Photo by Nick Fisher

 

Earlier this week I released the 2011 Pitcher Capsules in a collaborative effort with Paul Sporer. Unlike hitters where I broke down everything you need to know in my 2011 Hitter Capsules, I didn't have any input in terms of pitchers in the above linked guide. Therefore, I thought I would share with you my personal rankings for starting pitchers and relievers.

Top-100 Starting Pitchers

In this entry I'll breakdown my top-50 relievers for 2011.

Pitchers in bold are hurlers I would target as values in drafts. I'll also give some general thoughts at the end of the rankings.

TOP-50 RELIEVERS

1 Brian Wilson

2 Joakim Soria

3 Heath Bell

4 Carlos Marmol

5 Jonathan Papelbon

6 Jonathan Axford

7 Neftali Feliz

8 Mariano Rivera

9 Andrew Bailey

10 Joel Hanrahan

11 Chris Perez

12 Jose Valverde

13 Matt Thornton

14 Jonathan Broxton

15 Huston Street

16 Brad Lidge

17 J.J. Putz

18 Francisco Rodriguez

19 Leo Nunez

20 Ryan Franklin

21 Drew Storen

22 Francisco Cordero

23 Craig Kimbrel

24 Joe Nathan

25 Frank Francisco

26 Jake McGee

27 Kevin Gregg

28 Fernando Rodney

29 Brandon League

30 Brandon Lyon

31 Hong-Chih Kuo

32 Ryan Madson

33 Luke Gregerson

34 Aroldis Chapman

35 Matt Capps

36 Jonny Venters

37 Rafael Soriano

38 Evan Meek

39 Kenley Jansen

40 David Aardsma

41 Daniel Bard

42 Mike Adams

43 Chris Sale

44 Scott Downs

45 Koji Uehara

46 Joba Chamberlain

47 Brian Fuentes

48 Kyle Farnsworth

49 Alexi Ogando

50 Tyler Clippard

 

* I'd feel really comfortable with any of the top-15 closers on this list, then things start to get a bit spotty.

* Brad Lidge (16) has the full trust of his manager Charlie Manuel, so as long as he is healthy, even if his ratios are sub par, you have to think 30 saves are a given.

* J.J. Putz (17) has the skills to be an elite reliever – if he's healthy.

* K-Rod (18) is a disaster off the field. On it, there are concerns about whether or not the Mets will limit his work late in the year since he has a clause in his contract that will give him $17.5 million in 2012 if he finishes 55 games this season.

* Leo Nunez (19) has all kinds of questions surrounding him after a late season collapse last year. Still, the guy got more than a K per inning last season and had a GB/FB ratio of 1.79. If he repeats those numbers, success will follow.

* Francisco Cordero (22) has Aroldis Chapman (34) to worry about, but I would be more concerned about the fact that his K/9 rate has fallen off a cliff. Look at his marks the past four years: 12.22, 9.98, 7.83 and 7.31.

* Young arms with strong skill sets can be found in the 20's highlighted by Craig Kimbrel (23) and Jake McGee (26). Can Kimbrel throw enough strikes to hold off Jonny Venters (36) in Atlanta? Will McGee open the year as the Rays' closer? I don't know as the club might go with Kyle Farnsworth (48), but I expect McGee to have the better year.

* Good luck finding betters arms than hurlers 31-34: Hong-Chih Kuo, Ryan Madson, Luke Gregerson and Aroldis Chapman.

* Don't forget about Mike Adams (42) in San Diego. I'm not certain that if something happened to Heath Bell that it wouldn't be he, and not Gregerson, who would pitch the 9th inning.

* If the Rangers do the unexpected and ask Neftali Feliz (7) to fill a starting role, Alexi Ogando (49) could get a long look as the 9th inning arm since the club sent Frank Francisco (25) to the Blue Jays this offseason.

CATEGORY TARGETS

I'm a man of my word. On The Drive yesterday on SirusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (5-8 PM EST, Sirius211, XM147), we received a call from Jeff in North Carolina. He asked me what "targets" he should look to attain when building a team in a 12-team league (i.e. how many homers he would need to hit to win a 12-team league). As I said on the air I would get him an answer, and here it is in the form of a link to an article written by fantasy baseball expert Shawn Childs. Enjoy.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

#mlb ARTICLE - Best plays for Saturday and Sunday courtesy of The Oracle & @FantasyAlarm - http://t.co/FPoZ2t6fLh

RT @MiLB: Jose Chavez reaches on IF single w/one out in the 9th to end the no-hit bid of @kage49 of @LansingLugnuts. http://t.co/MExEREjMa5

RT @AdamRubinESPN: David Wright breaks up no-hit bid with two-out single in eighth vs. Luis Avilan. #Braves 5, #Mets 0, bot 8

RT @scottmerkin: Quintana, Chris Sale and John Danks have combined to go 5-0 with a 2.62 ERA in nine starts this season