MLB Reliever Power Rankings: Top 10 for 2024 Season

Less than a month into the year, stats can be deceptive—especially for relief pitchers. Nevertheless, these bullpen arms have been the best of the best in the early going of the new campaign.
Holmes (right) hasn’t allowed an earned run this season.
Holmes (right) hasn’t allowed an earned run this season. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks into the season, almost nothing we’ve seen so far is real. Least real of all is reliever performance. Most of these guys have thrown fewer than a dozen innings and it would be borderline irresponsible to try to make predictions based on what they’ve done. So we won’t do that. But it can be fun to capture a snapshot of a moment, even if you don’t expect it to continue, so let’s immortalize this start to the season by power-ranking relievers.

1. Clay Holmes, New York Yankees

No reliever has been asked to enter more high-leverage spots this year than Holmes, and he has escaped every one. He has yet to allow an earned run (although he did give up three in the 10th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks—one on an error, then two more after the inning should have ended—in a game the Yankees later won), nor has he let an inherited runner score. And he is doing exactly what a sinkerballer is supposed to, inducing ground balls 73% of the time.

2. Craig Kimbrel, Baltimore Orioles

When we last checked in on Kimbrel, he was blowing two straight NLCS games as his Philadelphia Phillies fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Well, he hasn’t allowed a walk in the eight innings he has pitched since then, and he has struck out 51.9% of the men he has faced. Kimbrel is 35 years old and pitching like he did at 22.

3. Justin Slaten, Boston Red Sox

Slaten has among the worst strikeout numbers of this group (he punches out batters only 23.5% of the time), but—underscoring how unreliable results are at this point—he is the only one who ranks in the top 10 in both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference WAR. He is also averaging nearly two innings per appearance.

4. Reed Garrett, New York Mets

Garrett entered the year with a career 7.11 ERA and didn’t make the Mets’ Opening Day roster, but he has since become a key part of their bullpen. He has not yet given up a run, he leads the league in strikeout percentage with 54.8% and he has allowed exactly zero hard-hit balls (exit velocity of 95 mph or higher).

5. Hunter Harvey, Washington Nationals

Harvey has an ERA of 2.70, but peripheral numbers suggest he has been very unlucky defensively: His FIP is an eye-popping 0.10.

Apr 9, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher David Robertson (37) throws to the plate.
Robertson has given up just 7 hits across 10.2 innings. / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

6. David Robertson, Texas Rangers

Robertson had a 5.06 ERA after his deadline trade to the Miami Marlins last year, but he seems to have rebounded as the Rangers’ eighth-inning guy. He has made a league-leading 10 appearances and allowed two runs.

7. Jason Foley, Detroit Tigers

Foley has a 1.17 win probability added—meaning you could argue he alone is responsible for more than 10% of the 10–9 Tigers’ wins this season.

8. Mason Miller, Oakland Athletics

Incredibly, the A’s are not in last place in the AL West, and they can thank Miller for a good deal of that. The second-year righty has struck out 46% of the men he has faced and has saved four of Oakland’s eight wins.

9. Daniel Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Not many people have had a more frustrating past two years than Hudson. In 2022, he tore a ligament in his left knee midway through what was shaping up to be the best season of his career, and then pitched all of three innings last year before spraining a ligament in his right knee. But the 37-year-old is back at it and, in nine innings, has yet to walk a batter while striking out 12.

10. Kyle Finnegan, Washington Nationals

Finnegan’s 3.24 ERA is pedestrian in this group, but surely he deserves some credit for having saved seven of the Nationals’ eight wins.


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Stephanie Apstein

STEPHANIE APSTEIN

Stephanie Apstein is a senior writer covering baseball and Olympic sports for Sports Illustrated, where she started as an intern in 2011. She has covered 10 World Series and two Olympics; and is a frequent contributor to SportsNet New York's Baseball Night in New York. Stephanie has twice won top honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors, and her work has been included in the Best American Sports Writing book series. A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and its New York chapter vice chair,she graduated from Trinity College with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Italian, and from Columbia University with a Master of Science in journalism.