Closer: Jim Johnson, Orioles
2013 Stats: 1-2, 19.0 IP, 0.95 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 14 SV
The Orioles’ stud closer hasn’t missed a beat after a superstar season last year. He’s simply been ridiculous.
It must be a comfort for Buck Showalter to know that he almost never has to worry about the ninth inning going badly. Such is the benefit of having a closer like Johnson.
Casey Janssen, Jays
2013 Stats: 0-0, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.31 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.0 BB/9, 10 SV
While his strong second half last year turned some heads, Janssen is still a relatively new face in the baseball world. And if he didn’t catch your eye last year, he certainly has your undivided attention now.
Janssen has been the definition of dominant in the ninth inning. I see a perennial All-Star in the making.
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2013 Stats: 0-0, 16.1 IP, 1.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 15 SV
At a certain point, you have to wonder whether Mo is even human. Every single year, regardless of age, he continues to demolish major league hitters like it is no big deal.
In his final season, Rivera is looking as good as ever. I guess some athletes deserve to live in eternal greatness.
Tommy Hunter, Orioles
2013 Stats: 3-1, 19.0 IP, 1.40 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 1 SV
A former starter, Hunter decided to try his hand at relief work in 2013. So far, it has paid off. The right-hander has been unstoppable in the back of the bullpen. If not for Johnson, he’d probably be closing games.
Koji Uehara, Red Sox
2013 Stats: 0-0, 14.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 12.27 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0 SV
Uehara is the definition of consistency.
Throughout his relief career, he has been among the best set-up men in baseball. His sneaky fastball and deceptive splitter make for a deadly combination late in games.
Adam Warren, Yankees
2013 Stats: 1-0, 18.2 IP, 1.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1 SV
Warren is a relatively unknown pitcher who is enjoying a brilliant rookie season in New York. He was a starter in the minor leagues, but he’s handled the transition to the bullpen seamlessly. He should continue to be an integral part of the Yankees’ relief corps.
Joel Peralta, Rays
2013 Stats: 0-2, 16.1 IP, 2.20 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 0 SV
Peralta’s walk rate may be concerning, but he has been able to use his quality stuff to become one of the game’s more useful set-up men. While he may not be as reliable as others on this list, Peralta has been dominant in 2013.
Honorable Mentions: Darren Oliver (Jays), Darren O’Day (Orioles), Brett Cecil (Jays), David Robertson (Yankees)