MLB Fantasy Baseball Big Board 2020: Top 150 Players and Positional Tiers

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    The 2020 MLB season will be like nothing we’ve seen before, and as we approach Opening Day 2.0, fantasy baseball fans are once again gearing up for the start of another campaign. With that, it’s time for an updated version of our fantasy rankings.

    Before we dive in, a bit of clarification is needed.

    First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard five-by-five rotisserie scoring for hitters (BA, R, HR, RBI, SB) and pitchers (W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV).

    Second, lineup construction assumes 22 active roster positions, consisting of one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infield, middle infield and utility, along with five outfielders and nine pitchers.

    Finally, to be eligible at a particular position, players must have accrued at least 20 games there in 2019 or be projected to play there regularly in 2020.

    With that established, it’s on to the Big Board, followed by our positional tier rankings.

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    Mike Trout

    Mike TroutSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Before we dive into our positional rankings, HERE are the top 150 overall fantasy baseball players for the 2020 season:

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, ATL

    2. Mike Trout, OF, LAA

    3. Christian Yelich, OF, MIL

    4. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, LAD

    5. Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE

    6. Mookie Betts, OF, LAD

    7. Trevor Story, SS, COL

    8. Trea Turner, SS, WAS

    9. Gerrit Cole, SP, NYY

    10. Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM

    11. Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL

    12. Juan Soto, OF, WAS

    13. Alex Bregman, 3B, HOU

    14. Anthony Rendon, 3B, LAA

    15. Max Scherzer, SP, WAS

    16. Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS

    17. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL

    18. Jose Ramirez, 3B, CLE

    19. Justin Verlander, SP, HOU

    20. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SD

    21. Walker Buehler, SP, LAD

    22. Shane Bieber, SP, CLE

    23. J.D. Martinez, OF, BOS

    24. Jack Flaherty, SP, STL

    25. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS

    26. Gleyber Torres, SS, NYY

    27. Bryce Harper, OF, PHI

    28. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM

    29. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS

    30. Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD

    31. Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL

    32. Starling Marte, OF, ARI

    33. Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL

    34. Austin Meadows, OF, TB

    35. George Springer, OF, HOU

    36. Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU

    37. Luis Castillo, SP, CIN

    38. Patrick Corbin, SP, WAS

    39. Ketel Marte, 2B/OF, ARI

    40. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, CHC

    41. Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU

    42. Javier Baez, SS, CHC

    43. Manny Machado, SS/3B, SD

    44. Nelson Cruz, DH, MIN

    45. Aaron Judge, OF, NYY

    46. Mike Clevinger, SP, CLE

    47. Lucas Giolito, SP, CWS

    48. Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, KC

    49. Blake Snell, SP, TB

    50. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC

    51. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL

    52. Chris Paddack, SP, SD

    53. Aaron Nola, SP, PHI

    54. Jonathan Villar, 2B/SS, MIA

    55. Adalberto Mondesi, SS, KC

    56. Zack Greinke, SP, HOU

    57. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, STL

    58. Josh Donaldson, 3B, MIN

    59. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, TOR

    60. Charlie Morton, SP, TB

    61. Josh Hader, RP, MIL

    62. Matt Olson, 1B, OAK

    63. Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS

    64. Joey Gallo, OF, TEX

    65. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CWS

    66. Yu Darvish, SP, CHC

    67. DJ LeMahieu, 1B/2B/3B, NYY

    68. Tommy Pham, OF, SD

    69. Max Muncy, 1B/2B/3B, LAD

    70. Yoan Moncada, 3B, CWS

    71. Jose Berrios, SP, MIN

    72. Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB

    73. Marcus Semien, SS, OAK

    74. J.T. Realmuto, C, PHI

