Fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings

Fantasy baseball relief pitcher rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

The following relief pitchers are ranked assuming a 5x5 format (wins, saves, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts).

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
2. Fernando Rodney, Rays
NOTE: You trust him completely - until next spring.
3. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
4. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
NOTE: Is he a starter in 2013?
5. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
6. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
7. Jason Motte, Cardinals
8. Rafael Soriano, Yankees
9. Chris Perez, Indians
NOTE: Looking tired in dog days of August.
10. Jim Johnson, Orioles
11. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
12. Huston Street, Padres
NOTE: Unreal numbers but team holds back value.
13. Joe Nathan, Rangers
14. Addison Reed, White Sox
15. Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
16. Jose Valverde, Tigers
17. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
NOTE: Former bartender turns into lights-out closer.
18. Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
NOTE: Surprisingly wasn't traded, but waiver deal possible.
19. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
NOTE: Back on the beam, reliable again.
20. Ernesto Frieri, Angels
21. Greg Holland, Royals
22. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox
23. Tyler Clippard, Nationals
24. Frank Francisco, Mets
25. Steve Cishek, Marlins
NOTE: How badly do they want to try Heath Bell again?
26. Ryan Cook, Athletics
27. Jeremy Affeldt, Giants
NOTE: Lefty or not, he's the best option they have right now.
28. Jared Burton, Twins
29. Joe Henderson, Brewers
NOTE: Ten-year journeyman gets a shot.
30. John Axford, Brewers
31. Grant Balfour, Athletics
32. Heath Bell, Marlins
33. Sergio Romo, Giants
NOTE: Nightmare for righties, but how durable is he?
34. Glen Perkins, Twins
35. Drew Storen, Nationals
NOTE: Likely to see the ninth soon enough.
36. Wilton Lopez, Astros
NOTE: Ready to close if the elbow is healthy.
37. Vinnie Pestano, Indians
38. Pedro Strop, Orioles
39. Santiago Casilla, Giants
40. Sean Marshall, Reds
41. Alexi Ogando, Rangers
42. Sean Burnett, Nationals
43. David Hernandez, Diamondbacks
44. Andrew Bailey, Red Sox
NOTE: Back soon, but role uncertain.
45. Jonathan Broxton, Reds
46. Luke Gregerson, Padres
47. David Robertson, Yankees
48. Brayan Villarreal, Tigers
49. Scott Downs, Angels
NOTE: Desperately needed back in Anaheim.
50. Jake McGee, Rays
51. Octavio Dotel, Tigers
52. Jason Grilli, Pirates
53. Bobby Parnell, Mets
54. Joaquin Benoit, Tigers
55. Joel Peralta, Rays
56. Brett Myers, White Sox
NOTE: Move to Chicago meant move out of ninth.
57. Edward Mujica, Cardinals
58. Matt Belisle, Rockies
NOTE: Likely successor if Betancourt is moved.
59. Ronald Belisario, Dodgers
60. Darren O'Day, Orioles
61. Kevin Jepsen, Angels
62. Jon Rauch, Mets
NOTE: Say this, he looks the part.
63. Boone Logan, Yankees
64. Joe Smith, Indians
65. David Phelps, Yankees
66. Mike Adams, Rangers
67. Robbie Ross, Rangers
68. Wesley Wright, Astros
NOTE: Probably their second-best reliever.
69. Aaron Crow, Royals
70. Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
NOTE: The trusted bridge to Motte.
71. Craig Stammen, Nationals
72. Brandon League, Dodgers
73. James Russell, Cubs
74. Charlie Furbush, Mariners
75. Dale Thayer, Padres
76. Tim Collins, Royals
77. Javy Guerra, Dodgers
78. Matt Thornton, White Sox
NOTE: Not a favorite of Robin Ventura.
79. Andrew Miller, Red Sox
NOTE: Nice reclamation work here.
80. Jose Arredondo, Reds
81. Eric O'Flaherty, Braves
82. Rex Brothers, Rockies
83. Josh Lindblom, Phillies
84. Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
85. Shawn Camp, Cubs
86. Kameron Loe, Brewers
NOTE: Got a brief closing shot, didn't convert.
87. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
NOTE: Typical of Tampa, closers last just one year.
88. Phil Coke, Tigers
89. Fernando Salas, Cardinals
90. Francisco Cordero, Astros
NOTE: Gas tank is empty.
91. Vicente Padilla, Red Sox
92. Brian Fuentes, Cardinals
NOTE: Unsafe in any league.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

Do the Cubs have a World Series hangover?

