2017 Positional Power Rankings: Bullpen (#16-30)

The positional power rankings continue. If you’ve come across the 16th- through 30th-ranked bullpens by accident or are otherwise unfamiliar with these power rankings, feel free to read Dave Cameron’s introduction. If you’re interested in any other positional rankings, use the links above this paragraph. For the start of the relief-pitcher portion, read on.

The graph below contains half the major-league teams. If you don’t see your favorite team below, congratulations: you cheer for a club that ranks in the top half of baseball when it comes to relievers. Those teams will be covered in short order, and if there’s a link at the beginning of this post to them, that means they’ve already been published.

While this post covers the bottom half of the rankings, the first few teams included here are extremely close to the teams just ahead of them, and there are a few bullpens whose projections potentially underrate them. Add in some reliever volatility and random fluctuation, and we could see a number of these clubs among the league’s top 10 at the end of the year.

A note: while you won’t find Andrew Miller’s club here, you’ll find his name invoked with some frequency. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about deploying elite relievers in non-traditional but high-leverage situations. Cleveland’s use of Andrew Miller in last year’s postseason is about the purest expression of this concept in some time. While that sort of usage isn’t sustainable over the course of a full regular season, there are times when it represents the best option for a team.

To that end, I’ve provided a rating (out of 10) of every team’s capacity to use a reliever in these non-traditional situation. I refer to this as the Andrew Miller Situation Scale. The ratings are subjective and somewhat arbitrary, but tend to be higher for clubs whose best reliever isn’t also their closer. Secondary considerations include the club’s motivations for using the strategy (if it’s financially motivated, for example) as well as the actual quality of both the “elite” reliever and closer. Basically, the higher the number, the more the situation resembles an Andrew Miller situation.

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Roberto Osuna   65.0 10.3 2.3 1.1 .297 77.8 % 3.13 3.34 1.5
Jason Grilli 65.0 10.9 3.8 1.3 .305 76.4 % 3.82 3.92 0.6
Joseph Biagini 55.0 8.0 2.8 1.0 .314 73.4 % 3.89 3.96 0.4
J.P. Howell 55.0 7.4 3.4 0.9 .316 74.0 % 3.90 4.04 0.2
Joe Smith 45.0 7.8 2.9 1.0 .306 73.9 % 3.77 4.07 0.2
Aaron Loup 40.0 8.6 3.1 1.0 .309 74.1 % 3.76 3.94 0.2
Ryan Tepera 35.0 8.7 3.5 1.1 .309 73.8 % 3.99 4.13 0.0
Danny Barnes 30.0 9.8 2.4 1.1 .311 74.3 % 3.63 3.55 0.2
Christopher Smith 25.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Bo Schultz 20.0 6.9 3.1 1.3 .305 70.5 % 4.57 4.54 0.0
Matt Dermody 15.0 6.5 2.5 1.2 .313 69.1 % 4.59 4.37 0.0
Mat Latos 10.0 6.6 3.0 1.3 .309 70.2 % 4.77 4.69 0.0
Glenn Sparkman   10.0 7.6 2.5 1.4 .312 71.1 % 4.47 4.43 0.0
The Others 15.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 485.0 8.7 3.1 1.1 .310 73.7 % 3.93 4.00 3.3

The list of relief pitchers with a better projection than Roberto Osuna isn’t long. None of the other pitchers I’m covering today are superior, in fact, and he ranks 10th overall. Osuna is just 22 years old and is entering his third MLB season. He struck out nearly 30% of batters and walked just 5% last season, and led American League relievers with a 21% infield-fly rate. The Blue Jays rank this low not because of Osuna, but because of the rest of the pen.

Jason Grilli is 40 years old, and his performance declined last season along with his velocity. He’s been a fastball/slider guy his entire career, and his resurgence with Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013 lengthened that career. Careers only last so long, though, even for relievers. Grilli probably still has something left, given his 32% strikeout rate last season. There will be questions about how much he has left, though if he struggles to start this season. The projections are baking in a reduction in strikeouts and walks and a relatively high home-run rate. Those are reasonable expectations, even at 40.

Projecting Joseph Biagini is a bit tough. He was moved to the majors last season as a Rule 5 pick following a decent Double-A season. Despite the jump, he excelled in relief with a starter’s arsenal of fastball, slider, curve, and change that gets a lot of ground balls. He has decent velocity for a reliever, averaging 94 mph on the fastball, and gets ahead in the count with a first-pitch strike 70% of the time. Projections say his home-run rate will normalize while his strikeout and walk rates remain roughly the same. It’s difficult to know how ready Biagini was for the majors due to his Rule 5 status. It’s possible that the projections are underrating Biagini’s 2016 season and that better things are yet to come.

The rest of the bullpen is filled with pitchers who aren’t terrible. That might not sound like a good thing, but reading on should change your mind. J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, and Aaron Loup are all okay and Danny Barnes might get another shot in the majors at some point this season.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 1
Osuna is the best and also the closer.

17. Padres
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Brandon Maurer 65.0 8.9 2.9 1.0 .309 71.5 % 3.90 3.66 0.8
Brad Hand 65.0 10.2 3.4 0.9 .308 75.9 % 3.33 3.35 1.1
Ryan Buchter 55.0 10.6 4.5 1.0 .300 77.2 % 3.57 3.85 0.5
Kevin Quackenbush 55.0 8.1 3.2 1.0 .306 72.9 % 3.95 3.94 0.3
Carter Capps   45.0 12.4 3.4 0.8 .313 78.5 % 2.82 2.92 0.6
Keith Hessler 40.0 8.4 3.6 1.0 .313 73.4 % 4.03 4.08 0.1
Leonel Campos 35.0 10.5 4.7 1.0 .314 74.7 % 3.82 3.84 0.1
Miguel Diaz 30.0 6.8 4.4 1.3 .308 68.9 % 5.28 5.22 -0.2
Buddy Baumann   25.0 8.7 3.5 0.9 .308 72.9 % 3.87 3.89 0.0
Cesar Vargas 20.0 8.1 3.1 1.0 .313 71.5 % 4.07 3.93 0.0
Christian Bethancourt 15.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Cory Mazzoni 10.0 9.6 3.4 0.9 .324 67.8 % 4.27 3.56 0.0
Walker Lockett 10.0 6.2 2.3 1.2 .308 69.4 % 4.52 4.44 0.0
Jose Ruiz 10.0 10.1 5.0 0.9 .317 72.0 % 4.35 3.99 0.0
The Others 34.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 514.0 9.3 3.7 1.0 .311 73.2 % 3.94 3.89 3.2

A good right-handed closer with an even better left-hander who’s frequently deployed before the ninth inning? That’s going to rate pretty highly on the Andrew Miller Situation Scale. Brandon Maurer took over the closer role after the team traded Fernando Rodney. He’s solidly above average in strikeouts, walks, and homers. He isn’t great, but his 3.46 FIP was solid and better than his 4.52 ERA made him appear. Last year saw a jump in strikeouts, as he used his fastball more at the expense of his slider, which was a slower pitch last season. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait.

