By Jason Shetler
The other day, Bleacher Report came out with their midseason rankings of the Top 30 relief pitchers for 2017. After not being ranked at all in the preseason, Felipe Rivero was listed in the Top 5 as fourth best, just behind Kenley Jansen, Andrew Miller and Craig Kimbrel.
Rivero entered this season in the seventh inning role for the Pirates. Following the early struggles of Daniel Hudson, he replaced Hudson as the setup man. Rivero eventually took over as the closer, this after Tony Watson had faltered.
The 2017 numbers for Rivero to this point have been absolutely phenomenal, and he was arguably the biggest All-Star snub this year. He currently has the Majors lowest ERA of 0.70, along with a solid 2.20 Fielding Independent Pitching. Rivero has posted a 10.5 K/9, while holding opposing batters to only a .352 OPS. A huge part of Rivero’s success this season has been cutting down on the walks, posting an excellent 2.1 BB/9, which was at 3.9 combined with the Nationals and Pirates a year ago.