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MLB Position-by-Position Player Power Rankings, Preseason Edition

Joel ReuterFeatured Columnist IVNovember 17, 2016

MLB Position-by-Position Player Power Rankings, Preseason Edition

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    Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Last season, I wrote a handful of articles breaking down my position-by-position power rankings. With spring training games underway and the regular season fast approaching, now is as good a time as any to put together my preseason rankings for 2014.

    What follows is a look at the 10 (or 15 in the case of outfielders) best players at each position based on how I expect them to perform in the year ahead.

    I've taken into account their all-around offensive abilities, their defensive contributions and then what they have meant to the success of their respective teams.

    To put it another way, think of it as though you were building a team to compete for just the 2014 season. This is the order in which I would select players at each position to build said team.

    Also included in my statistics is each player's Baseball-Reference WAR or rWAR. While WAR is a useful stat in gauging a player's value, it's not the be-all, end-all stat that some view it to be. As such, don't expect this to simply be a list of the top 10 in WAR at each position.

    Included on each slide is also "one to watch," a player who falls outside of the rankings now and has yet to truly break out but has a chance of finding his way onto the rankings before the season is over.

     

Catchers

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Yadier Molina136 G, .319/.359/.477, 44 2B, 12 HR, 80 RBI, 68 R5.7
    2. Buster Posey148 G, .294/.371/.450, 34 2B, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 61 R5.2
    3. Salvador Perez138 G, .292/.323/.433, 25 2B, 13 HR, 79 RBI, 48 R4.1
    4. Brian McCann102 G, .256/.336/.461, 13 2B, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 43 R2.2
    5. Jonathan Lucroy147 G, .280/.340/.455, 25 2B, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 59 R2.9
    6. Russell Martin127 G, .226/.327/.377, 21 2B, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 51 R4.3
    7. Jason Castro120 G, .276/.350/.485, 35 2B, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 63 R4.5
    8. Wilin Rosario121 G, .292/.315/.486, 22 2B, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 63 R2.3
    9. Matt Wieters148 G, .235/.287/.417, 29 2B, 22 HR, 79 RBI, 59 R0.4
    10. Wilson Ramos78 G, .272/.307/.470, 9 2B, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 29 R2.4

    One to Watch: Welington Castillo (Chicago Cubs)

     

    Position Overview

    Yadier Molina and Buster Posey are in a tier by themselves at the top, and while Posey may have more pop, Molina remains the best all-around catcher in the game and the clear choice for the top spot at this point.

    Salvador Perez and Jason Castro both enjoyed breakout seasons in 2013, though the ceiling is much higher for the 23-year-old Perez moving forward, and he could join that top tier before too long.

    Offensively, Brian McCann and Jonathan Lucroy are legitimate middle-of-the-order bats, while veterans Russell Martin and Matt Wieters deliver some pop and do a great job handling their respective staffs.

    Wilin Rosario is a below-average defender, but he has the best power at the position.

    Wilson Ramos put up fantastic numbers over just 78 games last season, and if he can stay healthy, he could be in for a big year.

1st Basemen

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Miguel Cabrera148 G, .348/.442/.636, 26 2B, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 103 R7.2
    2. Paul Goldschmidt 160 G, .302/.401/.551, 36 2B, 36 HR, 125 RBI, 103 R7.1
    3. Joey Votto 162 G, .305/.435/.491, 30 2B, 24 HR, 73 RBI, 101 R6.4
    4. Chris Davis160 G, .286/.370/.634, 42 2B, 53 HR, 138 RBI, 103 R6.3
    5. Freddie Freeman147 G, .319/.396/.501, 27 2B, 23 HR, 109 RBI, 89 R5.4
    6. Joe Mauer113 G, .324/.404/.476, 35 2B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 62 R5.4
    7. Edwin Encarnacion142 G, .272/.370/.534, 29 2B, 36 HR, 104 RBI, 90 R4.0
    8. Adrian Gonzalez157 G, .293/.342/.461, 32 2B, 22 HR, 100 RBI, 69 R4.0
    9. Prince Fielder162 G, .279/.362/.457, 36 2B, 25 HR, 106 RBI, 82 R1.7
    10. Albert Pujols99 G, .258/.330/.437, 19 2B, 17 HR, 64 RBI, 49 R1.5

    One to Watch: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

     

    Position Overview

    Until further notice, Miguel Cabrera remains the best hitter on the planet, and a return to first base should help keep him healthy in 2014. Not far behind, though, is Paul Goldschmidt, who took a huge step forward in his second full season and should be a perennial MVP candidate.

    Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman will be chasing Goldschmidt for the title of top first baseman in the NL. While neither has elite power, no one gets on base like Votto, and Freeman is still improving even after an MVP-caliber season.

    Chris Davis is undoubtedly due for some regression after his monster 2013 season, but he should still be one of the top power threats in all of baseball. Veterans Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols have fallen down the list, but a healthy season from Pujols and a move to hitter-friendly Texas for Fielder could help them climb back up.

    Edwin Encarnacion and Adrian Gonzalez have become two of the more reliable run-producers in the game, with Encarnacion possessing more power and Gonzalez the far better defender of the two. Joe Mauer is the newcomer here, as he moves out from behind the plate full time, and his offense could spike as a result.

    It's worth noting that it was awfully hard to leave Brandon Belt off this list. With another step forward in 2014, he could definitely bump someone out.

2nd Basemen

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Robinson Cano160 G, .314/.383/.516, 41 2B, 27 HR, 107 RBI, 81 R7.6
    2. Dustin Pedroia 160 G, .301/.372/.415, 42 2B, 9 HR, 84 RBI, 91 R6.5
    3. Jason Kipnis 149 G, .284/.366/.452, 36 2B, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 86 R5.9
    4. Ben Zobrist157 G, .275/.354/.402, 36 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 77 R5.1
    5. Ian Kinsler136 G, .277/.344/.413, 31 2B, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 85 R4.9
    6. Brandon Phillips151 G, .261/.310/.396, 24 2B, 18 HR, 103 RBI, 80 R1.6
    7. Jedd Gyorko 125 G, .249/.301/.444, 26 2B, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 62 R2.2
    8. Aaron Hill87 G, .291/.356/.462, 21 2B, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 45 R1.1
    9. Chase Utley131 G, .284/.348/.475, 25 2B, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 73 R3.5
    10. Daniel Murphy161 G, .286/.319/.415, 38 2B, 13 HR, 78 RBI, 92 R1.8

    One to Watch: Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals)

     

    Position Overview

    Robinson Cano has a new home in far less hitter-friendly Seattle, but he remains atop the second base list for the time being. He'll need similar numbers to last season to justify his 10-year, $240 million deal, though.

    Behind Cano, the AL is loaded at the position, as Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist and Ian Kinsler could all make a run at a spot on the AL All-Star team. Zobrist has spent the bulk of his time at second but remains supremely valuable because of his versatility, while Kinsler has a new home atop the Tigers lineup.

    The NL crop is not nearly as impressive, as Brandon Phillips still leads the way despite a poor season in 2013 that was masked by a career-high RBI output. Veteran Chase Utley has undoubtedly slipped, but he showed he still has something in the tank last season.

    Jedd Gyorko had a big rookie season from a power standpoint, and he should only get better in the years to come. A healthy season from Aaron Hill could make him the most productive second baseman in the NL, as his numbers were solid over 87 games last year. Daniel Murphy edges out the likes of Omar Infante, Marco Scutaro, Brian Dozier and Neil Walker for the final spot.

3rd Basemen

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. David Wright112 G, .307/.390/.514, 23 2B, 18 HR, 58 RBI, 63 R5.8
    2. Adrian Beltre161 G, .315/.371/.509, 32 2B, 30 HR, 92 RBI, 88 R5.5
    3. Evan Longoria 160 G, .269/.343/.498, 39 2B, 32 HR, 88 RBI, 91 R6.3
    4. Manny Machado156 G, .283/.314/.432, 51 2B, 14 HR, 71 RBI, 88 R6.5
    5. Matt Carpenter157 G, .318/.392/.481, 55 2B, 11 HR, 78 RBI, 126 R6.6
    6. Josh Donaldson158 G, .301/.384/.499, 37 2B, 24 HR, 93 RBI, 89 R8.0
    7. Pedro Alvarez152 G, .233/.296/.473, 22 2B, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 70 R3.3
    8. Kyle Seager 160 G, .260/.338/.426, 32 2B, 22 HR, 69 RBI, 79 R3.9
    9. Pablo Sandoval141 G, .278/.341/.417, 27 2B, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 52 R2.5
    10. Ryan Zimmerman147 G, .275/.344/.465, 26 2B, 26 HR, 79 RBI, 84 R3.8

    One to Watch: Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

     

    Position Overview

    It's a tossup at the top here, as you can make a case for David Wright, Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria each being the best third baseman in the game. Put those three in any order you like at the top, but for my money I'll take Wright by the slimmest of margins.

