MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Ranking the 40 best relief pitchers

Ranking the 40 best relief pitchers

It is never easy to rank pitchers or players. What one scout or evaluator sees as a priority or skill, another individual may evaluate differently and provide a different opinion. That's what makes scouting and watching baseball players so fascinating.

In my reliever rankings, I am looking primarily at late-inning setup men and closers, as the pressure usually intensifies as the game progresses to its finish.

The pitcher's team, division of play, home-field factors, historical success and injury history, among other factors, go into determining the rankings. As is usually the case, each reader may have a different opinion. Following are my top 40 relievers for 2015, along with their stats from 2014.

40. Joakim Soria, Tigers: 3.25 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 18 saves

39. Brett Cecil, Blue Jays: 2.70 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, five saves

38. Addison Reed, D-backs: 4.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 32 saves

Outlook: Reed, RP, ARI

37. Chad Qualls, Astros: 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 19 saves

36. Kevin Jepsen, Rays: 2.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, two saves

35. Luke Gregerson, Astros: 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, three saves

34. Joe Nathan, Tigers: 4.81 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 35 saves

33. Tyler Clippard, A's: 2.18 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, one save

32. Ken Giles, Phillies: 1.18 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, one save

31. Tony Watson, Pirates: 1.63 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, two saves

30. Bryan Shaw, Indians: 2.59 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, two saves

29. LaTroy Hawkins, Rockies: 3.31 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 23 saves

Hawkins on final season

28. Joe Smith, Angels: 1.81 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 15 saves

27. Andrew Miller, Yankees: 1.35 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, one save

26. Jonathan Broxton, Brewers: 2.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, seven saves

25. Wade Davis, Royals: 1.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, three saves

24. Jenrry Mejia, Mets: 3.65 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 28 saves

23. Rafael Soriano, free agent: 3.19 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 32 saves

22. Santiago Casilla, Giants: 1.70 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 19 saves

21. Hector Rondon, Cubs: 2.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 29 saves

20. Neftali Feliz, Rangers: 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 13 saves

19. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals: 3.20 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 45 saves

Outlook: Rosenthal, RP, STL

18. Glen Perkins, Twins: 3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 34 saves

17. Francisco Rodriguez, free agent: 3.04 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 44 saves

16. Joaquin Benoit, Padres: 1.49 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 11 saves

15. Drew Storen, Nationals: 1.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 11 saves

14. Koji Uehara, Red Sox: 2.52 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 26 saves

13. Cody Allen, Indians: 2.07 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 24 saves

12. Huston Street, Angels: 1.37 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 41 saves

11. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: 2.04 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 39 saves

10. Mark Melancon, Pirates: 1.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 33 saves

9. Steve Cishek, Marlins: 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 39 saves

8. Zach Britton, Orioles: 1.65 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 37 saves

7. David Robertson, White Sox: 3.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 39 saves

Outlook: Robertson, RP, CWS

6. Fernando Rodney, Mariners: 2.85 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 48 saves

5. Dellin Betances, Yankees: 1.40 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, one save

4. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers: 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 44 saves

3. Greg Holland , Royals: 1.44 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 46 saves

2. Aroldis Chapman, Reds: 2.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 36 saves

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves: 1.61 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 47 saves

On my bubble: Aaron Loup, Tanner Scheppers, Junichi Tazawa, Aaron Sanchez, Brad Boxberger, Kevin Quackenbush,

Injury concerns: If healthy, they would rank much higher -- Sean Doolittle, Jake McGee

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.