MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now gives fans the opportunity to reveal their baseball knowledge and rank the best players at their respective positions ahead of the upcoming season. After the fan vote is released, the broadcast team then allows The Shredder to publish its Top 10 list based on a variety of different computer simulations and metrics.
On Thursday, it was time to rank the Top 10 relief pitchers in Major League Baseball before the start of the 2024 season. Admittedly, relievers may be the most difficult group to rank based on a variety of factors and the volatility of the position as a whole. But this was just ridiculous.
According to the fan vote, newly-signed Houston Astros pitcher Josh Hader was ranked eighth among all relievers. Making things even worse, The Shredder didn't even put Hader among the Top 10. How in the world can the highest-paid reliever in baseball not even be ranked?
MLB fans disrespect Josh Hader in ridiculous fashion
Everyone can probably agree that both the fans and The Shredder got No. 1 correct. Milwaukee Brewers reliever, and former teammate of Hader, Devin Williams is sitting atop both the fan and computer-generated rankings. But Williams' 1.8 fWAR was barely higher than Hader's (1.7 fWAR), and both ranked among the Top 10 in that category.
Hader's 1.28 ERA ranked third behind only Chris Martin and Brusard Graterol that season. And if you want to look at FIP as a more accurate way to judge a pitcher's performance, Hader ranked 14th last season with a 2.69 FIP, but everybody's top-rated reliever was only a few points better. Williams' FIP in 2023 was 2.66.
Strikeouts are always an important statistic when it comes to relief pitchers. Hader's 13.58 strikeouts per nine innings and 36.8 percent strikeout rate both rank in the Top 5 among qualified relievers. Opposing hitters only scratched across a .162 batting average when facing Hader last season. Only four relievers posted better numbers, and his 32 hits allowed ranked sixth in 2023.
To keep Josh Hader out of the Top 10 relief pitchers in the game is incredibly disrespectful. It's even more egregious when Edwin Diaz, who didn't even pitch last season, was rated higher by both the fans and The Shredder.
While the Houston faithful have a right to be angry about Hader's low ranking by the fans, and complete omission from The Shredder, Bryan Abreu got some love. Abreu was ranked sixth according to the fans' vote and came in at No. 7 according to The Shredder. So at least the Astros' relief corps received a little bit of recognition, but keeping Hader outside the Top 5 is absurd.