While Maurer was good last year, Brad Hand was better, and his 2.92 ERA was supported by a 3.07 FIP. Last year was the first one in which Hand was utilized only as a reliever. He abandoned his change and moved over more to his slider, which is Andrew Miller-like. His walk rate is near 10%, but that’s not unreasonable when paired with a 30% K rate. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait.

Carter Capps was crazy good in 2015 in limited innings, but missed all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery. A rebound at some point this season would be quite helpful to the Padres. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait. Buchter is a spin-rate guy who strikes out a lot of hitters despite throwing a fastball 85% of the time. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait. Kevin Quackenbash is also back there to pitch some innings and Christian Bethancourt is trying to be a catcher/pitcher, but not at the same time.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 8
Brandon Maurer : Cody Allen :: Brad Hand : Andrew Miller.

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
A.J. Ramos 65.0 10.1 4.5 0.7 .302 76.2 % 3.33 3.55 0.9
Kyle Barraclough 65.0 12.3 5.3 0.5 .308 76.4 % 3.07 3.07 1.2
Brad Ziegler 55.0 6.8 3.2 0.7 .306 73.3 % 3.52 3.74 0.3
Junichi Tazawa 55.0 9.0 2.5 0.9 .303 74.1 % 3.47 3.40 0.6
David Phelps 45.0 8.5 3.2 0.8 .298 74.6 % 3.38 3.61 0.2
Jose Urena 40.0 6.6 2.9 1.0 .305 69.8 % 4.32 4.27 0.0
Dustin McGowan 35.0 8.3 4.4 0.9 .297 74.0 % 3.86 4.17 0.0
Nick Wittgren 30.0 7.7 2.3 1.0 .305 73.3 % 3.74 3.84 0.0
Hunter Cervenka 25.0 9.3 5.2 0.8 .301 73.2 % 3.86 4.03 0.0
Brian Ellington 20.0 9.7 4.9 0.8 .302 74.3 % 3.74 3.93 0.0
Severino Gonzalez 15.0 7.0 2.0 1.0 .305 69.3 % 4.10 3.89 0.0
Odrisamer Despaigne   10.0 6.5 3.0 0.9 .304 68.9 % 4.31 4.16 0.0
Bryan Morris   10.0 7.1 3.9 0.9 .309 74.3 % 3.93 4.24 0.0
Tayron Guerrero 10.0 8.2 4.8 1.0 .302 72.1 % 4.40 4.55 0.0
Asher Wojciechowski 10.0 7.0 3.4 1.3 .312 70.0 % 4.85 4.77 0.0
Drew Steckenrider 10.0 8.9 4.7 0.8 .309 73.1 % 3.90 3.99 0.0
The Others 20.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 520.0 8.8 3.8 0.8 .304 73.6 % 3.69 3.78 3.2

If you were to divine a philosophy of the Marlins bullpen based on their best two relievers, it would go something like: strikeouts are awesome; who cares about walks; and never, ever give up home runs. Let’s start with the home runs. A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough pitched in 142 games, recorded 136.2 innings between them, and gave up just two homers. In terms of walks, there were 44 relievers who recorded at least a 1.0 WAR last season. Among them, Barraclough’s 5.5 BB/9 was the worst. A.J. Ramos’ 4.9 BB/9 was third worst, with Craig Kimbrel sandwiched between the two Marlins relievers.

But the strikeouts. A.J. Ramos’ 26% strikeout rate is good, but Barraclough’s 37% was seventh in baseball last year. The projections expect the strikeouts and walks to keep coming, with a few more home runs thrown in, but that should still make both pitchers above average this season. After those two, the team signed Brad Ziegler. He can’t match the strikeouts, but he should keep those homers down with his unusual delivery and ground-ball-inducing ways.

The above trio’s strength was Junichi Tazawa’s weakness last season: he gave up nine homers in 49.2 innings. Going from Boston to Miami could help the situation and a little regression should make him an above-average pitcher. As Miami relievers tend to do, David Phelps put up some really good numbers last season, striking out a bunch of guys, walking a bunch, and had an above-average home-run rate. The Marlins bullpen could be sneaky good this season.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 7
A.J. Ramos is good, but Bearclaw might be better.

19. Giants
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Mark Melancon 65.0 8.7 2.0 0.6 .303 78.1 % 2.64 2.92 1.3
Hunter Strickland 65.0 9.4 2.5 0.8 .303 76.6 % 3.05 3.18 1.0
Derek Law 55.0 8.7 3.0 0.8 .308 74.7 % 3.41 3.47 0.5
George Kontos 55.0 6.8 2.8 0.9 .299 73.5 % 3.73 3.98 0.1
Cory Gearrin 45.0 8.7 3.1 0.9 .307 74.5 % 3.51 3.62 0.2
Josh Osich 40.0 8.3 4.2 0.8 .305 73.2 % 3.83 4.02 0.0
Steven Okert 35.0 9.5 3.3 0.9 .310 76.0 % 3.34 3.52 0.1
Ty Blach 30.0 6.0 2.4 0.9 .306 71.0 % 4.05 4.08 0.0
Chris Stratton 25.0 7.3 3.5 1.0 .308 71.5 % 4.19 4.19 0.0
Albert Suarez 20.0 6.4 2.8 1.0 .305 71.3 % 4.17 4.26 0.0
The Others 12.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 447.0 8.2 2.9 0.9 .305 74.4 % 3.49 3.63 3.1

No. 19 isn’t a great spot to be for a team that expects to contend and just spent $62 million on a closer. Last season, the Giants produced 2.1 WAR total from the bullpen and recorded an MLB-leading 30 blown saves. Their mark of 92 meltdowns was better than only the Marlins and Diamondbacks. By adding Mark Melancon and benefiting from a full season from Will Smith, the Giants appeared set to improve considerably. That plan has hasn’t quite worked out, as Smith will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery. Over the last four years, the only relievers with a higher WAR than Melancon’s 7.9 mark are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Dellin Betances. Melancon should provide a calming presence at the end of games that club was lacking in 2016.

