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
- Every team was in action on Friday and 15 games are set to be played on Saturday.
- The Twins placed southpaw Caleb Thielbar on the 15-day IL with a strained right oblique. Those injuries usually have an extended timeline, so he’ll likely miss more than the minimum. Jovani Moran will replace him on the chart as a holds option.
- Stephen Nogosek was designated for assignment by the Mets. Zach Muckenhirn was recalled and will be the new bulk reliever in Queens.
- The Phillies activated left-hander José Alvarado from the 15-day IL. He missed about a month with left elbow inflammation. He was one of, if not, the best reliever in baseball prior to the injury, pitching to a 0.63 ERA across 14.1 innings with 24 strikeouts to no walks. He may not get all of the save chances, but he’ll definitely be a factor in Philadelphia. Connor Brogdon was optioned to the minors in a corresponding move.
- Anthony Bass was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays after a tumultuous season. He’ll be replaced by Tim Mayza on the chart.
KCR 2 – BAL 3
SV: Félix Bautista (17)
- Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Hernández pitched the final two frames for the Royals. The former unleashed the fastest pitch of day, hitting 103.1 mph with his heater, and recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout. The latter is quietly on an extended stretch of dominance. He hasn’t walked a single batter in his last 14 innings while punching out 20. His ERA is only 3.85 during that time, but I expect future success if he’s able to maintain similar control. Hernandez has always struggled with control in the past (11.3% career BB% entering 2023), so this is definitely an interesting development.
- Yennier Cano may no longer have a pristine ERA, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t continued to be successful. Since surrendering his first run on May 19th, he’s pitched to a 2.92 ERA (12.1 IP). The only problem is, his K/BB ratio is 8/4 after being 25/0 through his first 21.2 innings pitched. It could just be a cold streak for Cano, but K/BB ratio is a simple, yet effective, indicator of a pitcher’s effectiveness. Both he and Félix Bautista have pitched on back-to-back days and in three of the last four, so expect Bryan Baker to get the ninth if necessary today.
HOU 9 – CLE 10
- A thrilling back-and-forth affair between the Astros and Guardians lasted 14 innings and saw a combined 13 relievers pitch. The Astros turned to Ryan Pressly in the ninth, but he blew his save after surrendering a run on a hit and a walk. Hector Neris set up for Pressly in this one and has been somewhat unheralded as an elite reliever this year. He currently holds a 1.38 ERA (26 IP), but one major concern has been the reinvolvement of his walk issues. They were what pushed him out of Philadelphia and were a big part of his recovery in Houston last year. He’s currently walking more than 11% of batters, which would be a career-high, and he’s not making up for it in the strikeout rate department, with a five-year low of 28.8% there. I wouldn’t get too sucked into the low ERA and the high number of holds.
- The Guardians also didn’t save their closer for a save situation. Emmanuel Clase pitched a perfect 10th to keep the game tied. It’s been great to see him get back on track after a shaky start to the season. Through May 19th, the right-hander had just 15 strikeouts in 23 innings (15.3% K%) and it seemed as though his 3.52 ERA was destined to decline. He’s finally regained his usual form with two strikeout outings four times since then. He had gone more than a month without striking out multiple batters in an appearance. Since May 22nd, he’s struck out 12 batters in eight innings (40% K%) and has allowed just one run during that time (1.13 ERA). He should be considered one of the best closing options for the rest of the season.
WSN 2 – ATL 3
SV: Raisel Iglesias (9)
- I’m still not sure how Kyle Finnegan hasn’t lost the closer role yet. He blew another save on Friday and is up to five blown saves now. His ERA sits at 4.74 (24.2 IP) and comes with few redeeming qualities as he’s striking out fewer than 24% of batters and walking batters at a double-digit rate. He also gives up hard contact like it’s his job. Hunter Harvey would’ve likely taken over the role by now if not for the Nationals providing zero save opportunities over the last week. We’ll soon find out if this outing was the final straw for Finnegan.
- I think Raisel Iglesias has settled back into pitching in the majors. After missing the first month of the season, he has already racked up nine saves. After a slightly bumpy first few outings, he’s been nearly untouchable. Since May 17th, the right-hander has tossed 11.1 with 12 strikeouts, no earned runs, and just two hits allowed. The walks may be a little high compared to years past, but those will come down as he continues to settle in. Iglesias has appeared on consecutive days and in three of the past four, so expect Nick Anderson or A.J. Minter to fill in depending on the matchup in the ninth.
