Relief Pitcher Rankings

Relief Pitcher Rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

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

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
2. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
NOTE: A shame Manuel doesn't use him right.
3. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
4. Fernando Rodney, Rays
NOTE: Too late to turn back now.
5. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
6. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
7. Jim Johnson, Orioles
8. Joe Nathan, Rangers
NOTE: Nice discount buy for Texas.
9. Jason Motte, Cardinals
NOTE: Fastball still straight but he's fine.
10. Chris Perez, Indians
11. Rafael Soriano, Yankees
12. Ryan Cook, Athletics
13. Ernesto Frieri, Angels
NOTE: Absolutely unhittable, but has to share a little with Downs.
14. Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
NOTE: Santos unlikely to get job back.
15. Tyler Clippard, Nationals
NOTE: Took the gig and ran with it.
16. Huston Street, Padres
NOTE: Is there a trade market?
17. Santiago Casilla, Giants
18. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
NOTE: The former bartender always closes.
19. Jose Valverde, Tigers
20. Jonathan Broxton, Royals
21. Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
NOTE: Another possible trade chip.
22. Addison Reed, White Sox
NOTE: Took a while but he's established now.
23. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
24. John Axford, Brewers
25. Frank Francisco, Mets
26. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
NOTE: Don't think, just throw.
27. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox
28. Scott Downs, Angels
29. Brett Myers, Astros
NOTE: Can't see a bidding war for him.
30. Heath Bell, Marlins
31. Sergio Romo, Giants
32. Vinnie Pestano, Indians
33. Glen Perkins, Twins
34. Charlie Furbush, Mariners
NOTE: A set-up stud in Seattle.
35. Jared Burton, Twins
36. Drew Storen, Nationals
37. Bobby Parnell, Mets
38. Grant Balfour, Athletics
39. Sean Marshall, Reds
40. Tim Collins, Royals
41. Joaquin Benoit, Tigers
42. Matt Capps, Twins
43. David Hernandez, Diamondbacks
44. Andrew Bailey, Red Sox
NOTE: The injuries are part of the profile.
45. Aaron Crow, Royals
46. Mike Adams, Rangers
47. Wilton Lopez, Astros
48. Jason Grilli, Pirates
NOTE: He's finally put it all together.
49. Sean Burnett, Nationals
50. David Robertson, Yankees
51. Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
52. Darren O'Day, Orioles
NOTE: The underrated character from Animal House.
53. Greg Holland, Royals
54. Jose Arredondo, Reds
55. Matt Belisle, Rockies
56. James Russell, Cubs
NOTE: Might close if they move Marmol.
57. Brandon League, Mariners
NOTE: Doubt he gets the job back.
58. Brandon Lyon, Astros
59. Craig Stammen, Nationals
60. Scott Atchison, Red Sox
61. Brayan Villarreal, Tigers
NOTE: Starting to earn Jim Leyland's trust.
62. Ronald Belisario, Dodgers
63. Jake McGee, Rays
64. Steve Cishek, Marlins
65. Robbie Ross, Rangers
66. Pedro Strop, Orioles
NOTE: Big fastball, could be future stopper.
67. Jerry Blevins, Athletics
68. Andrew Miller, Red Sox
69. Joel Peralta, Rays
70. Sean Doolittle, Athletics
71. Rex Brothers, Rockies
72. Jordan Walden, Angels
73. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
74. Brad Ziegler, Diamondbacks
75. Octavio Dotel, Tigers
76. Jonny Venters, Braves
NOTE: Never chase last year's middle-relief superstar.

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

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Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."