2022 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball


Continuing with TDG’s consensus rankings with Relief Pitchers ranked #51 through #71.  Relievers #1-#20 can be found here and #21-50 can be found here.  Read on!

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51. Pierce Johnson, SAN DIEGO PADRES (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: NR)

The Padres brought Johnson into their bullpen in 2020 after a stopover in Japan, but, as many relievers do, he returned stateside with solid results. A righty with a killer curveball, Johnson has a K-rate north of 11, though a walk rate north of four, which takes a little of the shine off. The curve is so good he throws it more than 67% of the time, and plays his 96-mph fastball off of it. The Missouri State product had his 2022 contract picked up by the Padres, and right now is penciled in as the closer, though he will face competition from newly signed Luis Garcia and ex-Ray Emilio Pagan. There is a lot of red on Johnson’s statcast page, except those pesky walks. (Phil Barrington)

52. Anthony Bender, MIAMI MARLINS (Age: 27, Previous Ranking:NR)

Bender finally made his big-league debut in 2021 as a member of the Marlins pen, and the results are encouraging. A K per walk rate of 3.55 (north of three is solid), Bender struck out 71 in 61.1 innings, and earned a sparkly 2.79 ERA. His xERA (2.99) and FIP (3.19) were both a bit higher, so a slight regression is in the offering. In 2021 Bender picked up three saves and 12 holds and while Dylan Floro has the closers job for now, if he falters, Bender has the ability to step in (while also being a better pitcher). Draft accordingly. (Phil Barrington)

53. Tanner Rainey, WASHINGTON NATIONALS (Age: 29, Previous Ranking: 39)

Washington’s setup man at the current moment, Rainey had a pretty awful 2021; giving up two or more runs in nine out of 38 appearances which resulted in a 7.39 ERA (his FIP of 5.63 doesn’t make it much better). Rainey’s solid 2020 is appearing further and further away. Rainey has a 96-mph fastball but hitters tattooed it in 2021 to the tune of a .570 slugging percentage. While he did earn three saves and ten holds for the last place Nationals, expecting a lot more than that in 2022 is fools’ gold. (Phil Barrington)

54. Kendal Graveman, CHICAGO WHITE SOX (Age: 31, Previous Ranking: NR)

The newest member of the Chicago White Sox bullpen, Graveman put in work in the AL West in 2021, closing games for the Mariners before moving the Astros in a deal that sent Abraham Toro and Joe Smith to Seattle. Because he is a part of the best bullpen in baseball (at least on paper), the opportunity for saves appears to be minimal. While Graveman has a lot of talent, his 2021 ERA of 1.71 is not indicative of his actual skill. Graveman’s 3.71 xERA and 3.19 FIP are more so, and those marks are all the best of his career. He is worth a flier in holds leagues only. (Phil Barrington)

55. Collin McHugh, Free Agent (Age: 35, Previous Ranking: NR)

Collin, with two L’s, just posted the best season of his career at age 33; a 1.55 ERA, 10.41 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, and the advanced stats bellied this as well with a 2.26 xERA and 2.12 FIP. McHugh played the opener for the Rays last year seven times, and pitched at least 2.0 innings 20 times out of his 37 appearances. While his fastball is below average at 90.6 mph, he keeps hitters off balance with a killer 79.5 mph slider (that he throws more than half the time) and 87.6 mph cutter. Expect more multi-inning goodness and good ratios from him in 2022, and a fair amount of holds as well. (Phil Barrington)

56. Carlos Estévez, COLORADO ROCKIES (Age: 29, Previous Ranking: NR)

Estévez picked up 11 saves in 2021, ending the season as the Rockies closer, which is the roughest closing gig in the game. Estévez has a 97-mph fastball that he throws 66% of the time; though hitters had a .487 slugging percentage against it in 2021. It is an improvement on 2020, where hitters had a .609 slugging percentage versus his fastball. He supplements the fastball with a change-up and slider, but both are not great. There is too much blue on his statcast page for my liking, but in saves leagues he should be drafted, albeit begrudgingly. (Phil Barrington)

57. Ian Kennedy, Free Agent (Age: 37, Previous Ranking: NR)

Kennedy began the 2021 season as the closer for the Rangers and was traded to the Phillies and finished the season as their closer as well, collecting 26 saves between the two teams. While his ERA was a good 3.20, his xERA was a bit higher at 3.95 and a FIP of 4.75 shows that he did not pitch as well as it looked if only checking out his ERA. Kennedy’s bread and butter pitch is his 94-mph fastball, which he throws a whopping 82.5% of the time; any loss in velocity on it will more than likely send his career to the showers. The only reason he should be drafted (or kept) in 2022 is if he signs with a team that hands him the closers job. (Phil Barrington)