OAK 5 – MIL 2
H: Lucas Erceg (1)
SV: Trevor May (2)
- Trevor May recorded just his second save this season. It’s understandable given the state of the A’s and the fact that May had an extended IL stint, but both saves have come in the past three days. Since returning, he’s allowed just one run in 8.2 innings, but it comes with just five strikeouts. I’m glad to see him gaining his confidence back, but there likely won’t be many more save chances this year and May is almost guaranteed to be traded at the deadline.
- Bryse Wilson is having such an interesting season for the Brewers. Not only has he been the team’s go-to vulture saves candidate, but he also has multiple three-inning saves. Additionally, he’s continued to have success recently even though he forgot how to strike hitters out. Prior to tonight’s two-strikeout performance, Wilson had tossed seven and two-thirds consecutive innings without fanning a batter yet only surrendered two earned runs during that time. Overall, his 19.1% K% is a career-high but is well below the league average. I do like his usage and his success this year has been welcomed, but there’s not much in his profile suggesting that he’s going to keep this up for the final few months of the season.
SEA 4 – LAA 5
H: Sam Bachman (1)
SV: Carlos Estévez (17)
- Everyone’s talking about Gabe Speier…and by everyone I mean me. He is another random arm that the Mariners have transformed into an elite reliever. The 28-year-old was a member of three different organizations before catching on with the Mariners. He actually had success with the Royals across the past two seasons (2.00 ERA, 27 IP), but was never given a large enough role. Now the top left-handed option in Seattle, Speier is displaying exceptional command (2.4% BB%) and the ability to induce plenty of ground balls (63.3%). That’s a great recipe for success, especially for a guy that doesn’t need to be relied on heavily because of a solid supporting cast.
- While Carlos Estévez racked up another save and is currently tied for second in the majors in that category, we’re going to focus on Sam Bachman. The ninth overall pick in the 2021 draft, the 23-year-old made his debut towards the end of May despite pitching to an ERA over 5.00 across six starts at Double-A. Since his debut, his ERA looks great (1.13, 8 IP), but the numbers under the hood are confusing. His K/BB ratio is ugly as he’s walked the same number of batters (seven) as he’s struck out. He’s somehow worked around all of the extra baserunners because of a 61.1% ground ball rate while inducing plenty of weak contact. The walks aren’t sustainable, but if he can find a way to reign them in, I think we have the makings of a good reliever.
The Best of the Rest…
- Miguel Castro was brought on with two down in the ninth after the Tigers began to mount a comeback. It was a six-run lead, so it was weird to see Torey Lovullo turn straight to the closer committee, but Castro needed some work having not pitched since Sunday.
- David Bednar also appeared in a weird yet similar situation to Castro. He came in to halt an attempted comeback by the Mets with just one out to go. His lead was even larger, sitting at 11 runs. He also hadn’t worked since Sunday, so this was also a maintenance outing.
- Kenley Jansen closed out a win for the Red Sox against the rival Yankees. He worked around two hits and is up to 14 saves on the year. Chris Martin (12th hold) and Nick Pivetta (first hold), also recorded holds in this one.
- Jhoan Duran pitched the final two frames of a tie ballgame for the Twins and ultimately went home with a victory when his team took the lead in the top half of the 10th. It was his second win of the year and wasn’t the only decision made by the Twins’ arm barn. Jovani Moran also recorded hold number seven.
- Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth inning of a tie game and went home with the win after the White Sox walked it off. It’s only a matter of time before he receives all of the save opportunities.
- Giovanny Gallegos secured the final four outs to earn his eighth save. It’s a legitimate 50/50 split between him and Ryan Helsley for closing duties. Andre Pallante also recorded his fifth hold.
- Josh Hader recorded his 14th save with a scoreless ninth. He lowered his ERA to 1.48 (24.1 IP) in the process.
- Adbert Alzolay struck out two in a perfect ninth to notch his third save. He’s now tied in that category for the team lead with Mark Leiter Jr. who pitched the eight to earn his 10th hold. Alzolay has pitched on consecutive days, so it should be Leiter Jr.’s shot to get back on top.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)