After Melancon — or before, as is the case here — is Hunter Strickland, who was good last season, recording a 3.10 ERA and 3.16 FIP. Those numbers weren’t quite as good as his 2015 marks, with the strikeouts and walks each moving a couple percentage points in the wrong direction, but when the increase in offense is factored in, his overall numbers were pretty equivalent. If he could get back to his 2015 numbers and offensive numbers stay up in 2017, he could be the best reliever on the team.

Derek Law was the best reliever on the Giants last season, with a 2.13 ERA and 2.53 FIP in his debut season. The 26-year-old righty gave up only nine walks in 55 innings last season, but his projections expect him to double that this season. Even if he does walk some more batters, he should still be a solid option late in the game along with Strickland and Melancon.

Cory Gearrin’s FIP was about a run better than his ERA, and he should provide some halfway decent innings. George Kontos’s 2.53 ERA is unlikely to repeat itself given his less-than-stellar walk and strikeout numbers. Lefty Steven Okert has put up really good strikeout numbers throughout his career and, worst case, should be a decent LOOGY. The Giants’ bullpen saw its floor last year, but this year, it should be a bit higher.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
A step forward from Strickland?

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Tony Watson 65.0 8.2 2.5 0.9 .303 74.6 % 3.35 3.57 0.8
Daniel Hudson 65.0 8.4 3.1 0.9 .314 71.6 % 3.90 3.72 0.8
Felipe Rivero 55.0 9.7 3.4 0.7 .312 74.6 % 3.28 3.26 0.7
Juan Nicasio 55.0 9.4 3.3 0.9 .319 73.6 % 3.71 3.57 0.5
Antonio Bastardo 45.0 9.4 4.1 1.0 .304 73.3 % 3.95 4.00 0.2
Jared Hughes 40.0 5.6 3.1 0.8 .312 73.1 % 3.94 4.33 -0.1
Wade LeBlanc 35.0 7.3 2.5 1.0 .310 72.7 % 3.94 3.94 0.0
Trevor Williams 30.0 6.2 2.8 1.1 .315 70.3 % 4.48 4.39 -0.1
Clay Holmes 25.0 6.6 4.2 1.1 .313 69.8 % 4.82 4.77 -0.1
Tyler Webb 20.0 9.0 3.3 1.0 .314 73.4 % 3.86 3.82 0.0
A.J. Schugel 15.0 7.5 2.7 0.9 .312 72.0 % 3.83 3.75 0.0
Pat Light 10.0 8.2 5.1 1.0 .314 71.6 % 4.61 4.55 0.0
Dovydas Neverauskas 10.0 7.9 4.3 1.0 .315 72.7 % 4.27 4.36 0.0
The Others 44.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 514.0 8.2 3.3 0.9 .312 72.5 % 3.95 3.93 2.7

In 2014 and 2015, Tony Watson recorded more than 150 innings with a sub-3 FIP and sub-2 ERA. He was mostly the same pitcher in 2016 except that he allowed 10 home runs after allowing just eight total in the two previous seasons combined. Watson took over in the ninth inning after Mark Melancon was traded and he figures to remain there this season. He’s a lefty sinkerballer who doesn’t have the traditional high ground-ball percentage, but has produced low BABIPs so far in his career. If he can keep the homer rate down, he should be fine.

Watson is one of a trio of solid pitchers at the end of the Pirates bullpen. The team signed Daniel Hudson in the offseason after he produced a couple solid seasons in Arizona, though last year was marred by a high BABIP and low left-on-base percentage that caused a 5.22 ERA. Hudson is an above-average reliever and should be an asset for Pittsburgh this season.

Felipe Rivero is probably the most exciting member of the Pirates pen. He’s youngish at 25 years old, he struck out 28% of batters last season, and his fastball averaged 96 mph last year. He’s a lefty who has shown no problems getting righties out. His 4.09 ERA was much higher than his 3.46 FIP and projections expect him to be even better this year.

Juan Nicasio didn’t quite work out as a Ray Searage reclamation project, but as a reliever he struck out 31% of batters and had a 2.73 FIP. Antonio Bastardo had a good run from 2011 to 2015, but like Tony Watson and much of baseball, his pitches left the yard at a higher rate in 2016, and it made Bastardo replacement level. He’s not a bad guy to have as the fifth-best reliever. The Pirates lack a star reliever, but they have a variety of options who could pretty easily make them better than a bunch of teams that appear higher on this list.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
Two (maybe three) good options, not one great one, unless Felipe Rivero turns into Andrew Miller.

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Neftali Feliz 65.0 9.8 3.6 1.3 .302 73.3 % 4.13 4.13 0.6
Corey Knebel 65.0 11.0 3.8 1.0 .316 75.1 % 3.61 3.58 1.1
Carlos Torres 55.0 8.7 3.5 1.2 .309 74.4 % 4.05 4.19 0.2
Jhan Marinez 55.0 8.3 3.6 1.0 .312 73.7 % 4.00 4.16 0.2
Brent Suter 45.0 6.7 2.5 1.2 .311 71.4 % 4.36 4.36 0.2
Jacob Barnes 40.0 9.3 3.3 0.9 .315 74.1 % 3.73 3.64 0.3
Tommy Milone 35.0 7.5 2.3 1.4 .310 71.2 % 4.42 4.33 0.0
Tyler Cravy 30.0 8.6 3.7 1.3 .308 71.9 % 4.50 4.46 0.0
Jorge Lopez 25.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Josh Hader 20.0 10.9 3.9 1.0 .316 74.6 % 3.71 3.66 0.1
Michael Blazek 15.0 7.9 4.1 1.2 .311 72.2 % 4.52 4.57 0.0
Damien Magnifico 10.0 7.9 4.6 1.1 .310 72.0 % 4.54 4.64 0.0
The Others 61.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 521.0 8.8 3.5 1.2 .313 72.6 % 4.24 4.19 2.5

Milwaukee’s strategy of trading relievers whenever they have any value continues. They traded Will Smith to the Giants and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers in the middle of last season, and Tyler Thornburg went to the Red Sox in the offseason. Neftali Feliz seems likely to continue that trend. The Brewers signed Feliz to a one-year, $5 million dollar deal after a year with the Pirates. Despite some struggles with the long ball, Feliz pitched well in the first half, with a 3.58 FIP and 2.88 ERA, but things fell apart in the second half and he was eventually shut down with arm issues. Those issues did not require surgery, and if he can stay healthy in the first half, the Brewers closer seems likely to end up with a contender in the second half.