    75. Victor Robles, OF, WAS

    76. Luis Robert, OF, CWS

    77. Kirby Yates, RP, SD

    78. Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN

    79. Max Kepler, OF, MIN

    80. Trevor Bauer, SP, CIN

    81. Brandon Woodruff, SP, MIL

    82. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR

    83. Josh Bell, 1B, PIT

    84. Lance Lynn, SP, TEX

    85. Sonny Gray, SP, CIN

    86. Aroldis Chapman, RP, NYY

    87. Matt Chapman, 3B, OAK

    88. Jeff McNeil, 2B/3B/OF, NYM

    89. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, NYY

    90. Corey Kluber, SP, TEX

    91. Miguel Sano, 1B/3B, MIN

    92. Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BOS

    93. Nick Castellanos, OF, CIN

    94. Marcell Ozuna, OF, ATL

    95. Eddie Rosario, OF, MIN

    96. Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI

    97. Liam Hendriks, RP, OAK

    98. Jorge Soler, OF, KC

    99. Mike Moustakas, 2B/3B, CIN

    100. Carlos Correa, SS, HOU

    101. Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B, ARI

    102. Mike Soroka, SP, ATL

    103. Frankie Montas, SP, OAK

    104. Gary Sanchez, C, NYY

    105. Corey Seager, SS, LAD

    106. Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK

    107. Yasmani Grandal, C, CWS

    108. Madison Bumgarner, SP, ARI

    109. Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, TOR

    110. Tim Anderson, SS, CWS

    111. Carlos Santana, 1B, CLE

    112. Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK

    113. Dinelson Lamet, SP, SD

    114. Mitch Garver, C, MIN

    115. Kenley Jansen, RP, LAD

    116. Andrew Benintendi, OF, BOS

    117. Michael Brantley, OF, HOU

    118. Jorge Polanco, SS, MIN

    119. Willson Contreras, C, CHC

    120. Max Fried, SP, ATL

    121. Cavan Biggio, 2B, TOR

    122. Taylor Rogers, RP, MIN

    123. Nick Anderson, RP, TB

    124. Oscar Mercado, OF, CLE

    125. Zac Gallen, SP, ARI

    126. Yuli Gurriel, 1B/3B, HOU

    127. Kyle Hendricks, SP, CHC

    128. Robbie Ray, SP, ARI

    129. Mike Minor, SP, TEX

    130. Kyle Schwarber, OF, CHC

    131. Franmil Reyes, OF, CLE

    132. Michael Conforto, OF, NYM

    133. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, CWS

    134. Justin Turner, 3B, LAD

    135. Matthew Boyd, SP, DET

    136. Ken Giles, RP, TOR

    137. Carlos Carrasco, SP, CLE

    138. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, PHI

    139. Raisel Iglesias, RP, CIN

    140. Brad Hand, RP, CLE

    141. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., OF, TOR

    142. German Marquez, SP, COL

    143. Danny Santana, 1B/OF, TEX

    144. Luis Arraez, 2B/OF, MIN

    145. Marcus Stroman, SP, NYM

    146. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU

    147. Amed Rosario, SS, NYM

    148. Jake Odorizzi, SP, MIN

    149. Kenta Maeda, SP, MIN

    150. Edwin Diaz, RP, NYM

    Note: The placement of Shohei Ohtani depends on whether he’s eligible as both a pitcher and hitter, or split into two separate players, making him impossible to place in these rankings. Draft accordingly.

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    J.T. Realmuto

    J.T. RealmutoMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • J.T. Realmuto, PHI

J.T. Realmuto set career highs in home runs (25), RBI (83) and runs scored (92) last season while providing his usual strong batting average (.275) and chipping in a few steals (9). He’s the only catcher worth even considering with a top-50 pick.

Tier 2

  • Yasmani Grandal, CWS
  • Gary Sanchez, NYY
  • Willson Contreras, CHC
  • Mitch Garver, MIN

Gary Sanchez (34 HR) and Mitch Garver (31 HR) are the two best power plays at the position. Yasmani Grandal (28 HR) is not far behind, and he’s an elite on-base threat (.380 OBP) in leagues that reward that category. Willson Contreras spent a lot of time hitting fourth and fifth in a loaded Cubs lineup last year and should see ample RBI opportunities.

Tier 3

  • Will Smith, LAD
  • Carson Kelly, ARI
  • Omar Narvaez, MIL
  • Christian Vazquez, BOS
  • Salvador Perez, KC
  • Wilson Ramos, NYM
  • Tom Murphy, SEA

Will Smith and Carson Kelly are young stars on the rise. Omar Narvaez, Christian Vazquez and Tom Murphy are 2019 standouts who need to further prove themselves before moving up. Wilson Ramos provides a solid batting average (.288 BA) and some pop (14 HR). How will Salvador Perez bounce back after sitting out 2019 because of Tommy John surgery?