    Manny Machado needs to prove healthy, and Josh Donaldson needs to prove his breakout season was for real before they make a run at that upper tier. Matt Carpenter is also in the mix, as he moves from second to third, and even with some regression he should still be a dynamic table-setter in St. Louis.

    Pedro Alvarez enjoyed a breakout season and may have the best power at the position, while Kyle Seager remains one of the more underrated players out there. Ryan Zimmerman struggled throwing the ball across the diamond last season, but he still has the bat to be an elite option.

    Pablo Sandoval could be the wild card here, as he slimmed down in the offseason and is entering a contract year. He hit .315/.357/.552 with 23 home runs back in 2011, and a run at those type of numbers is not out of the question.

    To all of you Atlanta Braves fans out there who are questioning the exclusion of Chris Johnson, he's an above-average option at the position, but I just don't see any way he maintains a .394 BABIP and hits anywhere near .321 again.

Shortstops

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Hanley Ramirez86 G, .345/.402/.638, 25 2B, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 62 R5.4
    2. Troy Tulowitzki 126 G, .312/.391/.540, 27 2B, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 72 R5.3
    3. Andrelton Simmons157 G, .248/.296/.396, 27 2B, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 76 R6.8
    4. Ian Desmond158 G, .280/.331/.453, 38 2B, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 77 R3.7
    5. Jose Reyes93 G, .296/.353/.427, 20 2B, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 58 R2.5
    6. J.J. Hardy159 G, .263/.306/.433, 27 2B, 25 HR, 76 RBI, 66 R3.7
    7. Jean Segura 146 G, .294/.329/.423, 20 2B, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 74 R3.9
    8. Jhonny Peralta107 G, .303/.358/.457, 30 2B, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 50 R3.3
    9. Elvis Andrus156 G, .271/.328/.331, 17 2B, 4 HR, 67 RBI, 91 R4.3
    10. Jed Lowrie
    154 G, .290/.344/.446, 45 2B, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 80 R2.3

    One to Watch: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)

     

    Position Overview

    Heath is a big question at the top, but provided they can stay on the field, Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki are clearly at the top of the heap here. Ramirez may very well have walked away with NL MVP if he had played the whole season, and he opens the year in the top spot.

    The phenomenal glove of Andrelton Simmons makes anything he does with the bat gravy, and he actually wound up putting up far better power numbers than anyone expected. Ian Desmond is a notch below the top two guys offensively, but he's close. With his mix of power, speed and defense, he remains largely underrated.

    Jose Reyes is still an impact table-setter when healthy, while J.J. Hardy came away with the AL Silver Slugger and Gold Glove last season. Jed Lowrie had a nice first season in Oakland, and Elvis Andrus will have the benefit of no longer seeing his name pop up in trade rumors after the team opted to deal Ian Kinsler this offseason.

    The two biggest question marks are Jean Segura and Jhonny Peralta. Segura was phenomenal in the first half but hit just .241/.268/.315 after the All-Star break, and Peralta is returning from a 50-game PED suspension and has joined a new team in the Cardinals.

    Derek Jeter does not crack my top 10 after playing all of 17 games last season, but a big final year would also not surprise me in the least. Yunel Escobar and Alcides Escobar are both terrific defenders but need to do a little more at the plate to earn a spot here.

Outfielders

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Mike Trout157 G, .323/.432/.557, 39 2B, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 109 R9.2
    2. Andrew McCutchen 157 G, .317/.404/.508, 38 2B, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 97 R8.2
    3. Carlos Gonzalez110 G, .302/.367/.591, 23 2B, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 72 R4.9
    4. Carlos Gomez147 G, .284/.338/.506, 27 2B, 24 HR, 73 RBI, 80 R8.4
    5. Jose Bautista 118 G, .259/.358/.498, 24 2B, 28 HR, 73 RBI, 82 R4.1
    6. Shin-Soo Choo 154 G, .285/.423/.462, 34 2B, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 107 R4.2
    7. Adam Jones160 G, .285/.318/.493, 35 2B, 33 HR, 108 RBI, 100 R4.4
    8. Ryan Braun61 G, .298/.372/.498, 14 2B, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 30 R2.0
    9. Bryce Harper118 G, .274/.368/.486, 24 2B, 20 HR, 58 RBI, 71 R3.8
    10. Jay Bruce160 G, .262/.329/.478, 43 2B, 30 HR, 109 RBI, 89 R5.1
    11. Matt Holliday141 G, .300/.389/.490, 31 2B, 22 HR, 94 RBI, 103 R2.7
    12. Starling Marte135 G, .280/.343/.441, 26 2B, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 83 R5.4
    13. Giancarlo Stanton116 G, .249/.365/.480, 26 2B, 24 HR, 62 RBI, 62 R2.4
    14. Hunter Pence162 G, .283/.339/.483, 35 2B, 27 HR, 99 RBI, 91 R4.1
    15. Yasiel Puig104 G, .319/.391/.534, 21 2B, 19 HR, 42 RBI, 66 R 5.0

    One to Watch: Khris Davis (Milwaukee Brewers)

     

    Position Overview

    After an amazing first two seasons in the majors, Mike Trout enters 2014 as not only the top outfielder in the game but the best all-around player in baseball.

    Reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen slots right behind him, as he had a huge second half in helping the Pirates reach the playoffs and is a legitimate five-tool player.

    Health has held back the likes of Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Giancarlo Stanton, but they are all capable of being among the most productive outfielders in the game. Ryan Braun is returning from a PED suspension and has as much to prove as anyone in the game.

    On-base machine Shin-Soo Choo has a new home in Texas, and he could be in for a big year, while Carlos Gomez enjoyed a breakout year in 2013 and will be looking to continue his climb to stardom.

    Adam Jones, Matt Holliday, Jay Bruce and Hunter Pence have all proven themselves as consistent producers, while young guys like Bryce Harper, Starling Marte and Yasiel Puig still have plenty of room to improve in the years to come.

Right-Handed Starting Pitchers

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Felix Hernandez31 GS, 12-10, 3.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 216 K, 204.1 IP 5.2
    2. Yu Darvish 32 GS, 13-9, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 277 K, 209.2 IP 5.8
    3. Adam Wainwright34 GS, 19-9, 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 219 K, 241.2 IP 6.2
    4. Max Scherzer32 GS, 21-3, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 240 K, 214.1 IP 6.7
    5. Jose Fernandez28 GS, 12-6, 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 187 K, 172.2 IP 6.3
    6. Justin Verlander34 GS, 13-12, 3.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 217 K, 218.1 IP 4.6
    7. Stephen Strasburg 30 GS, 8-9, 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 191 K, 183 IP 3.1
    8. Anibal Sanchez29 GS, 14-8, 2.57 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 202 K, 182 IP 6.3
    9. Zack Greinke28 GS, 15-4, 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 148 K, 177.2 IP 3.9
    10. James Shields34 GS, 13-9, 3.15 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 196 K, 228.2 IP 4.1

    One to Watch: Sonny Gray (Oakland Athletics)

     

    Position Overview

    There are only a handful of bona fide staff aces in the MLB today, and the trio of Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and Adam Wainwright all fall into that category as the clear leaders of their staff. A bounce-back season from Justin Verlander would put him in that category as well, and he looked strong down the stretch.

    Even if Verlander does not fully return to form, the Tigers have two other dynamic right-handers in their rotation in AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and ERA title winner Anibal Sanchez.

    There may be some regression ahead for Jose Fernandez, but it's hard to ignore just how good the 21-year-old was last year. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg has yet to have a true breakout season, but he has all the talent in the world.

    Zack Greinke and James Shields edged out a handful of players for the final two spots on the list. Veterans Hisashi Iwakuma, Mat Latos, Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Masterson and Johnny Cueto all received serious consideration, as did youngsters Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Gerrit Cole and Julio Teheran.

Left-Handed Starting Pitchers

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Clayton Kershaw 33 GS, 16-9, 1.83 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 232 K, 236 IP 7.8
    2. Chris Sale30 GS, 11-14, 3.07 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 226 K, 214.1 IP 6.9
    3. Cliff Lee31 GS, 14-8, 2.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 222 K, 222.2 IP 7.3
    4. David Price27 GS, 10-8, 3.33 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 151 K, 186.2 IP 2.8
    5. Madison Bumgarner 31 GS, 13-9, 2.77 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 199 K, 201.1 IP 3.8
    6. Cole Hamels33 GS, 8-14, 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 202 K, 220 IP 4.6
    7. Jon Lester33 GS, 15-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 177 K, 213.1 IP 3.0
    8. Francisco Liriano26 GS, 16-8, 3.02 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 163 K, 161 IP 3.0
    9. Matt Moore27 GS, 17-4, 3.29 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 143 K, 150.1 IP 2.6
    10. Gio Gonzalez32 GS, 11-8, 3.36 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 192 K, 195.2 IP 3.0

    One to Watch: Martin Perez (Texas Rangers)

     

    Position Overview

    Few would argue that Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game today, and after winning his third straight ERA title and second NL Cy Young in three years, he cashed in with a seven-year, $215 million deal.

