Reliever Roundup and Bullpen Bonanza — Week 16 Individual Rankings

Will Smith of the Texas Rangers, who leads AL closers in the Week 16 individual reliever rankings.
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Reliever Roundup & Bullpen Bonanza — Week 16 Individual Rankings

We are near the end of Week 16 of the season. Here are the top ten individual relievers in each league. But these rankings take it to a different level than the other reliever rankings you’ve seen. We will separate our rankings by closers, setup men, and middle relievers. (We’re not going to worry about ranking long relievers.)

Rankings are split into the following categories. These categories encompass what a relief pitcher’s jobs are and are weighted according to importance. We don’t want to get bogged down, so we’ll keep it brief. (Author’s Note: For full details, including the full leaderboards, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to get back to you.)

Setup Men and Closers

Clutch (45% of score) — How well they perform in late innings either while the game is tied or while holding a narrow lead.

Run Prevention (35%) — How well they keep runs off the board, including inherited runners.

Baserunner Prevention (13%) — Who has the lowest WHIP and lowest home run percentage (HR%). WHIP is 85% of the Baserunner Prevention score, and HR% is 15%.

Command (7%) — Who has the best strikeout percentage minus walk percentage (K–BB%).

Middle Relievers

Run Prevention (60%), Baserunner Prevention (26%), Command (14%)

Totaling Up the Scores

The total score in each category is based on the league average. Zero points equals the league average. Positive scores are better than league average; negative scores are worse. The farther their score is from zero — either positive or negative — the farther they are from the league average.

In addition, a player must have at least 20 relief appearances to qualify for these rankings.

(Note: Due to weighting each score, adding the categories together won’t equal the total score.)

For a full breakdown of each category’s score formula, click here.

Week 16 (Midweek) Individual Reliever Rankings

AL Middle Relievers

Brock Stewart of the Minnesota Twins remains atop the leaderboard with an overall score of 37.8. Second place goes to Tim Mayza of the Toronto Blue Jays, with a score of 36.0. Jake Diekman of the Tampa Bay Rays and Andres Munoz of the Seattle Mariners are third and fourth with scores of 28.8 and 26.6, respectively. Coming in fifth is Gabe Speier, also of the Mariners, with a score of 23.0. Sixth and seventh place go to Kevin Kelly of the Rays and Ian Hamilton of the New York Yankees. Their scores are 19.2 and 17.5, respectively. Eli Morgan of the Cleveland Guardians, Gregory Santos of the Chicago White Sox, and Will Vest of the Detroit Tigers round out the top ten. They came in at 16.0, 15.9, and 15.9, respectively.

AL Setup Men

Jason Foley of the Tigers leads the AL setup men for a second straight week with an overall score of 165.6. Runner-up Yennier Cano of the Baltimore Orioles is second with an overall score of 119.4. Aroldis Chapman of the Texas Rangers, who began the season with the Kansas City Royals, is in third with a combined total of 111.3 between his two teams. Fourth place is another Blue Jay, Erik Swanson. His score is 105.8. In fifth is Matt Moore of the Los Angeles Angels, with 95.5. Coming in sixth is Hector Neris of the Houston Astros, scoring 91.1. Chris Martin of the Boston Red Sox, with 90.9, followed by Jason Adam of the Rays, with 86.2, are in seventh and eighth. The final two spots of the top ten are taken by Justin Topa of the Mariners (84.9) and Trevor Stephan of the Guardians (77.6).

AL Closers

The leading closer is Will Smith of the Rangers, with a score of 241.3. Number two is Felix Bautista of the Orioles, who scored 198.5. Paul Sewald of the Mariners and Alex Lange of the Tigers are third and fourth with scores of 156.3 and 143.3, respectively. Carlos Estevez of the Angels rounds out the top five with a score of 121.0. In sixth is Clay Holmes of the Yankees (104.5), followed by Jhoan Duran of the Twins (95.4). Emmanuel Clase of the Guardians, with a score of 91.2, is in eighth. Ryan Pressly of the Astros and Jordan Romano of the Blue Jays finish off the top ten. Their scores are 89.3 and 71.4, respectively.