Best of the Rest: Sean Murphy (OAK), Yadier Molina (STL), Roberto Perez (CLE), Jorge Alfaro (MIA), Travis d’Arnaud (ATL), Francisco Mejia (SD), Robinson Chirinos (TEX), Kurt Suzuki (WAS)

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    Cody Bellinger

    Cody BellingerJohn McCoy/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Cody Bellinger, LAD
  • Freddie Freeman, ATL
  • Pete Alonso, NYM

Cody Bellinger hit just .263 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI after the All-Star break last season following a 30-homer, 71-RBI first half. The 25-year-old remains a superstar, though, and worthy of an early selection. Freddie Freeman is a model of consistency coming off a career-high 38 home runs, but he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. Pete Alonso will be an elite power producer even with some minor regression from his 53-homer rookie campaign.

Tier 2

  • Anthony Rizzo, CHC
  • Paul Goldschmidt, STL
  • Matt Olson, OAK
  • Jose Abreu, CWS
  • DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  • Max Muncy, LAD
  • Josh Bell, PIT

Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu are known commodities and steady performers. Matt Olson and Josh Bell are two rising stars at the position. DJ LeMahieu and Max Muncy both have positional versatility. Can Paul Goldschmidt return to Tier 1 form in his second season in St. Louis?

Tier 3

  • Miguel Sano, MIN
  • Carlos Santana, CLE
  • Yasmani Grandal, CWS
  • Yuli Gurriel, HOU
  • Edwin Encarnacion, CWS
  • Rhys Hoskins, PHI

Miguel Sano hit 34 home runs in 105 games last season and no longer has to worry about improving his defense at third base. Carlos Santana and Rhys Hoskins are more valuable in leagues that reward on-base percentage. Edwin Encarnacion has eight straight 30-homer seasons. Yasmani Grandal is best drafted as a catcher. Yuli Gurriel hit .298 with 31 home runs and 104 RBI last season and he’ll be playing for his next contract in 2020.

Best of the Rest: Danny Santana (TEX), Joey Votto (CIN), Christian Walker (ARI), Joc Pederson (LAD), Luke Voit (NYY), Eric Hosmer (SD), Jesus Aguilar (MIA), C.J. Cron (DET), Daniel Murphy (COL)

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    Gleyber Torres

    Gleyber TorresRich Schultz/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Gleyber Torres, NYY
  • Ozzie Albies, ATL
  • Jose Altuve, HOU
  • Ketel Marte, ARI

Gleyber Torres (shortstop) and Ketel Marte (outfield) are both Tier 2 players at their other positions of eligibility but Tier 1 options at second base. Ozzie Albies raised his batting average (.261 to .295) and led the NL in hits (189) last year while again showing a nice mix of power (24 HR) and speed (15 SB). Jose Altuve can probably still rake even without the garbage can.

Tier 2

  • Whit Merrifield, KC
  • Keston Hiura, MIL
  • Jonathan Villar, MIA
  • DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  • Max Muncy, LAD
  • Jeff McNeil, NYM

Whit Merrifield (outfield), Jonathan Villar (shortstop, outfield), Max Muncy (first base, third base) and Jeff McNeil (third base, outfield) all have multi-position eligibility, and they are all multi-category contributors. Keston Hiura finished the 2019 season hitting cleanup while tallying 19 home runs and 49 RBI in 84 games.

Tier 3

  • Mike Moustakas, CIN
  • Eduardo Escobar, ARI
  • Cavan Biggio, TOR
  • Gavin Lux, LAD
  • Luis Arraez, MIN
  • Brandon Lowe, TB

Mike Moustakas launched 35 home runs last season but remains a batting average drain. Eduardo Escobar quietly had a 35-homer, 118-RBI season in 2019, but he’s lacking a track record to match. Cavan Biggio, Gavin Lux, Luis Arraez and 2019 All-Star Brandon Lowe are all capable of playing their way into Tier 2.

Best of the Rest: Ryan McMahon (COL), Tommy Edman (STL), Kevin Newman (PIT), Michael Chavis (BOS), Kolten Wong (STL), Robinson Cano (NYM), Jonathan Schoop (DET), Rougned Odor (TEX), Cesar Hernandez (CLE)

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    Nolan Arenado

    Nolan ArenadoNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Nolan Arenado, COL
  • Alex Bregman, HOU
  • Anthony Rendon, LAA
  • Jose Ramirez, CLE
  • Rafael Devers, BOS
  • Kris Bryant, CHC

Nolan Arenado, Alex Bregman, Anthony Rendon and Jose Ramirez should all be off the board in the first two rounds of a 12-team league. Ramirez’s overall 2019 numbers were disappointing at surface-level, but he hit .327 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI in 44 games after the All-Star break. Rafael Devers and Kris Bryant should go in the third or fourth round.

