Welcome back to the latest edition of our Reliever Ranks series! This will bring you up-to-date bullpen depth charts every morning for the day’s games and makes for an excellent tool for those looking to stream saves or wins. This series runs seven days a week, so check in every morning to get your daily bullpen fix!
Transaction and Schedule Notes
- After dual postponements on Friday, we got one more on Saturday (ATL @ NYM). However, it was made up for with the playing of two doubleheaders. There were 16 games on Saturday and we’ll have 15 more on Sunday.
- The Braves reinstated Joe Jiménez from the 15-day IL and he’ll slot right back into a high-leverage role.
- The Orioles recalled DL Hall who should act as an intriguing long reliever. He has great stuff but lacks command. His prospect pedigree makes him someone worth keeping an eye on.
- The Cubs placed Brandon Hughes on the 15-day IL with left knee inflammation. He was one of the team’s top late-inning options and the only lefty in the arm barn. This move opens up more save opportunities for Michael Fulmer, Brad Boxberger, and others.
- The Angels placed José Quijada on the 15-day IL with left elbow soreness. After seeming like he had taken the closer role, he’s slowly lost control of it. Now Carlos Estévez should have saves to himself.
- The Mets reinstated Adam Ottavino from the paternity list. He will slot right back into the #2 role in the bullpen. Brooks Raley was also placed on the 15-day IL with left elbow inflammation and John Curtiss was recalled. The injury eradicates all lefties from the arm barn in Queens and makes Drew Smith the next man up after Ottavino.
- The Mariners optioned Diego Castillo to the minors in a surprising move. He has been one of the game’s most reliable relievers with a 3.12 ERA (259.2 IP) from 2018-22. He’s had a tough time controlling his pitches this year and will look to get those struggles ironed out in the minors.
- The Brewers traded Javy Guerra to the Rays for a player to be named later. The righty pitched for Tampa Bay in the second half of 2022 before landing with Milwaukee in the offseason. He’ll return to his former franchise and will look to improve upon his 8.64 ERA (8.1 IP).
BAL 4 – DET 7 (Game 1)
H: Mason Englert (1)
SV: Alex Lange (3)
- DL Hall was handed the reins of the final three frames in his season debut. He allowed six baserunners and two runs but made up for it with seven strikeouts. His velocity was notably reduced, as it sat three mph below last year’s average. His changeup kept him afloat, inducing six whiffs with a 55% CSW across 14 offerings. His prospect pedigree should keep him on the fantasy radar.
- Mason Englert and Alex Lange cleaned up another wonderful start by Eduardo Rodriguez. The former recorded seven outs and the first hold of his young career. His ERA should continue to improve if he limits baserunners as he has done thus far. Lange continues to be the go-to guy in Detroit and he seems to be cemented in that role thanks to a lack of talent in that bullpen. Saves will be few and far between, but if Lange capitalizes when called upon, he will be worth the hold.
BAL 6 – DET 4 (Game 2)
H: Bryan Baker (6), Danny Coulombe (6), Yennier Cano (5)
SV: Félix Bautista (7)
- The Orioles bounced back in game two thanks to an arduous bullpen performance that was made possible by Hall’s bulk earlier in the day. Keegan Akin and Mike Baumann struggled to kick off the bullpen work, but the back end of the arm barn wrapped things up nicely. Bryan Baker, Danny Coulombe, and Yennier Cano continued their incredible Aprils to set up for Félix Bautista’s save. That quartet has a sub-2.00 ERA across the board with Cano being the leader in that category. The big, 29-year-old right-hander is unscored upon across his first 9.2 innings while striking out 34.5% of batters. Bautista has pitched in three of the past four days and Cano could be the one turned to in the ninth after tossing just six pitches on Saturday.
- José Cisnero, Jason Foley, and Will Vest were unscored upon across 3.1 innings in the losing effort. They are the small contingent of relievers worthy of getting holds in Detroit. Vest is in the same boat as Cano, having struck out eight across his first 5.1 scoreless innings in 2023. He’s quickly pushing Foley for top setup duties because of his superior ability to get strikeouts.
PIT 6 – WSN 3 (Game 1)
H: Robert Stephenson (6), Colin Holderman (9)
SV: David Bednar (9)
- The Pirates dominated the doubleheader, with their bullpen being a driving factor in securing their slim lead in the first half. Their top two setup men, Robert Stephenson and Colin Holderman, continued to set up nicely for their lockdown closer. The former is still amongst the top 10 relievers according to Stuff+ (143) and has yet to allow a run across his first six innings. The latter is living up to his last name and now leads the Majors in holds. Speaking of league leaders, David Bednar’s ninth save tied him with Emmanuel Clase, Josh Hader, and Jordan Romano for the MLB lead.
