Preps Talk

Relief Pitcher Rankings

Relief Pitcher Rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

The following pitchers are ranked assuming a 5x5 format (wins, saves, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts).

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
2. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
NOTE: A shame Manuel doesn't use him right.
3. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
4. Fernando Rodney, Rays
NOTE: Too late to turn back now.
5. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
6. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
7. Jim Johnson, Orioles
8. Joe Nathan, Rangers
NOTE: Nice discount buy for Texas.
9. Jason Motte, Cardinals
NOTE: Fastball still straight but he's fine.
10. Chris Perez, Indians
11. Rafael Soriano, Yankees
12. Ryan Cook, Athletics
13. Ernesto Frieri, Angels
NOTE: Absolutely unhittable, but has to share a little with Downs.
14. Casey Janssen, Blue Jays
NOTE: Santos unlikely to get job back.
15. Tyler Clippard, Nationals
NOTE: Took the gig and ran with it.
16. Huston Street, Padres
NOTE: Is there a trade market?
17. Santiago Casilla, Giants
18. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
NOTE: The former bartender always closes.
19. Jose Valverde, Tigers
20. Jonathan Broxton, Royals
21. Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
NOTE: Another possible trade chip.
22. Addison Reed, White Sox
NOTE: Took a while but he's established now.
23. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
24. John Axford, Brewers
25. Frank Francisco, Mets
26. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
NOTE: Don't think, just throw.
27. Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox
28. Scott Downs, Angels
29. Brett Myers, Astros
NOTE: Can't see a bidding war for him.
30. Heath Bell, Marlins
31. Sergio Romo, Giants
32. Vinnie Pestano, Indians
33. Glen Perkins, Twins
34. Charlie Furbush, Mariners
NOTE: A set-up stud in Seattle.
35. Jared Burton, Twins
36. Drew Storen, Nationals
37. Bobby Parnell, Mets
38. Grant Balfour, Athletics
39. Sean Marshall, Reds
40. Tim Collins, Royals
41. Joaquin Benoit, Tigers
42. Matt Capps, Twins
43. David Hernandez, Diamondbacks
44. Andrew Bailey, Red Sox
NOTE: The injuries are part of the profile.
45. Aaron Crow, Royals
46. Mike Adams, Rangers
47. Wilton Lopez, Astros
48. Jason Grilli, Pirates
NOTE: He's finally put it all together.
49. Sean Burnett, Nationals
50. David Robertson, Yankees
51. Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
52. Darren O'Day, Orioles
NOTE: The underrated character from Animal House.
53. Greg Holland, Royals
54. Jose Arredondo, Reds
55. Matt Belisle, Rockies
56. James Russell, Cubs
NOTE: Might close if they move Marmol.
57. Brandon League, Mariners
NOTE: Doubt he gets the job back.
58. Brandon Lyon, Astros
59. Craig Stammen, Nationals
60. Scott Atchison, Red Sox
61. Brayan Villarreal, Tigers
NOTE: Starting to earn Jim Leyland's trust.
62. Ronald Belisario, Dodgers
63. Jake McGee, Rays
64. Steve Cishek, Marlins
65. Robbie Ross, Rangers
66. Pedro Strop, Orioles
NOTE: Big fastball, could be future stopper.
67. Jerry Blevins, Athletics
68. Andrew Miller, Red Sox
69. Joel Peralta, Rays
70. Sean Doolittle, Athletics
71. Rex Brothers, Rockies
72. Jordan Walden, Angels
73. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
74. Brad Ziegler, Diamondbacks
75. Octavio Dotel, Tigers
76. Jonny Venters, Braves
NOTE: Never chase last year's middle-relief superstar.

91 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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NBC

91 Days to Kickoff: Warren

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Brandon Schild, Justin Van Schaik, Tayler Erbach and Mark Mika

How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Warren Township made the IHSA 8A playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Bolingbrook then lost to Maine South in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 24 vs Barrington

Aug. 31 @ Glenbard North

Sept. 7 vs Waukegan

Sept. 14 vs Libertyville

Sept. 21 @ Lake Forest

Sept. 28 @ Zion-Benton

Oct. 5 vs Lake Zurich

Oct. 12 vs Stevenson

Oct. 19 @ Mundelein

Biggest storyline: Can The Blue Devils make it back-to-back postseason appearances and challenge for the North Suburban Conference title?

Names to watch this season: DL Zack Pelland, DT Willis Singleton and RB Martin Walker

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils will need to find a new pass/catch tandem to replace graduated QB Ian Schilling and a strong group in the skills department, led by WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame).  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blue Devils had a nice 2017 season. After starting seven sophomores on the varsity level a year ago, head coach Bryan McNulty has the rare combination of youth and experience this fall. The defense will be a definite strength going into the season. The offense will rely on the running game, which features four starting offensive linemen back in the fold along with senior RB Martin Walker. If the passing game can come along, this team can once again challenge in the North Suburban Conference race and also in the overall 8A picture. 

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Why Mitch Trubisky's biggest weakness won't preclude him from success in 2018

As the Bears set their foundation for training camp during OTAs this month, one part of that is beginning to identify each player’s strengths and weaknesses on which to build in Bourbonnais. 

Designing an offense to Mitch Trubisky’s strengths was one of the reasons why Ryan Pace hired Matt Nagy, who then hired Mark Helfrich to be his offensive coordinator. Easy is the wrong word — but it wouldn’t have made sense for the Bears to not build an offense around their second-picked quarterback. 

But as Nagy and Helfrich are installing that offense during OTAs and, next month, veteran minicamp, they’re also learning what Trubisky’s weaknesses are. And the one Helfrich pointed to, in a way, is a positive. 

“Experience,” Helfrich said. “I think it’s 100 percent experience and just reps, and that’s kind of what I was talking about was knowing why something happened. As a quarterback, he might take the perfect drop and be looking at the right guy in your progression, and that guy runs the wrong route or the left guard busts or something. The defense does something different or wrong, even. And trusting that is just a matter of putting rep on top of rep on top of rep and being confident.”

It'd be a concern if the Bears thought Trubisky lacked the necessary talent to be great, or had a lacking work ethic or bad attitude. Experience isn't something he can control, in a way. 

This isn’t anything new for Trubisky. His lack of experience at North Carolina — he only started 13 games there — was the biggest ding to his draft stock a year ago; while he started a dozen games for the Bears in 2017, the offense was simple and conservative, designed to minimize risk for Trubisky (and, to be fair, a sub-optimal group of weapons around him). 

But even if Trubisky started all 16 games in an innovative, aggressive offense last year, he’d still be experiencing plenty of things for the first time. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made this point back in September that still resonates now with regard to Trubisky:

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks,” Roethlisberger said. “In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

So the challenge for Nagy and Helfrich is to build an offense that accentuates Trubisky’s strengths while managing his lack of experience. For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles succeeded in those efforts last year with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, respectively. 

For Helfrich, though, one of Trubisky’s strengths — his leadership qualities — are already helping mitigate his need for more experience. 

“He’s still in the mode of learning and doing things out here,” Helfrich said. “We might have run one play 10 times against 10 different defenses, you know? And so his response to every one of those 10 things is brand new. And so, you see his reaction to some of those is good. Some of those things you want to improve upon and then keep your chest up and lead because we need that.”