Tier 2

  • Manny Machado, SD
  • Josh Donaldson, MIN
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
  • DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  • Max Muncy, LAD
  • Yoan Moncada, CWS
  • Eugenio Suarez, CIN

With so many good third base options, DJ LeMahieu and Max Muncy are better drafted elsewhere, but they fit in Tier 3 HERE. Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Eugenio Suarez are all 30-homer threats in good RBI spots. Can Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yoan Moncada jump to Tier 1? Beware the fact that Moncada led the majors with a .406 BABIP last year.

Tier 3

  • Matt Chapman, OAK
  • Jeff McNeil, NYM
  • Miguel Sano, MIN
  • Mike Moustakas, CIN
  • Eduardo Escobar, ARI
  • Yuli Gurriel, HOU

While his defensive prowess is of little use in fantasy, Matt Chapman did have a 36-homer, 91-RBI season last year. We’ve already talked about Jeff McNeil, Miguel Sano, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar and Yuli Gurriel thanks to their multi-position eligibility.

Best of the Rest: Justin Turner (LAD), Gio Urshela (NYY), Hunter Dozier (KC), Scott Kingery (PHI), Brian Anderson (MIA), J.D. Davis (NYM), Tommy Edman (STL), Kyle Seager (SEA), Miguel Andujar (NYY)

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    Francisco Lindor

    Francisco LindorDuane Burleson/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Francisco Lindor, CLE
  • Trevor Story, COL
  • Trea Turner, WAS
  • Alex Bregman, HOU

Francisco Lindor has hit .278 while averaging 34 home runs, 85 RBI, 110 runs scored and 21 over the past three seasons. Trevor Story has turned in back-to-back 30-homer, 20-steal campaigns, and he’s still wearing a Rockies uniform. Trea Turner had a 19-homer, 35-steal season in just 122 games last year. An injured Carlos Correa opened the door for Alex Bregman to gain shortstop eligibility with 65 games played at his natural position in 2019.

Tier 2

  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
  • Gleyber Torres, NYY
  • Xander Bogaerts, BOS
  • Javier Baez, CHC
  • Manny Machado, SD

Fernando Tatis Jr. is more than capable of delivering first-round value after hitting .317 with 22 home runs and 16 steals in 84 games as a rookie. He just needs to prove himself further before he jumps up to Tier 1. Xander Bogaerts had a career year in 2019 with personal bests in home runs (33) and RBI (117) to go with a .309 average and 52 doubles. Javier Baez provides power, speed and run production. Gleyber Torres is more valuable at second base but still plenty valuable HERE, while Manny Machado fits similarly at third base or shortstop.

Tier 3

  • Jonathan Villar, MIA
  • Adalberto Mondesi, KC
  • Marcus Semien, OAK
  • Bo Bichette, TOR
  • Carlos Correa, HOU
  • Corey Seager, LAD
  • Tim Anderson, CWS
  • Jorge Polanco, MIN

Jonathan Villar (40 SB) and Adalberto Mondesi (43 SB) are elite speed threats. Marcus Semien had never before come close to his 33-homer, 92-RBI output last season. Bo Bichette is a rising star who could push his way into Tier 2 after tallying 18 doubles and 11 home runs in 46 games. Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are both solid upside plays once the Tier 2 guys are off the board. How much will Tim Anderson and Jorge Polanco regress?

Best of the Rest: Amed Rosario (NYM), Carter Kieboom (WAS), Elvis Andrus (TEX), Paul DeJong (STL), Jean Segura (PHI), Dansby Swanson (ATL), Didi Gregorius (PHI), Willy Adames (TB), Kevin Newman (PIT)

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.