- Wiping out the bullpen across two losses is not common, but the Nats did just that. Game one saw them deploy five arms and game two saw four more. It wasn’t the best of days for the team in the nation’s capital.
KCR 3 – MIN 2
W: Aroldis Chapman (1)
L: Jhoan Duran (1)
H: Griffin Jax (6)
SV: Scott Barlow (4)
BS: Jorge López (1)
- Scott Barlow lucked into a save as his offense made a comeback across the final two frames. He locked down his fourth save, and despite Aroldis Chapman’s continued success and improved velocity, Barlow still has a firm claim to the ninth. It likely won’t last forever considering Barlow seems susceptible to blowups and isn’t overpowering while Chapman continues to put up days like today where he averaged 99 mph with his heater and induced whiffs on half of his pitches.
- Jorge López and Jhoan Duran can be blamed for letting this one slip away. After good setup work from Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax, López allowed an inherited runner to score to tie things up. In the ninth, two walks and a sac bunt set up a run to score when Duran unleashed a wild pitch, forcing home the go-ahead tally. It was just a bad day for Duran who made up for his blunder by topping the pitch velocity leaderboard with a 103.4 mph four-seam fastball.
SEA 0 – TOR 1
W: Erik Swanson (1)
L: Trevor Gott (2)
- A pitcher’s duel kept the bullpen’s hands out of the game until the seventh. The Mariners turned to all of their top arms but couldn’t outlast the Blue Jays in extras. Closer Paul Sewald pitched the ninth and induced four whiffs across 13 pitches. He’s a top-10 reliever in fantasy baseball right now.
- The Blue Jays also turned to their closer in the ninth of a tied game. Jordan Romano came thru with a perfect, two-strikeout frame to push the game to extras. There, Erik Swanson deservedly earned a win after recording all three of his outs in the 10th via the strikeout. The 1-2 combo out of the arm barn in Toronto is underrated as one of the most deadly in baseball. Both have pitched on consecutive days, so Yimi García could have dibs on a save on Sunday.
CHC 6 – MIA 7
H: Huascar Brazoban (4), Steven Okert (1), Matt Barnes (1)
SV: Tanner Scott (2)
- The high-upside guns were out on Saturday for the Cubs. Jeremiah Estrada got five outs and flashed his potential with five whiffs on 11 sliders for 73% CSW. At 24, he looks like the closer of the future. That may not be the case if Adbert Alzolay has anything to say about it. He was perfect with two strikeouts and induced four whiffs on just six sliders. Julian Merryweather also showed off with two hitless innings.
- It was a rollercoaster ride for the Miami relief corps. Huascar Brazoban’s two-inning performance was sandwiched in between two two-run outings from Andrew Nardi and Steven Okert. Brazoban’s surprise 2022 is turning into legitimate success in 2023 as the righty has a gorgeous BB/K ratio of 19/3, portending future success. Matt Barnes did a good job to settle things down before Tanner Scott vultured a save while A.J. Puk took a rest day. The first three batters he faced were a switch hitter that’s better against righties, a righty, and a lefty. That suggests that Dylan Floro will likely get the next vulture opportunity if it’s a righty-heavy ninth and he hasn’t pitched on three straight days.
CIN 3 – OAK 2
W: Casey Legumina (1)
L: Jeurys Familia (1)
H: Domingo Acevedo (1), Richard Lovelady (1), Zach Jackson (1)
SV: Alexis Díaz (4)
BS: Jeurys Familia (2)
- A ninth-inning comeback netted Alexis Díaz a save chance and he didn’t let it go to waste. Edwin’s brother struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save. The rest of the arm barn did its job in setting up nicely for the big righty. Alex Young was the most interesting of the group as he has allowed just one run across his first 12.2 innings to go along with an appealing 36.7% K rate. He induced a whopping seven whiffs on 18 pitches on Saturday.
- The A’s had this one in the bag following clean innings from Domingo Acevedo, Richard Lovelady, and Zach Jackson, but Jeurys Familia had other plans. The presumed closer in Oakland permitted two runs and was served the loss and blown save. I don’t have much faith in the 33-year-old to be a consistent closer for the A’s, and his 6.57 ERA (12.1 IP) and 8/12 K/BB ratio speak to why. He’s not someone I’d chase in fantasy given his poor performance on a bad team with a weak setup crew. He tossed 29 pitches and could hand closing duties to Jackson on Sunday.