58. Aaron Loup, LOS ANGELES ANGELS (Age: 34, Previous Ranking: NR)

Loup signed a two year, $17 million deal this offseason to be the setup man for Rasiel Iglesias in Anaheim. Coming off a career year with the Mets, in 56 innings Loup struck out 57, walked only 16, and earned a 0.95 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Since 2019 Loup has maintained a WHIP under 0.94, as his skill is pitching to contact. His advanced stats, with an xERA of 3.15 and FIP of 2.45 show that a bit of regression may come in 2022, but look for Joe Maddon to lean on the lefty and for him to rack up holds. (Phil Barrington)

59. Julian Merryweather, TORONTO BLUE JAYS (Age: 30, Previous Ranking: NR)

Merryweather is one of the most pleasant-sounding last names, isn’t it? The 30-year-old righty only pitcher 13 innings in 2021, suffering oblique and hip injuries, and those have been the theme of his career. When healthy Merryweather features a high-90s fastball and can throw three other pitches as well. Right now, he would be a source for holds and it is best to wait and see how he looks in Spring before making a move to add him to your team. (Phil Barrington)

60. Chris Stratton, PITTSBURGH PIRATES (Age: 32, Previous Ranking: NR)

Stratton ended 2021 as the Pirates closer, saving seven games from August 24th onward, where he compiled a 2.89 ERA, a 26/6 K/BB ratio in 18 innings pitched. David Bednar had the better season, and should be the closer, but Stratton was the closer, so the odds of him starting 2021 as such are great. Stratton is another reliever with a killer curve that he throws 25% of the time and the spin on his curveball (and fastball) both rate in the top 98th percentile in the majors. He also has two other pitches, a changeup he uses mainly against lefties and a slider mainly against righties. It is very possible Stratton racks up 25+ saves on a bad team this year without ruining your teams’ ratios. (Phil Barrington)

61. Hector Neris, Houston Astros (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 32)

There was no amount of aloe enough to save me from all the times I got burned from the Philadelphia closers in 2021. With Hector Neris leading the charge, he accounted for 7 blown saves and 7 losses. Now being sent off to the Astros, who have a stable and successful closer, maybe the lessened stake will allow him to lock down holds for the year as he was able to account for 11 of those last year. His strikeout rate is always desirable and there will be a lot of opportunities for holds on a strong team this upcoming year. Keep an eye on his walk rate as his xBB% is almost 3 points less than his actual walk%. (Griffen Case)

62. Alex Colome, Free Agent (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 18)

The ex-Minnesota Twin joins the fray in the free agency and brings a solid resume with him. While last year had some moments to forget about, (I’m looking at the whole month of April) Colome was able to settle back into the closer role in August and was successful. ERA was the worst of his career, and WHIP was also towards the high end. xERA and xWHIP didn’t exactly indicate greener pastures but experienced closers commonly find opportunities to shut the door on new teams. If he can continue his second half success from last year he is still a valuable asset to your team. (Griffen Case)

63. Pete Fairbanks, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 30)

Unfortunately, Fairbank’s healthiest season was still side-tracked with injuries. He tallied 42.2 innings with 47 games played, had 14 holds and five saves with a strong K/9 and even a mid-three ERA. The walk rate remains too high and paired with his high hit%, and that ERA may struggle to remain where it is. That high velocity will constantly get him looks for high leverage roles, a healthy season where he works on that 1.43 WHIP could put him back down to that previous rank. The Tampa Bay Rays do seem to develop their young arms very well in their bullpen, so keep an eye on him as he develops. (Griffen Case)

64. Hansel Robles, Free Agent (Age: 31, Previous Rank:55)

From the Minnesota Twins to the Boston Red Sox and now free agency, Robles had a less than impressive year last year. A 4.43 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in a high leverage role will eventually lose him those opportunities and with that fantasy value.  The saves to blown saves ratio he has accumulated over his career does not exactly spark confidence. His history of saves will give him opportunities on a new team, but expect a short leash if he continues what he had going on last year. (Griffen Case)

65. Tyler A. Wells, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)

Altogether, pretty promising stuff from Wells as he returned to action from Tommy John surgery that kept him from the majors for quite some time. Strong arm, ability to miss bats, and kept the walks to a minimum, so much so that he kept his WHIP under one. He stayed healthy enough to pitch 57 innings and, even with a couple injuries, he seems primed for more high-leverage opportunities in a weak bullpen as he was able to lock down four saves in September. The Orioles don’t exactly provide a large number of winning games, so his potential is limited. (Griffen Case)

66. Yimi Garcia, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 60)

The potential of this journeyman took a hit last year when he was stripped of the closer role by being sent to the Astros. Accumulated only 2 holds and no saves through 23 games, compared to the 15 saves and 2 holds through 39 games he had on the Marlins. Now, he joins the Blue Jays, with Romano having success last year in the closer role, there is rooms for the 31-year-old to take a set-up role and accumulate hold, and potentially scavenge for saves.He posted a strong 3.47 ERA last year with a 1.211 WHIP, but his potential is limited to whatever role he is thrown into on this new team. (Griffen Case)