    Ronald Acuna Jr.Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
  • Mike Trout, LAA
  • Christian Yelich, MIL
  • Cody Bellinger, LAD
  • Mookie Betts, LAD
  • Juan Soto, WAS

Mike Trout might be the best player on the planet, but in the world of fantasy baseball, Ronald Acuna Jr. reigns supreme. After a 41-homer, 37-steal, 101-RBI, 127-run season, he’s a slight uptick in batting average (.280) away from being the slam-dunk No. 1 fantasy option. For now, Trout and 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich are still squarely in the conversation. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts give the Dodgers a pair of first-round talents. How much better can Juan Soto get?

Tier 2

  • J.D. Martinez, BOS
  • Bryce Harper, PHI
  • Charlie Blackmon, COL
  • Starling Marte, ARI
  • Austin Meadows, TB
  • George Springer, HOU
  • Ketel Marte, ARI
  • Kris Bryant, CHC
  • Yordan Alvarez, HOU
  • Aaron Judge, NYY
  • Whit Merrifield, KC

There are a lot of middle-of-the-order run producers in the Tier 2 group. If Aaron Judge can stay on the field he’s a Tier 1 talent, but he comes with obvious risk. Will Charlie Blackmon start running again after stealing just two bases last year? How will George Springer perform in a contract year? A change of scenery could serve stat-stuffer Starling Marte well as he abandons a sinking ship in Pittsburgh.

Tier 3

  • Joey Gallo, TEX
  • Eloy Jimenez, CWS
  • Tommy Pham, SD
  • Victor Robles, WAS
  • Luis Robert, CWS
  • Max Kepler, MIN
  • Jeff McNeil, NYM
  • Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
  • Nick Castellanos, CIN

Joey Gallo homered 22 times in 70 games last season while raising his batting average from .206 to .253, making him far more valuable if he can maintain it. Eloy Jimenez, Victor Robles and rookie Luis Robert are all capable of Tier 2 production as they push toward superstar ceilings. Let someone else reach for Giancarlo Stanton, but don’t be afraid to pounce if he slips a bit. Nick Castellanos could be a steal if his second-half performance with the Cubs carries over to hitter-friendly Cincinnati.

Tier 4

  • Marcell Ozuna, ATL
  • Eddie Rosario, MIN
  • Jorge Soler, KC
  • Ramon Laureano, OAK
  • Andrew Benintendi, BOS
  • Michael Brantley, HOU
  • Oscar Mercado, CLE
  • Kyle Schwarber, CHC
  • Franmil Reyes, CLE
  • Michael Conforto, NYM
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr., TOR

There’s not a ton of separation between this group and the “Best of the Rest” list. It’s all about addressing areas of need. Most of these guys are power-hitting run producers, but Oscar Mercado and Ramon Laureano will provide some steals and Michael Brantley is a perennial .300 hitter.

Best of the Rest: Danny Santana (TEX), Luis Arraez (MIN), Kyle Tucker (HOU), David Dahl (COL), Lorenzo Cain (MIL), Mark Canha (OAK), Bryan Reynolds (PIT), Scott Kingery (PHI), Adam Eaton (WAS), Mallex Smith (SEA), Alex Verdugo (BOS), Willie Calhoun (TEX), Byron Buxton (MIN), Yasiel Puig (ATL), Justin Upton (LAA), Ryan Braun (MIL)

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    Gerrit Cole

    Gerrit ColeMark Brown/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Gerrit Cole, NYY
  • Jacob deGrom, NYM
  • Max Scherzer, WAS
  • Stephen Strasburg, WAS
  • Justin Verlander, HOU
  • Walker Buehler, LAD
  • Shane Bieber, CLE
  • Jack Flaherty, STL

After leading the AL in ERA (2.50) and the majors in strikeouts (326), Gerrit Cole is the No. 1 pitcher in fantasy baseball. He’s followed closely by the usual suspectsJacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander. Young studs Walker Buehler, Shane Bieber and Jack Flaherty represent the next wave of elite fantasy hurlers.

Tier 2

  • Clayton Kershaw, LAD
  • Luis Castillo, CIN
  • Patrick Corbin, WAS
  • Mike Clevinger, CLE
  • Lucas Giolito, CWS
  • Blake Snell, TB
  • Chris Paddack, SD
  • Aaron Nola, PHI

Luis Castillo, Lucas Giolito and Chris Paddack all enjoyed breakout 2019 seasons, while Blake Snell and Aaron Nola took a slight step backward from stellar 2018 campaigns. Durability questions are enough to knock Clayton Kershaw and Mike Clevinger out of the Tier 1 conversation, but both pitchers are capable of performing at that level.

