Reliever Roundup and Bullpen Bonanza, Episode 3 — Week 5 Individual Rankings

The Top Six in Week 5's Reliever Rankings
(Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire) MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 10: Brock Stewart #61 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 10, 2024 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 21: Cole Sands #44 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Detroit Tigers on April 21, 2024 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) Bottom row, L to R: MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 08: Evan Phillips #59 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Minnesota Twins on April 8, 2024 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 4: Brooks Raley #25 of the New York Mets in action against the Detroit Tigers during game one of a double header at Citi Field on April 4, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 16: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Reed Garrett #75 of the New York Mets in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field on April 16, 2024 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 3-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Reliever Roundup & Bullpen Bonanza — Week 5 Individual Rankings

We are at the beginning of Week 5 of the 2024 season. Here are the top 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 but will lump them in with the middle 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 seven 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 5 Individual Reliever Rankings

AL Middle Relievers

Reliever Rankings, AL Middle Men Top Ten April 27

Cole Sands of the Minnesota Twins takes over the top spot in the AL middle reliever rankings for Week Five with 46.4. Second place goes to Justin Slaten of the Boston Red Sox (40.0). Tim Herrin (35.9) and Nick Sandlin (34.8), both of the Cleveland Guardians, are third and fourth, respectively. Coming in fifth is Trent Thornton of the Seattle Mariners (32.6). Sixth and seventh place go to Cade Smith of the Guardians (28.5) and Tyler Holton of the Detroit Tigers (27.97, rounded to 28.0). Luis Garcia of the Los Angeles Angels (27.95, rounded to 28.0), Alex Lange of the Tigers (23.6), and Seth Martinez of the Houston Astros (18.6) complete the top ten.

AL Setup Men

Reliever Rankings, AL Setup Men Top Ten April 27

Brock Stewart of the Twins has jumped to the top of the AL Setup Men rankings for Week Five with an overall score of 112.8. Runner-up Ian Hamilton of the New York Yankees has an overall score of 109.8. Yimi Garcia of the Toronto Blue Jays (104.6) is in third. Fourth place belongs to John Schreiber of the Kansas City Royals (103.2). In fifth is Hunter Gaddis of the Guardians (98.0). Coming in sixth is Gabe Speier of the Mariners (97.3). Jason Adam (89.2) and Phil Maton (74.0), both of the Tampa Bay Rays, are in seventh and eighth. The final two spots of the top ten see Lucas Erceg of the Oakland Athletics (57.4) and Shelby Miller of the Tigers (54.8).

AL Closers

Reliever Rankings, AL Closers Top Five April 27

The leading AL closer is Kirby Yates of the Texas Rangers (140.8), whose score also leads all of Major League Baseball. Number two is Clay Holmes of the Yankees (122.6). Mason Miller of the Athletics (120.3) and Jason Foley (119.0) are third and fourth, respectively, trading positions from where they were in Week Four. Craig Kimbrel of the Baltimore Orioles rounds out the top five (113.6).

NL Middle Relievers

Reliever Rankings, NL Middle Relievers Top Ten April 27

Of those with at least seven appearances, Reed Garrett of the New York Mets leads the NL middle reliever rankings with a score of 62.4. Enyel De Los Santos of the San Diego Padres (52.7) is second. Third and fourth belong to Bryan Hudson of the Milwaukee Brewers (48.3) and Matt Strahm of the Philadelphia Phillies (47.2). Jake Diekman of the Mets (27.2) is in a distant fifth. Ryan Walker of the San Francisco Giants (26.7) is in sixth, with Ryan Fernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals (24.8) is in seventh. Erik Miller of the Giants is in eighth (24.1), narrowly beating Dylan Floro of the Washington Nationals (24.0). Brent Suter of the Cincinnati Reds (21.7) finishes the top ten.

NL Setup Men

Reliever Rankings, NL Setup Men Top Ten April 27

Brooks Raley of the Mets (128.7) and JoJo Romero of the Cardinals (113.5) hold the top two NL Setup Man spots in the Week Five reliever rankings. Mark Leiter Jr. of the Chicago Cubs is third (112.6). Fourth and fifth are Colin Holderman of the Pittsburgh Pirates (99.1) and Jorge Lopez of the Mets (95.0). Joe Jimenez of the Atlanta Braves is sixth (90.7). In seventh and eighth are Elvis Peguero of the Brewers (89.7) and Tyler Rogers of the Giants (83.2). Yuki Matsui of the Padres (80.8) and Hunter Harvey of the Nationals (80.3) finish off the top ten.

NL Closers

Reliever Rankings, NL Closers Top Five April 27

The highest-scoring closer in the National League is Evan Phillips of the Los Angeles Dodgers (133.3). Kyle Finnegan of the Nationals (132.6) is the runner-up by a narrow margin, while Robert Suarez of the Padres is third (125.3). Edwin Diaz of the Mets is fourth (122.6), with Jose Alvarado of the Phillies in fifth (107.5).

Full Leaderboards

Reliever Rankings, AL Middle Men Full Board April 27
Middle Relievers (AL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.
Reliever Rankings, AL Setup Men Full Board April 27
Setup Men (AL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.
Reliever Rankings, AL Closers Full Board April 27
Closers (AL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.
Reliever Rankings, NL Middle Relievers Full Board April 27
Middle Relievers (NL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.
Reliever Rankings, NL Setup Men Full Board April 27
Setup Men (NL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.
Reliever Rankings, NL Closers Full Board April 27
Closers (NL), full leaderboard, through end of play 4/25. Minimum of 7 total relief appearances.

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 2023 database of these stats.

League Averages for This Week

At the end of play Thursday, April 18, AL averages were 3.4 GE/BE, 1.6 (rounded) GE, 72.6 ScOtg%, 31.3 IS%, 96 ERA–, 1.244 WHIP, 2.7 HR%, and 13.6 K–BB%.

NL averages were 2.9 GE/BE, 1.4 (rounded) GE, 71.1 ScOtg%, 35.6 IS%, 99 ERA–, 1.313 WHIP, 2.3 HR%, and 13.0 K–BB%.

Click here to return to the rankings.

Main Photo:

The main photo is a mosaic of the following images.

Top Row, Left

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Center

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Right

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Bottom Row, Left

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Right

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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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