Is it an Andrew Miller Situation if the best reliever isn’t the closer, but the reasons are to raise the trade value of the proven closer and keep the better reliever cheaper in arbitration? Corey Knebel should be the Brewers’ best reliever this season. Last year, a low 65% left-on-base percentage inflated his ERA to 4.68 despite a solid 3.58 FIP. He walks a lot of hitters, but balances it out with a lot of strikeouts, throwing only a four-seam fastball and a knuckle-curve that comes in around 80 mph. He’ll be eligible for arbitration at the end of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Brewers trade Knebel if he’s pitching well despite having four more seasons of control.

Carlos Torres is one of the hardest-working relievers in baseball: his 232 innings over the last three years is third in the majors behind only Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia. The results are a bit less impressive than those produced by the other two, although Torres did have a 2.73 ERA last season despite a 3.75 FIP. The latter figure probably better represents his talent as a slightly below-average reliever. Jacob Barnes pitched well last season with decent strikeout numbers and low walk totals. Jhan Marinez pitched pretty well for the Brewers last season and should be decent. As for the rest, Josh Hader is an above-average pitching prospect and his future might be as a starter, but the lefty could crack the big-league bullpen at some point this year.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
It’s happening, but for other reasons.

22. Rays
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Alex Colome 65.0 9.9 2.6 1.0 .304 77.7 % 3.14 3.32 1.1
Xavier Cedeno 65.0 9.3 3.0 1.0 .305 75.8 % 3.40 3.56 0.7
Danny Farquhar 55.0 8.7 3.1 1.1 .303 74.3 % 3.76 3.92 0.3
Erasmo Ramirez 55.0 6.5 2.5 1.1 .297 73.1 % 3.92 4.27 0.1
Shawn Tolleson 45.0 8.8 2.7 1.1 .306 73.0 % 3.84 3.79 0.2
Brad Boxberger   40.0 10.4 4.3 1.2 .302 76.4 % 3.80 4.04 0.2
Chase Whitley 35.0 7.9 2.6 1.1 .306 72.4 % 3.92 3.95 0.0
Jumbo Diaz 30.0 8.7 3.4 1.2 .297 74.8 % 3.85 4.13 0.0
Ryan Garton 25.0 7.8 3.7 1.1 .305 72.7 % 4.19 4.30 0.0
Kevin Gadea   20.0 8.3 4.0 1.0 .305 71.6 % 4.29 4.35 0.0
Jacob Faria 15.0 8.5 4.3 1.1 .303 71.8 % 4.35 4.40 0.0
Matt Andriese 10.0 7.7 2.1 1.1 .306 72.1 % 3.85 3.78 0.0
Ryne Stanek 10.0 7.7 4.4 1.2 .304 71.2 % 4.63 4.74 0.0
Jose Alvarado 10.0 8.0 8.4 1.1 .301 71.9 % 5.46 5.89 -0.1
The Others 27.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 507.0 8.6 3.3 1.1 .304 73.9 % 3.86 3.99 2.5

Alex Colome is both the best reliever on the Rays and also the team’s closer. While that might not seem like a notable development, it’s important to keep in mind that, while many high-leverage situations do occur earlier in games, traditional closers typically lead the league in leverage index because small leads in the ninth are still important. Colome put up a 1.91 ERA because of an absurd 93% left-on-base percentage, but his 2.92 FIP was also quite good and sets up a reasonable expectation for this season. His cutter is his best pitch, one that generated whiffs 25% of the time.

Brad Boxberger was the closer before he was injured last season and Colome took over. He will start the season on the disabled list, further diminishing the chances of reclaiming his role. Second on the depth chart for the Rays is Xavier Cedeno. The lefty faced 87 batters with the platoon advantage last season and gave up just two extra-base hits, both doubles. The 30-year-old can get righties out at a close to average rate but is best deployed as a no-doubt lefty-killer.

Erasmo Ramirez could find himself on another team in need of a starter, but he can be deployed out of the pen for the time being until a rotation spot opens in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. He pitched from the pen last year. He doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, but limits walks. His FIP was a below replacement-level 4.76 mark due to a high home-run rate. If he can limit homers, he should be serviceable. Shawn Tolleson, once the Rangers closer, struggled last season and those struggles seem likely to continue into this season. Jumbo, which is not just a clever name, Diaz, was claimed from the Reds, but has had struggles keeping the ball in the park. Danny Farquhar has had similar problems preventing home runs, but his changeup does provide more hope for a better season. Matt Andriese should be the Rays fifth starter, but if he is unseated at some point, he could provide a few innings a a long man.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 3
The unlikely Boxberger-to-closer possibility.

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Jeanmar Gomez 65.0 6.4 3.0 1.0 .312 71.1 % 4.32 4.27 0.2
Hector Neris 65.0 10.3 3.5 1.0 .306 75.5 % 3.57 3.68 0.8
Joaquin Benoit 55.0 9.6 3.8 1.0 .296 78.4 % 3.38 3.88 0.6
Pat Neshek 55.0 8.8 2.4 1.2 .298 75.5 % 3.67 3.84 0.5
Edubray Ramos 45.0 9.1 2.5 1.1 .306 73.6 % 3.70 3.66 0.3
Joely Rodriguez 40.0 7.4 3.5 1.1 .305 72.0 % 4.21 4.32 0.1
Pat Venditte 35.0 9.1 3.5 1.2 .309 73.3 % 4.11 4.12 0.1
Luis Garcia 30.0 8.6 4.6 0.8 .316 74.2 % 3.92 4.01 0.1
Alberto Tirado 25.0 9.6 8.3 1.3 .309 71.3 % 5.68 5.85 -0.1
Nick Pivetta 20.0 8.3 3.6 1.3 .306 71.9 % 4.40 4.45 0.0
Ben Lively 15.0 7.8 3.0 1.3 .306 70.6 % 4.48 4.43 0.0
Adam Morgan 10.0 7.2 2.5 1.5 .307 69.2 % 4.84 4.67 0.0
The Others 61.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 521.0 8.6 3.6 1.1 .308 73.1 % 4.14 4.19 2.4

Jeanmar Gomez has never struck a lot of guys out. He was at his best in 2015, when he walked just 5% of batters and gave up just four homers in 74.2 innings pitched. Last season, his walks ticked up just a bit, and his homers moved closer to an average rate. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when you strike out just 15% of opponents, it actually makes you an ineffective reliever. His 4.85 ERA was worse than his peripherals suggested, but a 3.96 FIP is less than ideal for a guy who’s supposed to be getting the final three outs in close games.

