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2021 MLB Rankings: Relievers 30-16

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30 days of 2021 MLB rankings! In this series, we will be ranking every projected starting player for the 2021 season at each in position, each in three parts. On day 20 of this series, we will be ranking every designated hitter in MLB. 

Check out the previous rankings from this 2021 MLB Rankings series:

Catchers 30-21 | Catchers 20-11 | Catchers 10-1| First Base 30-21| First Base 20-11 | First Base 10-1| Second Base 30-21| Second Base 20-11| Second Base 10-1| Shortstop 30-21| Shortstop 20-11| Shortstop 10-1| Third Base 30-21| Third Base 20-11| Third Base 10-1| Left Field 30-21| Left Field 20-11| Left Field 10-1| Center Field 30-21| Center Field 20-11| Center Field 10-1| Right Field 30-21| Right Field 20-11| Right Field 10-1| Designated Hitter 15-1

2021 MLB Rankings: 30-26

30. Joely Rodriguez, Texas Rangers 2020: NR

2020: 12 games, 12.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 17 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

Joely Rodriguez was great in a smaller sample size last year, and with Rafael Montero gone, he is the Rangers’ best reliever. However, with only 12.2 innings pitched over the past three seasons, it’s tough to rank him any higher until we see a larger sample size.  With a larger sample size, Rodriguez may move up the 2021 MLB rankings.

29. Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers 2020: NR

2020: 27 games, 23.0 IP, 4.30 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 29 Strikeouts, 2 Saves

As a member of arguably the worst bullpen in all of baseball, Gregory Soto is the best of the bunch as Detroit’s projected closer in 2021. While Soto doesn’t blow guys away, he does a good job of keeping the ball in the park, only allowing two home runs last season. 

28. Rafael Montero, Seattle Mariners 2020: NR

2020: 17 games, 17.2 IP, 4.08 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 19 Strikeouts, 8 Saves

A failed starter with the Mets to start his career, Rafael Montero has found a role for himself and will be the Mariners’ closer in 2020. Montero’s best pitch is his changeup, as he can yield a ton of ground balls.  

27. Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox 2020: NR

2020: 24 games, 23.0 IP, 4.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 31 Strikeouts, 9 Saves

After the Red Sox traded away Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes became their best reliever by default. While Barnes hits the high 90s with his fastball, he struggles at keeping the ball in the yard, thus his low ranking.  

26. Mychal Givens, Colorado Rockies 2020: 30

2020: 22 games, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 25 Strikeouts, 1 Save

After a great start to the season with the Baltimore Orioles, Mychal Givens got traded to Colorado, where he struggled in 2020. Pitching in Colorado is extremely difficult, but Givens will have to do his best as the Rockies’ closer in 2021. 

2021 MLB Rankings: 25-21

25. Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs 2020: 17 

2020: 18 games, 15.1 IP, 5.28 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 28 Strikeouts, 2 Saves

Maybe this low ranking is an overreaction, but it has now been two awful seasons in two years with the Cubs for Craig Kimbrel. While he still racks up strikeouts, Kimbrel has gotten destroyed by allowing home runs. 

24. Anthony Bass, Miami Marlins 2020: NR

2020: 26 games, 25.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 21 Strikeouts, 7 Saves

After a great season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020, Anthony Bass will be the closer for the Miami Marlins in 2021. With Brandon Kintzler gone, Bass will have to carry the load, where he does a great job yielding ground balls. 

23. Tanner Scott, Baltimore Orioles 2020: NR

2020: 25 games, 20.2 IP, 1.31 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 23 Strikeouts, 1 Save

A back-end of the bullpen guy for the first three seasons of his career, Tanner Scott had his best season to date with Baltimore in 2020. A left-handed specialist, Scott may see time as the Orioles’ closer in 2021. 

22. Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays 2020: NR

2020: 15 games, 14.2 IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 21 Strikeouts, 2 Saves

After an awful rookie year in 2019, Jordan Romano flipped the script and was excellent in 14.2 innings of work in 2020. It will be interesting to see if Romano can replicate that success in a full season in 2021. 

21. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals 2020: NR

2020: 28 games, 28.1 IP, 1.91 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 31 Strikeouts, 6 Saves

Someone who was largely forgotten by fans around the league, Greg Holland had a resurgence of his career in 2020. With his effective fastball-slider combination, Holland once again projects to be the Royals’ closer in 2021. 

20. Joakim Soria, Arizona Diamondbacks 2020: NR

2020: 22 games, 22.1 IP, 2.82 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 24 Strikeouts, 2 Saves

Now a 14-year veteran, Joakim Soria is still going strong and projects to be the Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer for this upcoming season. As Soria has gotten older, he’s begun to use his slider more effectively, helping to keep the ball in the yard. 

19. Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds 2020: NR

2020: 21 games, 18.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 26 Strikeouts, 1 Save

With Raisel Iglesias gone and Michael Lorenzen injured, Amir Garrett is projected to be the Reds’ closer in 2021. Once a left-handed specialist, Garrett has become a great reliever with an overpowering fastball.  

18. Jake McGee, San Francisco Giants 2020: NR

2020: 24 games, 20.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 33 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

Jake McGee had a career resurgence in 2020 with the Dodgers and is projected to be the San Francisco Giants’ closer in 2021. A left-handed pitcher, McGee has struggled with allowing home runs in the past but was much improved in 2020.  

17. Mark Melancon, San Diego Padres 2020: NR

2020: 23 games, 22.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 14 Strikeouts, 11 Saves

A pitcher who has consistently flown under the radar throughout his career, Mark Melancon had a great year with Atlanta in 2020. With Kirby Yates now in Toronto, Melancon, who does a great job keeping the ball in the yard, will be the Padres’ closer in 2021. 

16. Richard Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates 2020: NR

2020: 24 games, 23.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 34 Strikeouts, 4 Saves

The lone bright spot in an otherwise awful bullpen, Richard Rodriguez has been great over the past two seasons with Pittsburgh. Rodriguez is a flamethrower, and if he can limit home runs, he will be one of the best relievers in baseball. 


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