Top Relievers, 2014 Season

So now that we’re finished the lists of top hitters and top starting pitchers, we are left with only list: the top relievers in the 2014 season!

A note of caution, though.

This is the hardest list I can ever remember compiling since I started doing this after the 2007 Valley League season. The hitters and starters are easy enough, because they have a minimum amount of playing time involved. The relievers, obviously, don’t have that requirement. Sometimes there are starts thrown in, too, so I have to figure out which list the pitcher should be on.

All this to say that I’ve done my best. Are some of my decisions fair? Well, probably not. I have done my best balancing ERA, batting average against, WHIP, K/9, and BB/9, with consideration to innings pitched as well. I literally did not look at saves when I compiled the list, as it is a stat of opportunity, and really tells us little about performance, besides the fact that the pitcher’s manager chose to use him in that way. Every single player on the top reliever list would have racked up a huge amount of saves if they were all given the lion’s share of save opportunities.

This might be a good time to remind you, brilliant reader, that this list, from start to finish, is one person’s opinion. Each of you could come up with your own list if you’d like. (And if you would like to send your idea to me, feel free!)

The 10th best reliever in the 2014 Valley League will be revealed soon!



  1. Your lists loose their credibility when you omit Covington pitcher Cody Strayer from your rankings. On a team that had their first 3 or 4 hitters hit over .300, but the rest barely reach .200 combined and he carried a 1.30 ERA past the All Star break, then started, relieved, closed on no rest the rest of the season as their team hemorrhaged pitchers. He threw 150 pitches in one game into the 9th then watched a new reliever give up all his runners. Still closed 2 games in the playoffs against Harrisonburg, and held Waynesboro almost giving them the deciding game 3. If you are not going watch the games, just read numbers and make up lists, they aren’t even an opinion.
    I’m hoping you just decided to call him a reliever and didn’t overlook the season he had down there.

    • Stu, thank you for your comment.

      I can appreciate that you are clearly frustrated that Cody was not included on my list. When we know the personal story of a player, it may seem unfair when something like this happens.

      I started this website (or its sister, anyway) back in 2006. My intentions are to celebrate the wonderful players that populate the Valley each summer. I’m sorry that you feel so strongly about Cody. I would love to celebrate every single player’s heroics, like Cody’s heroics with a depleted staff, but I don’t have the time nor energy to do so.

      When I began the top starters list, I made clear that not only was the entire list my opinion, but I included my criteria, too. Not including Cody on my list comes down to his overall, regular season stats. The truth is that, while Cody had a very good summer, his stats did not equal the other pitchers on the list.

      As for not watching the games, I would suggest that no one that makes these lists are able to attend enough games to get a feel for each and every player in the league. Baseball America doesn’t, Perfect Game doesn’t, and I surely don’t. Different publications use different ways to create their lists. Baseball America, for example, polls coaches to get their opinions. I happen to use stats. I make no claims to be a scout, so I go with what I can use.

      Again, thank you for your comment. I appreciate hearing from readers, even if they disagree with my opinions!


      • Not surprised. Wins saves ERA not relevant anymore? Got to have a top notch k ratio, walk to k numbers or other sabermetric crap. 90 innings of school ball and over 50 down here, a Valley All Star, and his numbers were better and beat pitchers on your list straight up, And must have been ok for MLB to designate him a 2015 prospect. So clearly the best pitcher on the Jacks doesn’t warrant your list, so no pitcher from a team one win from the finals measures up. Wow!

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