Best Reliever: Kanley Jansen
Numbers: 1.8 WAR, 0.558 WHIP, 434 ERA+, 1.05 FIP, 13.6 K/9, 57 K, 2 BB, 4-0, 0.96 ERA
There may be a few of my fellow Pirates fans who are slightly disappointed that I chose Jansen over our mega-stud, Felipe Rivero. As good as Rivero is, Jansen is the best relief pitcher in the Senior Circuit in my opinion, and has been for over a year now.
Rivero does have a few things going for him. As of the all-star break, he had thrown almost ten more innings than Jansen has, and had a higher WAR according to baseball reference and baseball prospects. There is one big disparity between the two from a numbers standpoint that swings the argument in Jansen’s favor, however. That is Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP).
For those unaware, FIP measures what a pitcher’s Earned Run Average would be taking defense away from the equation. Through the break, Rivero’s FIP is a respectable 2.32, while Jansen’s is a staggering 1.05.
The debate of who has been the better of the two relievers is a close one. I’d listen to points from either side. Whenever I’m thinking of these types of comparisons if the question is challenging enough, team performance comes into play. Taking that into consideration, the Dodgers are the best team in the NL, while the Pirates will be lucky to finish .500. That seals it for me.