    Chris Sale proved his big first season in the rotation in 2012 was no fluke last year, and he is one of the best young arms in the game.

    The duo of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in Philadelphia is among the best in the game, while Madison Bumgarner was the lone bright spot in the Giants rotation last year. David Price and Jon Lester are both legitimate staff aces, and Francisco Liriano filled that role for the playoff-bound Pirates last year as well.

    Matt Moore finally started to live up to the hype last year, and he checks in at the No. 9 spot with room to climb the list. Gio Gonzalez takes the final spot over C.J. Wilson, Mike Minor, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Travis Wood and Mark Buehrle.

Right-Handed Relief Pitchers

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Craig Kimbrel 68 G, 4-3, 50 SV, 1.21 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 13.2 K/93.3
    2. Greg Holland68 G, 2-1, 47 SV, 1.21 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 13.8 K/93.1
    3. Kenley Jansen75 G, 4-3, 28 SV, 1.88 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 13.0 K/92.6
    4. Koji Uehara73 G, 4-1, 21 SV, 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 12.2 K/93.6
    5. Joe Nathan67 G, 6-2, 43 SV, 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 10.2 K/93.2
    6. Trevor Rosenthal 74 G, 2-4, 3 SV, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 12.9 K/91.4
    7. David Robertson70 G, 5-1, 3 SV, 2.04 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.4 K/92.4
    8. Jason Grilli54 G, 0-2, 33 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 13.3 K/90.8
    9. Sergio Romo65 G, 5-8, 38 SV, 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.7 K/90.7
    10. Grant Balfour65 G, 1-3, 38 SV, 2.59 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 10.3 K/91.4

    One to Watch: Tommy Hunter (Baltimore Orioles)

     

    Position Overview

    The most dominant reliever in the game today, Craig Kimbrel has gone 139-of-154 on save chances with a 1.39 ERA and 15.1 K/9 in his young career.

    Greg Holland actually had better numbers than Kimbrel last season, but he'll need another big year before he gets consideration for the top spot. That said, the most dominant reliever in the game last year was Koji Uehara, who stepped up big for the Red Sox when a number of others faltered.

    Kenley Jansen uses the best cut-fastball since Mariano Rivera to dominate in the ninth for the Dodgers, while veteran Joe Nathan is now the active saves leader with Rivera retired. He's set to close things out for a new team in Detroit.

    Trevor Rosenthal and David Robertson are both entering their first full season in the ninth inning, but they have the stuff to thrive in that role. Veterans Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo and Grant Balfour beat out guys like Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Casey Janssen, Addison Reed, Rafael Soriano and Huston Street for the final three spots.

Left-Handed Relief Pitchers

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
    Name2013 StatsWAR
    1. Aroldis Chapman68 G, 4-5, 38 SV, 2.54 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 15.8 K/92.0
    2. Glen Perkins61 G, 2-0, 36 SV, 2.30 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11.1 K/92.1
    3. Rex Brothers72 G, 2-1, 19 SV, 1.74 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 10.2 K/93.1
    4. Javier Lopez69 G, 4-2, 1 SV, 1.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.5 K/90.9
    5. Craig Breslow61 G, 5-2, 0 SV, 1.81 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 5.0 K/91.6
    6. Kevin Siegrist 45 G, 3-1, 0 SV, 0.45 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 11.3 K/91.9
    7. Luis Avilan 75 G, 5-0, 0 SV, 1.52 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 5.3 K/92.4
    8. Tony Watson67 G, 3-1, 2 SV, 2.39 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 6.8 K/91.4
    9. Sean Doolittle70 G, 5-5, 2 SV, 3.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 7.8 K/91.2
    10. Jake McGee71 G, 5-3, 1 SV, 4.02 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.8 K/90.2

    One to Watch: Donnie Joseph, Kansas City Royals

     

    Position Overview

    There are only two left-handed pitchers projected to open the season in the closer's role, but they are an awfully good duo. Flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman continues to put up video game-type strikeout numbers, while Glen Perkins was fantastic in his first full season in the ninth last year.

    Rex Brothers saw some time as the Rockies closer last season after Rafael Betancourt went down, but the team signed LaTroy Hawkins to close games in 2014, and Brothers will return to a setup role.

    Veterans Javier Lopez and Craig Breslow continued to throw well last season, and Lopez cashed in with a three-year, $13 million deal in free agency.

    Sean Doolittle and Jake McGee were solid as setup men once again last season, while a trio of youngsters in Kevin Siegrist, Luis Avilan and Tony Watson enjoyed breakout seasons and will be looking to do it again in 2014.

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