Spotlighting the Best Middle Relievers in Baseball

In today’s baseball world, the media always centers its attention on the big home run hitters, the web gem defenders, and the best starters and closers in the game. Of course we should cover the big names in the game of baseball, but while we focus our attention to them we are completely missing a group of players whose success is absolutely vital for their teams to be successful.

We, as writers and reporters and fans of baseball, completely forget about middle relievers.

Middle relievers have to be the most under-rated group of players in the game of baseball. The best middle relievers have the ability to come in for a starter after his day is done, usually around the sixth or seventh inning, and hold the other team’s offense for one, two, or even three or four innings. Without successful middle relief pitchers, a winning team can fall apart because their opposition will always be able to get ahead of them if their starter runs out of energy in the middle innings. Middle relievers are a huge key to a winning baseball team, so it’s time they finally got some recognition for it. Here are some of the top middle relief pitchers in the game this season.

The top mid-reliever is someone who probably does get more attention than any other middle reliever, but that still does not say much. The number one reliever so far this season is Dellin Betances from the Yankees, of course. Betances has been outstanding for New York this season, and that’s no surprise. Dellin’s stats this season are impressive, as he has a 1.49 ERA, 98 strikeouts, and a 0.74 WHIP in 66.1 innings pitched so far. He does have one save, but that’s obviously not nearly enough to consider him a closer. He is without a doubt the top middle reliever in the game today.

The next guy also gets a bit of attention from the media as well. The next-best reliver is Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals. Davis’ 0.95 ERA is phenomenal, but it’s not the only stat of his that really stands out above other pitchers. Davis has 73 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.85, all in 47.1 innings pitched this season. Davis might not quite be at the performance level of Betances, but he has still been incredibly good this season.

The rest of the guys on the list are not getting nearly as much attention as the first two, but these guys are still very valuable to their team. The third-best relief pitcher so far this season has been Tony Watson from the Pirates. Watson’s ERA this season is a very impressive 1.52, and he has a great 1.05 WHIP as well. He also has 56 strikeouts this season, in a total of 53.1 innings pitched so far. Watson is definitely an under-rated pitcher, as he is putting up great numbers for Pittsburgh but is getting no recognition for it whatsoever from the rest of the baseball world.

The fourth-best relief pitcher so far this season is Arizona Diamondback Brad Ziegler. Ziegler has had a rough time on the mound lately, but yet still has a very solid statline this year. Ziegler has a 3.16 ERA, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. On top of that, Ziegler leads the National League in holds with 28 so far this season. Ziegler has not posted unbelievable numbers, but his value to the Dbacks is still high because he can often come in and hold off the opposition until it is time to bring in the closer to get the save.

Relief pitchers don’t get the fame and attention that other pitchers or position players get. However, their role on a baseball team is just as important as anyone else’s, and that is what makes relief pitchers so under-valued in baseball today.


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