Tier 3

  • Zack Greinke, HOU
  • Charlie Morton, TB
  • Yu Darvish, CHC
  • Jose Berrios, MIN
  • Tyler Glasnow, TB
  • Trevor Bauer, CIN
  • Brandon Woodruff, MIL
  • Lance Lynn, TEX
  • Sonny Gray, CIN

Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn and Sonny Gray all put together bounce-back seasons in 2019. Zack Greinke and Charlie Morton are still going strong on the other side of 35 years old. Jose Berrios is already the ace of the staff in Minnesota but needs to improve an 8.8 K/9 strikeout rate to move up to Tier 2. Healthy seasons from Tyler Glasnow (12 GS) and Brandon Woodruff (22 GS) could move them up a notch as well. Trevor Bauer is staring down free agency in a contract year.

Tier 4

  • Corey Kluber, TEX
  • Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS
  • Zack Wheeler, PHI
  • Mike Soroka, ATL
  • Frankie Montas, OAK
  • Madison Bumgarner, ARI
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu, TOR
  • Jesus Luzardo, OAK
  • Dinelson Lamet, SD
  • Max Fried, ATL

This tier is a collection of veterans in new places (Corey Kluber, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu) and rising young stars (Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Soroka, Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Dinelson Lamet and Max Fried). Lamet quietly tallied 105 strikeouts in 73 innings after returning from Tommy John surgery, and he has the electric stuff to maintain that production.

Best of the Rest: Zac Gallen (ARI), Kyle Hendricks (CHC), Robbie Ray (ARI), Mike Minor (TEX), Matthew Boyd (DET), Carlos Carrasco (CLE), German Marquez (COL), Marcus Stroman (NYM), Jake Odorizzi (MIN), Kenta Maeda (MIN), Sean Manaea (OAK), Julio Urias (LAD), Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), Joe Musgrove (PIT), Adrian Houser (MIL)

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    Josh Hader

    Josh HaderScott Taetsch/Getty Images

    Tier 1

  • Josh Hader, MIL
  • Kirby Yates, SD
  • Aroldis Chapman, NYY
  • Liam Hendriks, OAK
  • Roberto Osuna, HOU
  • Kenley Jansen, LAD

Josh Hader (37 SV, 16.4 K/9), Kirby Yates (41 SV, 15.0 K/9) and Aroldis Chapman (37 SV, 13.4 K/9) are the cream of the relief pitcher crop, though Chapman might not be ready for Opening Day. Liam Hendriks still needs to prove his breakout 2019 season was for real (remember Blake Treinen?). Roberto Osuna and Kenley Jansen are the unquestioned closers with the Astros and Dodgers, respectively, and have swing-and-miss stuff pitching for clear-cut contenders.

Tier 2

  • Taylor Rogers, MIN
  • Nick Anderson, TB
  • Raisel Iglesias, CIN
  • Brad Hand, CLE
  • Ken Giles, TOR
  • Edwin Diaz, NYM
  • Craig Kimbrel, CHC

Taylor Rogers had 30 saves with a 90-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 innings in his first season in the closer’s role last year. Nick Anderson struck out an absurd 41 of the 78 batters he faced after he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the deadline. Raisel Iglesias, Brad Hand and Ken Giles are proven ninth-inning options. Edwin Diaz and Craig Kimbrel are not far removed from Tier 1 status.

Tier 3

  • Hector Neris, PHI
  • Brandon Workman, BOS
  • Hansel Robles, LAA
  • Archie Bradley, ARI
  • Carlos Martinez, STL
  • Jose Leclerc, TEX
  • Alex Colome, CWS
  • Sean Doolittle, WAS
  • Keone Kela, PIT

Everyone in this tier looks like a safe bet to hold onto the closer’s role for his respective team in 2020. Lack of strikeout stuff, length of track record and inconsistent recent performance keeps them from being part of Tier 2, but they’ll have every chance to perform at that level.

Best of the Rest: Joe Jimenez (DET), Ian Kennedy (KC), Seth Lugo (NYM), Giovanny Gallegos (STL), Mark Melancon (ATL), Brandon Kintzler (MIA), Emilio Pagan (SD), Mychal Givens (BAL)

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.