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic joins CSN's Patrick Mooney to talk about the World Series hangover, how last year's playoff loss lingered in San Francisco, Johnny Cueto's quirks, the legend of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija's ups and downs.

Plus Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs’ defensive struggles this year compared to an historic 2016 and how Ian Happ fits into the Cubs’ lineup in both the short and long term.

Listen to the latest episode below:

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

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USA TODAY

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

Caleb Swanigan, unsurprisingly, is heading to the NBA.

Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year announced Wednesday that he’ll pass up the final two seasons of his NCAA eligibility for a paying gig at the professional level, an awesome opportunity for a kid who battled obesity and homelessness to become one of the best basketball players in the country.

But Swanigan’s departure from West Lafayette means a heck of a lot to the Big Ten.

Without the league’s most dominant big man, what becomes of Purdue’s chances at winning a conference title? Similarly, with a weakened — though still strong — group of Boilermakers, what does the Big Ten race look like going into 2017-18?

First, Purdue. Matt Painter’s program is plenty healthy, and while there’s no doubt that losing Swanigan is a big deal, the Boilers got some really good news, too, Wednesday when Vincent Edwards announced he’ll be returning for his senior season. Seven-footer Isaac Haas also made the decision to return to West Lafayette, meaning the towering frontcourt hasn’t been completely decimated just because tha man called “Biggie” is gone.

Purdue will also return Carsen Edwards, who had an impressive freshman campaign, and Dakota Mathias, a terrific defender and 3-point shooter. Two more important pieces — P.J. Thompson and Ryan Cline — are back, as well. And Painter will welcome in freshman Nojel Eastern, a highly touted guard from Evanston.

So the Boilers are still in very good shape. There will be a big magnifying glass on Haas, who despite his physical attributes hasn’t always found consistent on-court success. But there have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from the big man. A big step forward in his game would go a long way in easing the blow of losing Swanigan and could keep Purdue as one of the frontrunners for a conference title.

That brings us to the Big Ten race. Ever since Miles Bridges, the conference’s reigning Freshman of the Year, announced he’d be returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season, the Spartans have been the near-unanimous favorite. Only something like Swanigan deciding to stay at Purdue could’ve changed that. And with Swanigan expectedly heading to the NBA, Michigan State remains the preseason pick to win the conference crown.

Like any good year in the Big Ten, though, there will be challengers.

But Michigan State is the popular choice to win it because of Tom Izzo’s insane 2016 recruiting class is returning completely intact: Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford are all back. And Izzo brings in one of the top 2017 recruits in forward Jaren Jackson.

But Sparty isn’t the only one with an impressive returning group. Purdue’s experienced roster has already been covered. Northwestern, a surprise contender in 2016-17, should be even better as Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey enter their fourth year playing together. Dererk Pardon, a shot-blocking whiz at center, is also back, as is sharp-shooter Aaron Falzon, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury after starting during his freshman year in 2015-16.

There will be big shoes to fill for some perennial contenders like Maryland — which must replace Melo Trimble — and Michigan, which watched eligibility run out on Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin before D.J. Wilson decided to head to the professional ranks Wednesday. But those teams have plenty of talent returning, too. The Terps will have all three of their fab freshmen — Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter — back for sophomore seasons, while the Wolverines have Moe Wagner back in the fold alongside Xavier Simpson and Duncan Robinson, among others.

And what of last year’s shocking contender, Minnesota? The Golden Gophers didn’t lose too much this offseason and will return almost every main player from last year’s 24-10 squad: Amir Coffey, Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Eric Curry.

There are up-and-comers to think about, too, such as last year’s freshman-heavy squads at Iowa and Penn State. And could new head coaches Brad Underwood and Archie Miller make instant splashes at Illinois and Indiana, respectively?

If it sounds a little too much like the annual coach speak that “any team can win on any night” in the Big Ten, that’s because there is a good deal of truth to that oft-used phrase.

There are definitely tiers to this thing, though. Even without Swanigan, Purdue is still in one of those upper tiers. But there might be no team besides Michigan State at the very top of the heap, something underscored by Swanigan turning pro.