 1.80, 2.30 and 1.87 mixed with ones of 4.11, 4.65, 4.99 and 4.12. I am leaning towards the higher numbers category as a result for 2022. I really root hard for any pitcher coming off of TJ, I wish nothing but the best for them. I am also extremely cautious and trade them if I get the opportunity.  (Brian Shanks)

The Author

Andrew Jurewicz

Andrew Jurewicz

Husband. Father to one. Baseball fan. Fantasy sports hero. Sports card collector. Talent management professional. Enjoys a nice glass of scotch and we're doing alright.

2 Comments

  1. BB
    February 15, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    If anything close to the 2020 Tanner Rainey shows up this season (like it did last September before his final rough outing), Finnegan is history.

  2. Shawnuel
    February 16, 2022 at 1:55 am

    Personally, I’d switch the 2 Barlows. I think Scott is a legit top 20, now and Joe just isn’t that good. Loisiaga is top 20 for me, as well, but I am a big skills over role guy, so…

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