There has never been a better time to be a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. After Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman lorded over the late innings in October, teams paid big money for relievers of all types this offseason. Mark Melancon got the biggest deal ever for a reliever on Dec. 5, and within two weeks that record was obliterated by both Chapman and Jansen. Brett Cecil got $30 million and a full no-trade clause from the Cardinals. Brad Ziegler got $16 million from the Marlins. Mike Dunn got $19 million from the Rockies.
Relievers are being counted on more than ever, as teams increasingly focus on putting the best guys in the moments of highest leverage — and become willing to invest heavily in that skill.
In the second of our positional rankings, these are the game’s top 10 relievers, based on the input and opinions of MLB evaluators and players.