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
- There were 15 games on Saturday, but the matchup between the Nationals and Mets was suspended due to rain. They’ll pick the game back up on Sunday, a day in which we’ll see 16 games occur.
TBR 8 – NYY 9
W: Jimmy Cordero (3)
H: Ron Marinaccio (4), Clay Holmes (2)
SV: Wandy Peralta (2)
- Javy Guerra recorded just one out for the Rays on Saturday, and I can’t help but think he’s their next breakout reliever. He features elite velocity, averaging 98 mph with his fastball, and just needs to throw more pitches in the zone to reach that next level. His strikeout (14.5%) and walk (14.1%) rates are nearly identical for his career, pointing out his clear inability to strike batters out and avoid free passes, but I trust the Rays to make something of him. It might be a long shot but don’t say I didn’t tell you so when he finally begins to dominate.
- That’s now back-to-back days with a save for Wandy Peralta. We already knew Clay Holmes was moving into a setup role, but it originally looked as though Michael King would be the first man up to take that opportunity. Now it looks like Aaron Boone is turning to the southpaw. It wasn’t even a result of lefties due up in the ninth as Peralta faced a lefty and three righties on Friday before facing a switch hitter, two righties, and a lefty on Saturday. Peralta has pitched to a 1.76 ERA (15.1 IP) with a 25.4% strikeout rate, so it’s not like he doesn’t deserve this opportunity, it’s just that at 31 years old, I don’t think anyone expected him to become the closer in the Bronx. King may get another save opportunity on Sunday with both Peralta and Holmes having pitched on consecutive days.
CIN 6 – MIA 5
W: Ian Gibaut (3)
H: Buck Farmer (3), Lucas Sims (3), Casey Legumina (1)
SV: Alexis Díaz (9)
BS: Ian Gibaut (3)
- The Reds did their best to try to blow their victory but the offense wasn’t having it. The bats saved the arm barn by scoring three runs in the eighth to set Alexis Díaz up for a five-out save. He worked around a hit, three walks, and a run to record save number nine. The right-hander has struck out a bonkers 50% of the batters he’s faced this year and currently leads the majors in that category (min. 10 IP). Lucas Sims has also been excellent and has yet to permit a run across 10.1 innings since returning from the IL on April 19th. He and Yennier Cano are the only pitchers with a pristine ERA through at least 10 innings this year. Sims should be the first man called upon in the ninth on Sunday with Diaz having pitched in each of the past two games.
- A change of scenery for Matt Barnes has not done the trick to rekindle the skills he’s lost in the past couple of years. Formerly one of the premier strikeout pitchers in baseball, fanning 36.7% of batters from 2018-21, Barnes has become mediocre in that category, striking out just 19.9% of batters since the start of 2022. It might be time to stop hoping he somehow figures things out and enters the holds conversation in Miami.
ATL 2 – TOR 5
W: Erik Swanson (2)
L: A.J. Minter (5)
SV: Jordan Romano (10)
- The tough year for A.J. Minter continued on Saturday. He surrendered two runs on three hits and was stuck with his fifth loss already. His ERA now sits at an atrocious 8.05 (19 IP) and I think he’s been really unlucky this year. His underlying metrics look fine but he’s been unable to strand runners, leading to a fifth percentile, 45% left on base rate. His BABIP against is also all the way up at .370, and as a flyball pitcher, an increase in baserunners can make every homer sting. I think he’s a buy-low in holds leagues but he may receive a high-leverage break from the Braves until he gets his head straight following these unfortunate events.
- At this point, there’s nothing to suggest Jordan Romano is going to slow down any time soon. He’s above average across the board and pitches for one of the better teams in baseball and seems to be fully trusted as the team’s clear-cut closer. Managers rostering Romano shouldn’t have any concerns that things will change. However, I did dub him as the locked-in closer that could lose his job by August in the most recent episode of In The Pen. It’s mostly because I don’t think he’s as dominant as other elite closers and that he actually has capable competition in Erik Swanson and Nate Pearson, so any extended struggles could force a playoff-focused Blue Jays team to pivot quickly.
STL 4 – BOS 3
W: Andre Pallante (2)
L: Kenley Jansen (2)
SV: Giovanny Gallegos (3)
BS: Kenley Jansen (3)
- With Ryan Helsley having pitched two innings on Friday, Giovanny Gallegos was called upon when a save arose in the ninth. He got the job done and is one of the better handcuffs in baseball considering how often he gets the opportunity to vulture saves. However, I’m skeptical that his success (2.45 ERA, 14.2 IP) will continue. The main culprit is a massive reduction in strikeout ability. From 2019-22, Gallegos struck out 32% of the batters he faced. Now, out of nowhere, he’s fanning just 21.1% of batters, a far cry from his heyday. While he’s made up for it slightly by walking fewer batters, relying so heavily on balls in play is a dangerous game.
- After touching 98 mph with his heater on Wednesday and garnering attention for recording his 400th save, Kenley Jansen has blown saves in back-to-back games. On Saturday, he couldn’t throw strikes, walking three batters and allowing one hit, which pushed home three runs (two earned) and sent home Red Sox fans in a bad mood again. His role isn’t in jeopardy, but he’ll get a couple of days of rest and will cede closing duties to one of Chris Martin or John Schreiber during that time.