There are three bullpen options clearly superior to Gomez, and it appears those pitchers will have the opportunity to work in some manner of setup role. Hector Neris was fantastic last season, striking out 31% of batters primarily using a split-fingered fastball, leading the majors in that pitch’s usage, throwing it 50% of the time. The only other pitcher using it more than 35% of the time last season was Koji Uehara.

Joaquin Benoit will turn 40 in July and there’s been some erosion to his game with age despite similar velocity. At his peak, he walked 5% of batters, settling in around 7% or 8% during his good reliever seasons. Last year, though, he was up to 12% after hitting 9% in 2015. Those are the kinds of walk numbers that got Benoit turned from a starter to a reliever when he was with Texas. He still strikes out quite a few batters, but any further decline will likely mean the end of Benoit’s solid career.

After a career year with the Cardinals in 2014, Neshek had a disappointing 2015 season with the Astros due to too many homers. He followed that up with a solid, but not spectacular, season in 2016. Instead of keeping him, though, the Astros traded him and his $6.5 million option to the Phillies. Neshek’s delivery makes him a very good option against right-handed hitters, but the 36-year-old would be better served facing as few lefties as possible. The Phillies have a lot of interesting pitchers, including switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. Edubray Ramos is a 24-year-old with a nasty slider, and he has shown some promise in his brief MLB career. This bullpen has the stuff to be a lot better than their ranking here indicates, though they lack a star reliever, and there’s a pretty quick fall to replacement level after their top-five relievers.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
Would be higher if the closer weren’t bad.

24. Angels
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Cam Bedrosian 65.0 10.8 3.8 0.8 .308 76.5 % 3.21 3.33 1.0
Andrew Bailey 65.0 8.8 3.2 1.1 .300 73.4 % 3.91 3.94 0.6
Mike Morin 55.0 8.5 2.7 1.1 .301 73.3 % 3.75 3.80 0.5
Huston Street   55.0 7.6 3.2 1.2 .299 74.1 % 4.08 4.28 0.0
JC Ramirez 45.0 7.1 3.3 1.1 .304 72.0 % 4.21 4.33 0.0
Jose Alvarez 40.0 7.9 3.0 0.9 .307 73.5 % 3.77 3.90 0.1
Austin Adams 35.0 8.1 3.0 1.0 .307 70.9 % 4.02 3.86 0.0
Yusmeiro Petit 30.0 7.8 2.1 1.3 .299 73.3 % 4.03 4.09 0.1
Greg Mahle 25.0 6.9 3.4 1.0 .304 71.4 % 4.30 4.43 0.0
Kirby Yates 20.0 9.7 3.5 1.1 .303 75.7 % 3.61 3.91 0.0
Keynan Middleton 15.0 8.6 4.4 1.2 .304 72.5 % 4.50 4.62 0.0
Brooks Pounders 10.0 8.4 3.6 1.1 .302 73.1 % 4.07 4.18 0.0
Vicente Campos 10.0 6.5 3.0 1.2 .302 71.5 % 4.44 4.64 0.0
Nate Smith 10.0 7.1 2.9 1.2 .300 71.6 % 4.22 4.34 0.0
Blake Parker 10.0 9.6 3.3 1.1 .302 74.9 % 3.71 3.84 0.0
The Others 9.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 499.0 8.4 3.2 1.1 .303 73.4 % 3.91 4.00 2.3

Huston Street is in the second year of a two-year, $18 million contract with the Angels signed after an okay, but save-filled, 2015 season. He was atrocious last season and is currently sidelined by a lat strain, making him unlikely to start the season with the team. Speaking of proven closers who now might be bad, the Angels also employ Andrew Bailey. The former A’s closer hasn’t been good or healthy since 2011. He racked up a ton of saves last season, but he didn’t pitch particularly well. These projections actually seem a little generous for Bailey, giving him slightly better numbers than last year in terms of both walks and strikeouts, with a big dive from his home-run rate. He did pitch a little better down the stretch for the Angels last season after the Phillies dumped him, but we are talking about just 12 appearances. While his walk rate went down, so did his strikeout rate.

It would appear as though I’ve buried the lede when it comes to discussing the Angels bullpen, as the best pitcher is clearly Cam Bedrosian. If you’re wondering whether I did any research for this post, know that I have, as I deemed it important to determine whether Cam Bedrosian is related to Steve Bedrosian. (He is.) Bedrosian had struggles with walks nearly every time he moved up a level, and that was true for his MLB debut in 2014, when he walked more than 12% of hitters in both 2014 and 2015. Last year, he cut down his walks and saw his strikeout and ground-ball percentages increase. Only Zach Britton had a lower ERA than Bedrosian’s 1.12 among pitchers with at least 40 innings, and his 2.13 FIP was also excellent. Just one homer in 40.1 innings likely isn’t repeatable, but assuming there are no lingering issues with his finger that ended last season, he could emerge this season as one of the best relievers in baseball.

Mike Morin is a decent-enough pitcher and might be the second-best reliever on the Angels. Morin is not the player you want as your second-best reliever, especially if you hope to contend. Yusmeiro Petit, Austin Adams, JC Ramirez, and Jose Alvarez could all take some innings, as well, with Alvarez representing the best of that bunch.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
What to do with Cam Bedrosian?