67. Andrew Chafin, Free Agent (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)

Last year on both the Cubs and A’s, Chafin was relied on heavily in high-leverage situations, and he dominated that role. Chafin almost halved his xERA and severely outplayed his xWHIP. By bringing a 1.83 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 22 holds into free agency, there will be quite the market for the 32-year-old. While he does not have the velocity that a lot of back end arms have, his ability to control the strike zone and limit walks allows him to limit mistakes. While his stock has a chance to stay the same in a high-leverage set-up position, it could also fly up if he is able to lock down a closer role. (Griffen Case)

68. Emilio Pagan, San Diego Padres (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 43)

The promising season that Pagan had in 2019 has for the Rays has not exactly translated to what he has shown for the Padres. The strikeouts are not as dominating, the ERA ballooned to the high 4s, but the WHIP has seemingly stayed healthy. For holds leagues he gives you some compensation and with Melancon on a new team there is a chance at the closer role if he kicks it into gear. Strong potential with a team that should produce opportunities at the end of games to get holds or saves, here’s to hoping he returns to his 2019 form. (Griffen Case)

69. Jorge Alcala, Minnesota Twins (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)

This young reliever left a lot to be desired towards the end of last year, and even notched his first save to close out the year. With the departure of Hansel Robles, a void needed to be filled and it was good to see that he at least got a taste of the closer role. 11 holds show that the twins want to put him in riskier situations, there is a chance his stock could fly up if he continues to attain holds and fight for more save opportunities. His career numbers, which is only at 85.1 innings right now, show a modest K/9 at just above 9, a 3.48 ERA, and a 1.043 WHIP. Continuing to post numbers consistent with his career line could make him invaluable to the Twins, who seem to struggle in the reliever department. (Griffen Case)

70. Luis Garcia, Houston Astros (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)

A reliever in the past, however, now looks to solidify his spot as a starter after crushing it last year through 28 stars, posting a strong 3.48 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, with a strong K/9 of 9.29. An xERA and xWHIP that may indicate a rise in ERA, but still below 4.00. The return of Verlander may spell trouble if Garcia struggles in the beginning of the year, as every team is now wanting a multi-inning reliever, which the 25-year-old could absolutely excel in. Whatever he does next year, he has proven to be a valuable asset to any team. (Griffen Case)

71. Richard Rodriguez, Free Agent, (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 35)

Rodriguez pitched well enough for the Pirates that he earned a ticket out of town at the trade deadline. He does not fit the typical closer profile as his fastball sits at 93.1 MPH and he throws it 86.1% of the time. He is among the bottom half of the league in every category except for BB% which was an excellent 4% according to baseball savant. At 32-years-old and a free agent we cannot expect another shot at a closer gig and not even a setup job may be there for him. At the time of writing, he is a Free Agent. (Paul Monte)

72. Seth Lugo, New York Mets, (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)

Lugo was a favorite for many in daily roster moves leagues that would slot Lugo into their SP slots when there was an opening and hope for a hold or vulture win. Sadly, that will not be the case in 2022 as he did not start any games last year. He figures to slot into a setup role behind Trevor May and Edwin Diaz and will still be useful in leagues that use Holds as a category. The rare reliever with five pitches likes to spread the love, throwing no pitch more than 30% of the time. He needs to reel in the walks which were at a career-high in 2021 to stay effective. (Paul Monte)

73. Mychal Givens, Free Agent, (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)

Another reliever who has trouble controlling the walks lands at 73 in the rankings. It seems that Givens has been a sleeper to pick up saves every year of his career as he has played on terrible teams. Over the last 3 seasons, he has managed to save 20 games in 33 attempts. That’s not going to give his next manager the warm and fuzzy feelings about giving him save chances. Currently without a team, where he signs will factor heavily. His value will be dependent if he can find someone that will give him a shot in the late innings of the game to bring home some Holds for fantasy managers. (Paul Monte)

74. Aaron Bummer, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 58)

It’s a bummer that Aaron is buried in the White Sox pecking order for saves behind Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel (for now), and Kendall Graveman. Bummer has been excellent the last two seasons and can still be valuable in leagues that do not count Holds as a category. His ratios will play in standard roto leagues and will often prove to be a better option than trotting out a hope and pray streamer. A ground ball pitcher with a 30% strikeout % is worth holding onto in Dynasty leagues. I apologize for the horrible pun; I am a weak-minded man and could not resist. (Paul Monte)

75. Drew Pomeranz, San Diego Padres, (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 12)

As we close out the ranking season here at TDG it is always good to remember that you should not pay a heavy price for a closer in a Dynasty league. From 12th to 75th in the rankings is a steep decline yet not uncommon in the reliever space. Pomeranz was excellent when healthy, which was not often. His season ended in August, and he will likely miss time to start the 2022 season. The labor rift that may delay the start of the season will help him get some extra time. Pierce Johnson is pegged to start the season as closer on most sites, but beyond him, there is no one in the way for Pomeranz should he return healthy. (Paul Monte)

The Author

Phil Barrington

Phil Barrington

Fantasy player since 1999, specializing in OPS leagues. Accountant by day, fantasy writer by night. Spreadsheets are life.

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