NL Middle Relievers

Of NL middle relievers with at least 20 appearances, the injured Jesse Chavez of the Atlanta Braves comes in first with a score of 26.5. Steven Okert of the Miami Marlins (25.3) comes in second. Third and fourth belong to Steven Wilson of the San Diego Padres (23.41, rounded to 23.4) and another Marlin, Andrew Nardi (23.38, rounded to 23.4). Angel Perdomo of the Pittsburgh Pirates (22.3) rounds out the top five. Taylor Rogers of the San Francisco Giants (22.2) is narrowly in sixth, while Dauri Moreta of the Pirates (20.1) is in seventh. Hoby Milner of the Milwaukee Brewers is in eighth, with a score of 18.7. Scott Alexander of the Giants (13.8) and Shelby Miller of the Los Angeles Dodgers (11.6) complete the top ten.

NL Setup Men

Joel Payamps of the Brewers leads all eligible NL setup men by a commanding margin with a score of 233.7. Brooks Raley of the New York Mets, with 139.8, is in second. Tyler Rogers of the Giants, twin brother of Taylor, is third, with 135.1. Fourth and fifth are Giovanny Gallegos of the St. Louis Cardinals and Lucas Sims of the Cincinnati Reds, with scores of 115.6 and 109.2, respectively. Kyle Finnegan of the Washington Nationals is sixth, scoring 103.0. At seventh and eighth are Tanner Scott of the Marlins and Caleb Ferguson of the Dodgers. Their scores are 99.7 and 91.6, respectively. Evan Phillips of the Dodgers and Elvis Peguero of the Brewers finish off the top ten with scores of 87.1 and 81.3, respectively.

NL Closers

The highest-scoring closer in the NL is David Bednar of the Pirates, with a score of 279.6. Devin Williams of the Brewers is the runner-up, with 235.6, while Alexis Diaz of the Reds is third, scoring 174.6. Josh Hader of the Padres is fourth, with Raisel Iglesias of the Braves in fifth. Their scores are 113.6 and 109.3, respectively. In sixth and seventh are Justin Lawrence of the Colorado Rockies (108.8) and Camilo Doval of the Giants (100.3). David Robertson, recently traded from the Mets to the Marlins, is eighth (92.0). Rounding out the top ten are the injured Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals and Craig Kimbrel of the Phillies. Their respective scores are 76.3 and 64.4.

Full Score Explanation

For clutch, we will use both the Goose Egg total (33%) and the ratio of Goose Eggs to Broken Eggs (67%) due to the major flaws in Saves and Holds. Full details about Goose Eggs are here. Otherwise, here’s the elevator speech.

A Goose Egg is like a save, except more restrictive. Here are the main points…

  • It’s done inning by inning, starting in the seventh.
  • Maximum of a two-run lead, not three, but it also includes tie games. Like the save, exceptions are made if the tying run is on base or at bat. (Not on deck, however.)
  • Run Breakdown:
    • No run of any kind — earned, unearned, or inherited — scores, it’s a goose egg (GE).
    • Earned run charged to the pitcher, it’s a broken egg (BE).
    • Any other run scores, it’s neither.
    • Earned run scores in an inning where he closes out the victory, it’s also neither.
    • Starts the inning and gives up no runs, but doesn’t finish the inning, it’s also neither.
  • He must finish the inning while recording the following number of outs:
    • No one on when he starts the inning — all three;
    • One on — at least two;
    • Two or three on — at least one.
  • Any time it’s “neither,” it’s called a “Meh,” as in “nothing special.” They’re like a stalemate in chess and count as nothing, so we really don’t talk about them.
  • Most important is the ratio of GE to BE (GE/BE). The historical average, dating to 1921, is 3.0, or 3-to-1.

For run prevention, we will use a mixture of the Scoreless Outing Percentage (Earned Runs only), Inherited Runners Scored Percentage (IS%), and ERA-minus. ScOtg% is 75% of the score, IS% is 15%, and ERA-minus is 10%.

Click here for the full database of these stats.

League Averages for This Week

At the end of play Wednesday, July 26, AL averages were 3.0 GE/BE, 3.8 (rounded) GE, 71.2 ScOtg%, 32.5 IS%, 97 ERA–, 1.303 WHIP, 2.7 HR%, 14.3 K–BB%.

NL averages were 3.2 GE/BE, 3.6 (rounded) GE, 71.9 ScOtg%, 30.5 IS%, 96 ERA–, 1.320 WHIP, 2.7 HR%, 13.9 K–BB%.

Full Leaderboards:

AL Middle Men, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.
AL Setup Men, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.
AL Closers, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.
NL Middle Men, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.
NL Setup Men, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.
NL Closers, stats through July 26. Min. 20 appearances.

Click here to return to the rankings.

Also See:

Week 16 Team Rankings (Midweek Update), Week 15/All-Star Break Team Rankings

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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