25. Reds
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Raisel Iglesias   65.0 10.0 2.8 1.0 .304 76.7 % 3.24 3.45 1.2
Drew Storen 65.0 8.7 2.6 1.0 .306 73.0 % 3.68 3.79 0.7
Michael Lorenzen 55.0 8.4 3.0 1.1 .304 74.0 % 3.80 4.06 0.3
Tony Cingrani 55.0 9.4 4.9 1.1 .301 73.7 % 4.19 4.43 0.1
Blake Wood 45.0 10.1 4.2 0.9 .309 74.0 % 3.76 3.79 0.3
Barrett Astin 40.0 7.6 3.3 1.4 .302 69.7 % 4.74 4.72 -0.1
Wandy Peralta 35.0 7.4 4.2 1.1 .304 71.8 % 4.39 4.59 0.0
Tim Adleman 30.0 7.0 2.8 1.5 .300 71.0 % 4.64 4.77 -0.1
Rookie Davis 25.0 6.5 3.0 1.5 .305 69.7 % 4.91 4.93 0.0
Sal Romano 20.0 7.2 2.9 1.3 .306 70.0 % 4.66 4.58 0.0
Jackson Stephens 15.0 7.4 2.6 1.2 .306 71.1 % 4.25 4.23 0.0
Nefi Ogando 10.0 7.3 4.7 1.2 .295 71.3 % 4.61 4.88 0.0
Austin Brice 10.0 8.2 4.1 1.3 .306 71.2 % 4.67 4.77 0.0
Nick Travieso 10.0 6.9 3.8 1.3 .301 70.4 % 4.77 4.89 0.0
Keury Mella 10.0 6.9 3.9 1.3 .306 70.1 % 4.92 4.99 0.0
Ariel Hernandez 10.0 8.7 8.3 1.2 .304 71.6 % 5.57 5.96 -0.1
The Others 17.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 517.0 8.4 3.5 1.2 .305 72.5 % 4.16 4.28 2.2

Without actually looking it up, I will venture to guess that no team is forecast for a bigger improvement over last season than Cincinnati. Reds relievers had a 5.09 ERA and 5.34 FIP in 2016. They walked a batter every other inning and gave up 103 homers in just 583 innings — or, more than the entire rotations of the Mets or Dodgers did in five times the innings. They put up a negative 3.6 WAR last season, merely having a really bad bullpen this season would represent a roughly six-win improvement.

Raisel Iglesias is the unquestioned stud of the bullpen, though falling over in the bathroom likely hurt his pride, hips, and elbow, maybe in that order. Iglesias seemed to have potential as a starter, but stamina, platoon splits, inability to turn over a lineup multiple times — or some combination of those three — forced him into the bullpen last season. In 50 relief innings last year, Iglesias struck out 54 batters and put up a sub-2 ERA with a solid 3.21 FIP. He often pitched multiple innings in important situations. He’s easily the Reds’ best reliever, but he might not be the closer.

Drew Storen probably wasn’t as bad last season as you remember him, if you do indeed remember him from last season. He pitched for the Blue Jays and Mariners and was really bad with the former. For the Mariners, he appeared in 19 games and put up a 3.44 ERA and 2.76 FIP. He threw more offspeed pitches and filled up the strike zone more often, lowering his strikeouts and walks and getting better results overall. He might be the closer, but his velocity has been down this spring, which isn’t a great sign for a pitcher who struggled last year after half-a-dozen good ones.

As for the rest of the bullpen, Michael Lorenzen was a bad starter in 2015, but was solid in the bullpen last year. Blake Wood could be described as okay. Tony Cingrani showed some promise as essentially a one-pitch starter, but hasn’t been particularly effective in the bullpen. The Reds are going to better than last year. They have to be. They just still won’t be good.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
Raisel Iglesias, but only if Storen is closer.

26. Tigers
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Francisco Rodriguez 65.0 8.4 2.9 1.1 .304 76.7 % 3.59 3.88 0.6
Justin Wilson 65.0 9.4 3.3 1.0 .313 72.8 % 3.79 3.65 0.9
Alex Wilson 55.0 6.3 2.8 1.1 .304 73.3 % 4.08 4.35 0.2
Bruce Rondon 55.0 10.0 4.3 1.1 .310 73.0 % 4.03 4.01 0.3
Kyle Ryan 45.0 6.0 3.1 1.0 .307 72.4 % 4.13 4.34 0.0
Daniel Stumpf 40.0 7.3 3.4 1.1 .313 69.4 % 4.70 4.46 0.1
Mike Pelfrey 35.0 4.6 3.0 1.1 .317 68.9 % 5.04 4.95 -0.1
Blaine Hardy 30.0 7.4 3.4 1.0 .308 73.2 % 3.99 4.12 0.1
Shane Greene 25.0 7.7 3.0 1.0 .316 69.4 % 4.40 4.10 0.0
Buck Farmer 20.0 7.2 3.4 1.4 .311 69.7 % 4.99 4.89 0.0
Drew VerHagen 15.0 6.2 3.5 1.0 .311 70.8 % 4.44 4.53 0.0
Joe Mantiply 10.0 7.4 3.0 1.2 .312 71.0 % 4.44 4.36 0.0
Warwick Saupold 10.0 6.4 3.7 1.2 .315 69.6 % 4.93 4.81 0.0
Dustin Molleken 10.0 7.9 4.6 1.1 .314 71.2 % 4.75 4.69 0.0
The Others 13.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 493.0 7.6 3.3 1.1 .310 72.1 % 4.22 4.24 2.0

The curse of Dombrowski lives on in Detroit. The big bugaboo of the Dombrowski-helmed teams while he was in Detroit was his inability to put together a decent bullpen. Last season, the Tigers had a bullpen that ranked in the middle of the pack among MLB teams by peripheral stats. Due to some combination of poor defense and sequencing, however, their 4.22 ERA was higher than their 3.88 FIP. The team’s 72% left-on-base percentage was one of the worst figures in baseball.

Francisco Rodriguez was effective last year, but his strikeout and walk rates both moved in the wrong direction. His average fastball velocity is below 90 mph now, and it plays off his change instead of the other way around — and he throws that change over 40% of the time. He doesn’t pitch a lot in the zone, so he’ll need swings on the changeup to remain effective. Alex Wilson doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters, but his two-seam fastball gets a lot of outs. Projections are skeptical that his run of success can continue, as his HR/FB rates and BABIP are well below league average over his first 199 big-league innings.

It might be generous, but in Justin Wilson the Tigers might have a poor man’s Andrew Miller, if you believe you can be a poor man’s version of Andrew Miller by being a lefty who is good at striking out batters and limiting walks. He’s a lefty who’s struck out 27% of batters while walking just 7% over the last two years. Over the last two years, the only lefty relievers with more innings and a lower FIP than Wilson’s 2.93 are Zach Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Miller.

After K-Rod, Wilson and Wilson, it’s pretty slim pickings. Mark Lowe, who’s owed $6.5 million, didn’t make the team. Bruce Rondon is still around walking and striking out a bunch of players. Kyle Ryan put up good numbers last season, but a repeat seems unlikely. Shane Greene is better than his 5.82 ERA last season, but it isn’t really clear how much better.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 7
No comment.

