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Strike Zone

2022 Reliever Rankings

by Matthew Pouliot
Updated On: July 15, 2021, 11:08 am ET

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Up this week are my just-for-fun 2022 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options have a legitimate chance of being exercised. Those players are noted with asterisks.

Click to see other other preliminary 2022 rankings:

Top 300 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH

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Relief pitcher rankings

2022RPTeam2021July
1Liam HendriksWhite Sox11
2Josh HaderBrewers32
3Craig KimbrelCubs*135
4Aroldis ChapmanYankees43
5Edwin DiazMets27
6Raisel Iglesias 66
7Ryan PresslyAstros84
8Matt BarnesRed Sox288
9Kenley Jansen 79
10Alex ReyesCardinals2711
11James KarinchakIndians515
12Mark Melancon 4410
13Taylor RogersTwins2216
14Brad Hand 914
15Will SmithBraves1413
16Julian MerryweatherBlue Jays166 SP30
17Gregory SotoTigers4134
18Kendall Graveman NR22
19Josh StaumontRoyals6043
20Ken GilesMarinersNRNR
21Emmanuel ClaseIndians5412
22Pete FairbanksRays1741
23Anthony BenderMarlinsNR50
24Diego CastilloRays1918
25Richard RodriguezPirates2619
26Giovanny GallegosCardinals2025
27Tejay AntoneReds109 SP33
28Devin WilliamsBrewers1637
29Lucas SimsReds4039
30Jordan RomanoBlue Jays1017
31Hector Neris 1527
32Daniel BardRockies3131
33J.B. BukauskasDiamondbacksNR90
34Jonathan LoaisigaYankees107 SP55
35Nick AndersonRays7784
36Tyler RogersGiants2920
37Lou TrivinoAthleticsNR21
38Trevor Rosenthal 11NR
39Seth LugoMets4738
40Chad GreenYankees3951
41Adam Ottavino 3352
42Jake McGeeGiants3526
43Jordan HicksCardinals36NR
44Alex Colome 2353
45Scott BarlowRoyals4540
46Drew PomeranzPadres2548
47Ian Kennedy 6524
48Roberto Osuna 71NR
49Ryan Tepera 9571
50Matt CroninNationalsNRNR
51J.P. FeyereisenRaysNR28
52Blake TreinenDodgers8344
53Heath Hembree NRNR
54Emilio PaganPadres1242
55Brusdar GraterolDodgers55NR
56Kirby Yates NRNR
57Andrew KittredgeRays11154
58Yimi Garcia 5323
59Hunter HarveyOriolesNR60
60Demarcus EvansRangersNRNR
61Michael Lorenzen 149 SP77
62Amir GarrettReds1832
63Mike MayersAngels5669
64Tanner RaineyNationals37NR
65Joakim Soria 2135
66Jimmy Nelson NR82
67Jose AlvaradoPhillies7929
68Jose CisneroTigers110NR
69Andres MunozMarinersNR 
70Michael FulmerTigersNR56
71Aaron BummerWhite Sox4663
72Codi HeuerWhite Sox91NR
73Austin AdamsPadres98NR
74Jose LeclercRangersNRNR
75Hansel Robles NR46
76Nick SandlinIndiansNR66
77Seranthony DominguezPhilliesNRNR
78Jonathan HernandezRangers48NR
79Collin McHugh 118 SP149 SP
80Archie Bradley 7383
81David BednarPiratesNR68
82Paul SewaldMarinersNRNR
83Josh JamesAstros115NR
84Jake DiekmanAthletics*8947
85Joely RodriguezRangers*6949

 

  • The Red Sox just took care of Matt Barnes, but there will still be some interesting closers in free agency this winter, including Raisel Iglesias, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, Brad Hand and maybe Craig Kimbrel, depending on how he finishes up and perhaps what team he’s traded to. Kimbrel’s contract includes a $16 million option for next year with a $1 million buyout (which could increase to $2 million).

 

  • Of the rest of the free agents, Kendall Graveman seems like the best bet to me to land a closer gig this winter. I suspect Hector Neris will, too, if he bounces back some in the second half, as I imagine he will. Then there are the rehabbing Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates if they can convince teams they’re healthy.

 

  • A non-free agent who rates as a sneaky pickup here is Ken Giles. The Mariners signed him to a two-year deal after his Tommy John. He’ll have had a full 18 months to recover come next Opening Day, so he should be very much in the running for the closer gig. The Mariners also have Andres Munoz as a possible long-term closer. He underwent Tommy John in March 2020 and was picked up afterwards from the Padres in the Aaron Nola deal.

 

  • The one true prospect included here is Matt Cronin at No. 50. A 2019 fourth-round pick, he’s fanned 41 in 23 innings between high-A and Double-A this year. He also might not have much in front of him with the Nationals. Also making the cut is Demarcus Evans, who has yet to establish himself in Texas. That’s a cloudy situation, as neither Jose Leclerc nor Jonathan Hernandez figure to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing Tommy John surgery early this year.