CLE 7 – BOS 8
W: Brennan Bernardino (1)
L: Emmanuel Clase (2)
H: John Schreiber (5), Josh Winckowski (3)
BS: Emmanuel Clase (2), Kenley Jansen (1)
- A short start led to a lot of bullpen work that all went to waste thanks to the zombie runner and a passed ball. Six relievers appeared for the Guardians with just one unearned run crossing the plate across 5.2 frames. It all led to Emmanuel Clase pitching with a save on the line in the 10th. He allowed a single and a sac bunt before unleashing a passed ball to move the winning run to third. Alex Verdugo knocked him in to walk things off and tag Clase with the loss. While he has been racking up the saves, I’m a bit concerned about his lack of strikeouts. He’s not been a crazy big strikeout guy in the past, but he was over 28% last year which was more than solid. Now he’s sitting below half that at 13.8% K rate with no strikeouts across his last seven outings, and there’s something fishy going on. He’ll have the day off today after pitching on back-to-back days and I’d expect James Karinchak to be the benefactor.
- After a troubling start, the Red Sox arm barn bared down to push things to the ninth where Kenley Jansen blew his first save in a Red Sox uniform. It forced extra innings where the team was able to come out on top. Jansen continues to look like the Hall of Fame closer he’s been throughout his career, so this is clearly just a blip. He needed 29 pitches to escape the ninth and could turn the ball over to John Schreiber or even Chris Martin who’s expected to return from the IL on Sunday.
SFG 11 – SDP 16
W: Tom Cosgrove (1)
L: Tyler Rogers (1)
H: Tim Hill (5)
SV: Nick Martinez (1)
BS Tyler Rogers (2), Steven Wilson (1)
- In a slugfest in Mexico, the Giants’ bullpen got roughed up as just one arm came away unscathed. It was Taylor Rogers, and after a terrible start to the season, he’s rattled off 5.2 straight scoreless innings and is looking like himself again.
- Nick Martinez was somehow able to come away from this one with a save. The former starter cruised through the final two frames, striking out five of the six batters he faced across two perfect innings. His stuff is playing up nicely in the bullpen and with Robert Suarez getting injured and Luis Garcia underperforming, he could lay claim to the setup role.
LAA 5 – MIL 7
H: Peter Strzelecki (8)
SV: Devin Williams (5)
- Jaime Barría did a wonderful job of keeping the game close, but the offense couldn’t mount a comeback. The righty tossed three hitless innings while striking out five. He threw his slider 25 times at a 52% CSW clip.
- There haven’t been many, but when Devin Williams is presented with a save, he secures it. Now up to five, Williams is on track for 30+ saves and has yet to allow a run across 9.1 innings while striking out 40% of the batters he faces. Peter Strzelecki has also had success as the team’s top setup man with Matt Bush on the IL. I’m not totally convinced he can keep this up because he sports a lackluster 17% K rate. Both have pitched consecutive days and could turn the ball over to Joel Payamps in the ninth on Sunday.
STL 0 – LAD 1
H: Evan Phillips (2)
SV: Brusdar Graterol (2)
- Jordan Hicks kept the game close, recording all three of his outs via the strikeout. He also threw the second-fastest pitch of the day – a 103.3 mph sinker. However, Génesis Cabrera was down three mph on his heater and that could be a concerning development.
- Evan Phillips was used in a high-leverage setup role which indicates Brusdar Graterol may be the preferred closing option. That order of operations wasn’t an option early on in the season due to Graterol’s slow start, but now that Brusdar is settled in, the Dodgers might deploy Phillips in more of a high-leverage role while Graterol plays traditional closer.
Best of the Rest
- The White Sox bullpen collapsed, allowing eight runs across just 2.2 innings to turn a close game into a blowout.
- The Rays used Yonny Chirinos as a bulk reliever following an opener. He tossed four innings of one-run ball with three strikeouts.
- Scott McGough continues to pitch well. After a shaky start, his last nine innings have consisted of just one run scoring with a 9/1 K/BB ratio. He seems adjusted to MLB.
- Pierce Johnson was used outside of a save situation on Saturday, all but cementing Daniel Bard as the closer in Colorado.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
The Hold Up: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday
Closing Time: Ranking the Top 30 Closers
Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues
(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)