27. Twins
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Brandon Kintzler 65.0 5.9 2.3 1.0 .317 72.5 % 4.00 4.10 0.3
Ryan Pressly 65.0 7.9 3.2 1.0 .316 73.7 % 3.93 3.96 0.6
Matt Belisle 55.0 6.5 2.6 0.9 .318 72.3 % 4.06 3.99 0.3
Taylor Rogers 55.0 7.7 2.8 0.9 .319 73.2 % 3.89 3.87 0.3
Michael Tonkin 45.0 9.0 2.8 1.1 .319 73.6 % 3.94 3.85 0.3
J.T. Chargois 40.0 8.4 4.0 0.9 .318 72.6 % 4.11 4.06 0.1
Craig Breslow 35.0 6.7 3.7 1.3 .319 71.5 % 4.86 4.85 0.0
Tyler Duffey 30.0 7.2 2.4 1.2 .319 69.6 % 4.50 4.19 0.0
Justin Haley 25.0 7.1 3.4 1.2 .317 70.1 % 4.70 4.55 0.0
Buddy Boshers 20.0 8.8 3.7 0.9 .316 72.3 % 3.96 3.81 0.0
Ryan O’Rourke   15.0 9.0 3.9 1.1 .309 73.6 % 4.16 4.20 0.0
Glen Perkins   10.0 8.9 2.3 1.1 .316 74.0 % 3.80 3.66 0.0
Alex Wimmers 10.0 7.4 4.0 1.2 .315 70.6 % 4.76 4.63 0.0
Mason Melotakis 10.0 7.6 4.3 1.3 .316 70.8 % 4.97 4.99 0.0
The Others 33.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 0.0
Total 513.0 7.5 3.1 1.1 .318 72.2 % 4.21 4.15 2.0

Glen Perkins pitched only two innings last season and things aren’t off to a good start this one, as he’s likely to be placed on the 60-day disabled list at some point. We’re projecting nine Twins relievers for at least 25 innings this season, and Michael Tonkin’s 3.85 FIP is the best such mark on the club. The only player projected for more than 0.3 WAR is Ryan Pressly’s, at 0.6 WAR. The 28-year-old right-hander put up a 3.70 ERA and 3.74 FIP after recording numbers in the high-2s in 27 innings the season before. He throws hard and should be a decent option in late innings this year.

Brandon Kintzler closed things for much of the 2016 season by using his sinker more than 80% of the time. That pitch doesn’t lead to a lot of strikeouts, but he generates a ton of ground balls and walked under 4% of the batters he faced last season. If he can keep his walks to that level, he’ll be effective again, but if the walks rise, he’ll be a below-average reliever.

Matt Belisle did the same no-strikeout, no-walk thing as Kintzler last year for the Nationals, and it led to a 1.76 ERA and 2.84 FIP. The walk rate was one-third below his career averages, and if the 36-year-old’s numbers look more like his career averages, he’ll be a little bit above replacement on the season. Taylor Rogers is a decent LOOGY. The aforementioned Tonkin struck out 25% of batters last season, but gave up a lot of homers. If he can get the homers down, he should be a serviceable middle reliever. J.T. Chargois struck out a lot of hitters in the minors but wasn’t able to translate to the big leagues in his call-up last year.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 3
Because they don’t have any good relievers.

28. Royals
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Kelvin Herrera 65.0 9.9 2.7 0.8 .306 77.0 % 3.00 3.17 1.3
Joakim Soria 65.0 8.8 3.3 1.0 .310 74.7 % 3.76 3.89 0.5
Matt Strahm 55.0 9.0 2.9 1.1 .311 74.6 % 3.76 3.90 0.3
Scott Alexander 55.0 6.7 3.4 1.0 .310 71.9 % 4.20 4.29 0.0
Chris Young   45.0 8.8 3.7 1.6 .305 73.0 % 4.69 4.77 -0.1
Miguel Almonte 40.0 7.6 4.5 1.2 .309 71.9 % 4.66 4.79 -0.1
Al Alburquerque 35.0 8.4 4.4 1.0 .308 74.4 % 4.03 4.23 0.0
Kyle Zimmer 30.0 8.4 3.7 1.0 .310 72.3 % 4.12 4.08 0.0
Mike Minor 25.0 7.9 3.2 1.2 .304 73.5 % 4.11 4.21 0.0
Brian Flynn   20.0 8.1 3.6 0.9 .306 74.2 % 3.80 3.98 0.0
Kevin McCarthy 15.0 6.4 3.5 1.1 .307 70.2 % 4.64 4.65 0.0
Andrew Edwards 10.0 7.6 4.6 1.1 .308 71.9 % 4.60 4.74 0.0
Jake Junis 10.0 6.7 2.4 1.3 .309 69.6 % 4.61 4.53 0.0
The Others 52.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 522.0 8.3 3.5 1.1 .310 73.1 % 4.11 4.18 2.0

Whoa. What happened here? Remember when the Royals revolutionized baseball with multiple shutdown relievers, shortening the game and making up for a mediocre rotation? It wasn’t that long ago: they’re just 18 months removed from a World Series title. Wade Davis, one of the very best relievers in baseball over the last three seasons, is now employed by the Cubs after having been traded for Jorge Soler. Kelvin Herrera is taking over the mantle as top reliever, but there isn’t much after him.

Herrera was one of just a dozen relievers in 2016 to put up at least 2.0 WAR. He took a big leap forward last year, increasing his strikeouts from 22% to 30% and decreasing his walks from 9% to 4%. He changed his pitch mix considerably, throwing mostly upper-90s fastballs with the occasional change prior to last season, but mixing in both a curve and slider last year to great effect.

The Royals signed Joakim Soria to a three-year, $25 million before last season, but things didn’t go as planned. Soria’s poor 4.05 ERA accompanied a worse 4.36 FIP, causing a replacement-level season. His strikeout rate was decent, but his walks went up and he gave up a bunch of homers, getting worse as the season went on. The homers probably should come down a bit, but that still won’t make him the pitcher whom the Royals thought they were getting before last season.

