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Bullpen Power Rankings: Ranking relief crews for the stretch run

Kenley Jansen might be the best closer in baseball right now, but is he supported by the game's best relief crew? Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

While baseball's trade deadline moves were extremely light on hitters and thin on starting pitchers, it seemed like almost every team either moved or picked up a relief pitcher. There were few crazy trades for bullpen pieces -- Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller trades last year were exceptions, not the rule -- but that didn't keep contenders from closing deals for those late-inning talents. With so many teams reshuffling their relief crews, this provides a useful juncture for re-evaluating all 30 bullpens, as ranked by the ZiPS projection system.

30. Chicago White Sox: This would have to rank as one of the most glorious last-place rankings on a list of all-time. While the Sox have actually been just in the top half bullpens so far this year, they also traded the team's top relievers -- David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings. It was the smart thing to do, given that a rebuilding team needs a top bullpen like a bicycle needs a flamethrower. Well, on second thought, that sounds kind of cool, actually.


29. Cincinnati Reds: Ranking 29th actually represents a significant improvement from last season, when Cincy's bullpen finished last in MLB in FanGraphs-brand WAR. I'm not quite sure how much the team should be pleased with the bump right now, given that they're now likely to get nothing for Drew Storen and reportedly sending out the unrealistic asks for closer Raisel Iglesias.


28. Atlanta Braves: The team can still theoretically trade Jim Johnson, given that he's got a great shot to pass through waivers and is already signed for the 2018 season. But they may have missed trading him at a time where they could actually get something for him and most of the rest of the bullpen consists of interesting relievers that allow a walk or two too many per nine innings.