LAA 6 – CLE 8
W: Eli Morgan (2)
L: Ryan Tepera (2)
H: Chris Devenski (3), Andrew Wantz (2)
SV: Trevor Stephan (2)
BS: Ryan Tepera (2)
- The Angels’ arm barn failed to do its job on Saturday. Andrew Wantz and Ryan Tepera combined to give up six runs to turn the tides of the game in the eighth. Outside of Carlos Estévez, the reinforcements in Anaheim are weak. Chris Devenski has actually been pretty interesting. He was once one of the better setup men in baseball when pitching in Houston, but the righty has tossed just 25.2 innings in the past three years. This year, he’s stayed healthy and pitched to a 2.89 ERA (9.1 IP) with a 28.1% K% and is emerging as the top right-handed setup option for the Angels.
- With a newfound lead, the Guardians turned to Trevor Stephan with Emmanuel Clase resting after throwing 27 pitches on Friday. It’s interesting that Stephan seems to be the go-to vulture candidate as that has been James Karinchak’s job for a couple of years now. Stephan is now up to two saves, and after early velocity struggles, he looks to be back on track. Since the start of 2022, the right-hander owns a 2.46 ERA (80.1 IP) with a 29.7% K% as one of the most underrated setup men across the league.
KCR 3 – MIL 4
W: Devin Williams (3)
L: Carlos Hernández (1)
BS: Josh Taylor (1)
- Aroldis Chapman continues to throw gas. He unleashed the five fastest pitches on Saturday, topping out at 103.5 mph with his heater. At that velocity, it’s hard to argue he’s not the best reliever in Kansas City. I still believe it’s only a matter of time before Scott Barlow loses his job. It’s still not too late to get out from under that disaster waiting to happen.
- Devin Williams has rarely gotten to pitch this year, but when he has pitched, he’s been his classic, dominant self. The Brewers threw him in a tie game in the ninth and he took home the dub when the Brewers walked it off in the bottom half. He’s pitched just 12.1 innings this year, but he’s made the most of them, with a 0.73 ERA and a 37.8% K%. He’ll have a month where he rattles off 10 saves and makes you feel dope for rostering him.
HOU 1 – CHW 3
W: Joe Kelly (1)
L: Rafael Montero (3)
H: Reynaldo López (3)
SV: Kendall Graveman (2)
BS: Joe Kelly (1)
- With the game tied in the eighth, Rafael Montero took the loss by permitting three hits and two runs to score. The right-hander who signed a three-year, $34.5 million contract this offseason following a breakout 2022 campaign has been unable to replicate his success. He’s sporting an astronomical 6.89 ERA (15.2 IP) but may actually be getting really unlucky. His .444 BABIP against will regress and if he maintains his current 19.2% K-BB%, he’ll be just fine throughout the season. It’s just a matter of regaining the trust of his manager after the rough start.
- Kendall Graveman has now recorded each of the last two saves for the White Sox and looks to be the closer until the long-awaited return of Liam Hendriks. Graveman is currently in the midst of a five-inning scoreless streak, which is nothing special, but it does stand out in a bullpen that has struggled to find consistency all year. It may only be for a few more weeks, but Graveman might be worth rostering during that time to squeeze the last drops of save juice out of this Hendriks-less relief corps.
PHI 7 – COL 4
W: Connor Brogdon (2)
H: Andrew Bellatti (1), Jeff Hoffman (1)
SV: Gregory Soto (1)
- With Craig Kimbrel resting after heavy usage this past week, Gregory Soto was the first option in the ninth. With José Alvarado on the IL, it looks like the hierarchy in Philadelphia is as follows: 1. Kimbrel, 2. Soto, 3. Seranthony Domínguez. Do with that information what you will, but Kimbrel may be the best option in saves leagues because the saves will outweigh the poor ratios. Soto should be the best option in SV+HLD leagues because he’ll be the top setup option and first vulture candidate while pitching to the best ratios and strikeouts.
- Down by one in the ninth, the Rockies oddly turned to Pierce Johnson. He didn’t appreciate the usage and promptly surrendered a two-run homer to Bryce Harper. Rostering Johnson will be a headache all year, not only because he pitches in Coors, but also because the Rockies are dumb and will use him at weird and inopportune times.
Best of the Rest
- Justin Topa recorded his eighth hold for the Mariners. He’s gone eight straight innings without surrendering a run and now owns a 1.06 ERA (17 IP) with a 24.2% K% in an out-of-nowhere age-32 breakout.
- Despite losing 11-1, the Cubs turned to a few of their high-leverage arms. Brandon Hughes, Brad Boxberger, and Michael Fulmer each pitched. Only Fulmer came away unscathed, but he recorded just one out. I don’t think this means they’re out of the running for saves, but it doesn’t give me confidence that they’re the preferred bunch.
- Félix Bautista recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout on his way to securing his 10th save of the season. Yennier Cano also extended his scoreless innings streak, pushing it to 19.2 IP to start the season. They combine to create arguably the best 1-2 bullpen punch in MLB at the moment. Bautista has pitched on consecutive days, so Cano or Bryan Baker could close on Sunday.
- The Dodgers used Evan Phillips (third hold) in the eighth and turned to Brusdar Graterol (fourth hold) for the save in the ninth. After two quick outs, he allowed two singles which forced manager Dave Roberts to turn to Caleb Ferguson to face left-handed hitter Jake Cronenworth. He struck out his man to record his first save since 2018. It’ll likely be Graterol in the ninth again with Phillips having pitched on each of the past two days.
- Andrew Chafin recorded his third hold getting the final out of the eighth. At this point, it’s difficult to tell if he’s being used in a fireman role or if he’s just not the closer anymore. Miguel Castro earned the save on Friday, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s called upon again with Chafin resting after pitching on back-to-back days.
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)