The only other reliever on the Royals worth a substantive discussion is Matt Strahm. The 25-year-old began last year as a Double-A starter and struck out 25% of hitters against just 5% walks. The Royals needed a reliever at the end of July and they called up Strahm, who proceeded to strike out 34% of batters. He also walked 12%, but didn’t give up a homer in 22 innings. He mostly throws a mid-90s four-seam fastball, also using a curve and change around 10% of the time. That repertoire might be usable as a starter, but he might find a home in the bullpen to fill the Royals’ needs there. After those three pitchers, the rest of the Royals bullpen is projected to be below replacement level.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 1
Herrera is king.

29. Braves
Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Arodys Vizcaino 65.0 10.4 4.2 0.9 .316 76.0 % 3.58 3.62 0.6
Jim Johnson 65.0 8.4 2.9 0.8 .319 71.9 % 3.71 3.54 0.7
Mauricio Cabrera   55.0 9.2 5.4 0.8 .310 74.2 % 3.97 4.14 0.1
Ian Krol 55.0 9.8 3.4 0.9 .318 75.1 % 3.57 3.60 0.4
Jose Ramirez 45.0 9.5 4.7 1.1 .311 73.9 % 4.18 4.35 -0.1
Paco Rodriguez 40.0 9.7 4.1 1.0 .307 75.7 % 3.65 3.97 0.1
Eric O’Flaherty 35.0 7.4 3.2 0.9 .320 67.5 % 4.67 4.09 0.0
Chaz Roe 30.0 9.9 3.7 0.8 .314 73.7 % 3.57 3.48 0.1
Josh Collmenter 25.0 6.3 2.8 1.3 .300 72.4 % 4.36 4.59 0.0
Kevin Chapman 20.0 9.4 4.3 1.0 .319 72.8 % 4.17 4.04 0.0
Daniel Winkler 15.0 9.6 3.1 0.9 .310 76.1 % 3.49 3.54 0.0
Lucas Sims 10.0 9.5 5.4 1.0 .311 73.1 % 4.31 4.43 0.0
The Others 42.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 502.0 9.1 3.9 1.0 .315 73.2 % 3.97 3.95 1.8

Arodys Vizcaino looked great in 33 innings back in 2015, but last season was a step back, as he missed time with injuries to his elbow, oblique, and shoulder. He made just five appearances after the All-Star break, and on the season, he ended up walking 14% of batters. While also struck out 27% of batters and his 3.66 FIP was certainly decent, he won’t able to walk hitters at that same rate and remain effective in the big leagues. For a team that ranks 29th on this depth chart, Vizcaino could be a bright spot.

From 2008 to 2013, Jim Johnson was a good reliever; then, in 2014, he was a not very good reliever. In 2015, he was pretty good again for a few months with the Braves, who traded him to the Dodgers, where he was bad again. He rejoined the Braves last season and was good again. The 33-year-old righty is still with the Braves, so presumably he will be good. Last year’s 1.4 WAR was Johnson’s career high. It was due, in part, to a very low-home run rate, which should regress upwards this year. The Braves closer should be serviceable nontheless.

Twenty-five year-old lefty Ian Krol had a successful 2016 campaign and should be decent once again. After that, Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez, Paco Rodriguez, and Eric O’Flaherty should all appear in Braves games in their new home out in the suburbs. Much like your friends who have kids and move out to the suburbs, you are likely to forget about them.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
If Arodys Vizcaino beats his projections.

Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP WAR
Fernando Rodney 65.0 9.4 4.2 1.0 .312 74.0 % 3.86 4.03 0.3
Jake Barrett   65.0 8.6 4.0 1.0 .310 73.4 % 4.07 4.18 0.3
Randall Delgado 55.0 8.5 3.8 1.1 .309 74.5 % 4.07 4.22 0.2
Andrew Chafin 55.0 8.5 3.6 0.8 .307 74.6 % 3.53 3.67 0.5
Archie Bradley 45.0 9.7 3.7 0.9 .318 73.6 % 3.80 3.70 0.3
Jorge de la Rosa 40.0 7.5 3.7 1.2 .313 72.1 % 4.46 4.53 0.0
Enrique Burgos 35.0 10.3 4.8 1.1 .314 73.7 % 4.14 4.09 0.0
Steve Hathaway   30.0 8.4 4.1 1.1 .313 73.0 % 4.22 4.34 0.0
Silvino Bracho   25.0 9.6 2.7 1.2 .310 73.8 % 3.87 3.84 0.0
Zack Godley 20.0 8.0 3.4 1.1 .314 72.7 % 4.23 4.26 0.0
Evan Marshall 15.0 7.4 3.6 1.0 .317 72.6 % 4.22 4.31 0.0
Matt Koch 10.0 5.8 2.1 1.3 .310 68.7 % 4.71 4.58 0.0
Jimmie Sherfy 10.0 10.0 4.5 1.1 .313 73.4 % 4.19 4.21 0.0
The Others 50.0 8.3 4.2 1.3 .324 69.1 % 5.10 4.74 -0.1
Total 520.0 8.7 3.9 1.1 .313 73.1 % 4.12 4.15 1.5

You’ve probably heard of Fernando Rodney. You might not remember what he’s been up to. In the last two seasons, he’s played for the Mariners, Cubs, Padres, and Marlins. He was solid from 2012 through 2014, he was bad with the Mariners in 2015, mediocre with the Cubs later that year, good for the Padres for a short time in 2016, and then bad for the Marlins for the remainder of the season. He’s 40 years old and the Diamondbacks gave him $2 million to be their closer. It might work out. It just isn’t likely to.

Jake Barrett was above replacement level last season despite a bunch of walks, but he won’t be ready to go at the start of the season. Randall Delgado has produced double-digit walk rates in each of the last three seasons as a reliever. Andrew Chafin had a nice 2015 but was injured in 2016, producing good peripheral numbers in a small sample. That’s what the best projection on the worst bullpen in baseball looks like.

There are a couple reasons for optimism, if you’re into that sort of thing. (Although, if you’re a Diamondbacks fan, it would be understandable if you aren’t.) There’s a decent chance that Archie Bradley’s stuff will play up in short stints, and if it does, he has a good shot at beating his projections. The same holds true for Jorge de la Rosa, who Dave Cameron called The Biggest Free Agent Bargain Still Out There. Arizona is likely not to be good, but I wouldn’t bet on them finishing last at the end of the season.

Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
If Archie Bradley or Jorge de la Rosa transition well.

We hoped you liked reading 2017 Positional Power Rankings: Bullpen (#16-30) by Craig Edwards!

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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EonADS
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EonADS

God, I love this series. Fantastic work, all of you who pitched in for these write-ups.