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2020 Preseason Power Rankings: Relief Pitchers

Season Preview

When we rolled out our Preseason All-America Teams, we followed one guiding principle: If we were building a team to win the 2020 national title, which players would we choose? We use the same philosophy to construct our Position Power Rankings — think of them as an extension of our Preseason All-America Teams.

These are NOT professional prospect lists, though they do take pure talent into consideration. Players who proved themselves against top competition in summer ball and look poised for breakout years might rank higher on the list than other players who had gaudier stats from last spring. We considered past performance and offensive statistics, but we also try to keep the numbers in context, because some leagues or ballparks are more offensive than others, and some leagues simply have more talent than others — so all stat lines are not created equal. So in addition to the numbers, we also factored in raw talent, defensive ability (especially at premium positions), makeup and reports of development over the summer and fall.

Finally, remember that there are 301 Division I teams, and we’re ranking the top 10 percent of starting players at each position. These lists reflect our projections of which players will be the best of the best this spring, but many good players in the remaining 90 percent just didn’t make the cut. We’ll revisit the Position Power Rankings over the course of the season and make adjustments as players prove themselves on the field.

One significant reason that Vanderbilt is ranked No. 2 in the preseason is its strong bullpen, which returns a proven championship-caliber closer in Tyler Brown (No. 1 on our list of the nation’s top 50 relievers) and a lights-out setup man in Ethan Smith (No. 17). UCLA’s Holden Powell and Dallas Baptist strikeout machine Burl Carraway round out the top three. Find out who else made the cut.

Top 50 Relief Pitchers

RankPlayer, SchoolWERAAPPSVIPBBSOOBA
1Tyler Brown, Vanderbilt3-12.19311749.1965.193
2Holden Powell, UCLA4-31.844017492765.121
3Burl Carraway, Dallas Baptist4-22.8128641.22272.195
4Casey Schmitt, San Diego State3-33.77218431644.252
5Michael Kirian, Louisville3-11.6926532942.218

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