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 was a full slate of 15 games on Saturday and we’ll see every team in action again on Sunday. The Cubs and Cardinals will play in London in Game 2 of the London Series.
- The Texas Rangers placed José Leclerc on the 15-day IL with a sprained right ankle. Yerry Rodríguez was recalled in a corresponding move but Joe Barlow will be the one to enter the chart as a holds option.
- Both Brandon Hughes and Codi Heuer were ruled out for the rest of the season with significant injuries.
SEA 4 – BAL 6
- Paul Sewald kept the game tied in the ninth as the teams pushed the game into extras. Andrés Muñoz recorded the first two outs in the seventh and has been lights out since returning from the IL. He’s tossed 5.2 scoreless frames with 11 strikeouts while allowing just one hit and two walks. He’s now up to nine scoreless innings on the season with a robust 40% strikeout rate. He’ll be one of the most reliable options in holds leagues and should be owned in the majority of save-only leagues because of the boosts he’ll provide in the ratio and strikeout departments.
- Félix Bautista blew his fifth save which forced the game into extra innings. Luckily his offense had his back and secured the win regardless. Yennier Cano also dropped his ERA further under 1.00. However, Danny Coulombe gets the spotlight here. Not only did he record hold number 15 in this one, but he lowered his ERA to 2.45 (25.2 IP). He’s been overshadowed by Cano as the out-of-nowhere breakout in Baltimore. The 33-year-old lefty is a weak contact machine, inducing the second-lowest hard contact rate (11.3%) amongst relievers. He’s not just a pitch-to-contact guy either, as he’s punched out 31.8% of the batters he’s faced and is adored by PLV. ERA estimators don’t see too much luck in his performance, so he’s a safe bet to trust for holds for the last three months of the season.
NYM 4 – PHI 2
SV: David Robertson (11)
- While David Robertson hasn’t been handed every save opportunity, when he does get them, he doesn’t waste them. The veteran reliever closed out his 11th save by recording the final five outs. He dropped his ERA to 1.64 (33 IP), which is the fifth-best mark amongst relievers with at least 30 innings pitched, and he’s done that while punching out 31.3% of batters. It remains to be seen if reinforcements will be brought in at the deadline, but until Edwin Diaz returns in September, this looks to be Roberston’s job when he’s not pitching high-leverage situations earlier in the game.
- Jeff Hoffman has been an interesting pitcher ever since being drafted ninth overall in the 2014 draft. The hype was renewed when he finally got out of Colorado, and while he was solid in Cincinnati, it wasn’t anything overwhelming. However, he’s reached a new level in Philadelphia this year. While his current 3.31 ERA (16.1 IP) isn’t anything overly special, he’s improved in many facets. The most notable is that he’s striking out more batters than ever, and after a scoreless, two-punchout outing on Saturday, he’s sporting a 31.4% strikeout rate, which would set a career-high by nearly eight percentage points. He’s also getting ground balls at an astonishing rate (60.5%). The increased strikeouts and grounders have helped him to produce the best ERA estimators of his career. The cause of the improved results is likely the overhaul he’s made to his repertoire. All of a sudden, he’s throwing three mph harder with his fastball (97 mph) and has completely changed the look of his slider which he’s thrown almost twice as often. This change is so drastic that it gives me confidence that the success will remain and he could be a key part of a very deep bullpen in Philly.
OAK 3 – TOR 7
SV: Jordan Romano (23)
- An opener was unsuccessfully deployed to set up for Hogan Harris. The young southpaw tossed 4.2 frames and allowed four runs on five hits and four walks while striking out six. He induced just six whiffs with a 25% CSW. The most notable occurrence on the A’s side was Shintaro Fujinami throwing two of the three fastest pitches on Saturday as the opener. He topped out at 101.6 mph with his four-seamer and was sitting 2.7 mph higher with that pitch across the entirety of the outing. He still gave up two runs on four hits, so even a massive boost in velocity was unable to make him an MLB-caliber reliever. He currently sports an obscene 10.57 ERA (38.1 IP). The stuff is there, he just needs to harness it.
- The Blue Jays did their best to get Jordan Romano a day off, but it went south when Yimi García allowed two runners on base with two outs in the ninth. The Bluebirds deployed Romano in an emergency situation to secure the final out and the win. With his 23rd save, Romano is now tied with Emmanuel Clase for the MLB lead. The right-hander has now pitched on consecutive days and in four of the last five so he’s almost guaranteed to sit out of Sunday’s contest. Erik Swanson should be the first name called upon if a save arises.
BOS 4 – CHW 5
H: Joe Kelly (9)
- After the Red Sox offense came back to tie the game in the top of the ninth, Kenley Jansen came aboard to force extras but was unable to do so. He surrendered two hits, one of which was a walk-off single to Elvis Andrus. The struggles continue for Jansen who got off to a hot start to the season with a 0.77 ERA and 9 SV through his first 11.2 innings. However, since May 12th, his numbers aren’t pretty. He owns a 4.91 ERA (14.2 IP) which is supported by a 5.27 xFIP and a 14/9 K/BB ratio. Interestingly enough, those numbers may be a bit misleading due to the small sample size. Jansen’s roller-coaster campaign has seen him turn things around again in recent outings. There was a seven-inning stretch from May 12th through June 3rd where Jansen allowed eight runs (seven earned) in seven frames while walking four more batters than he struck out. He must’ve figured out his mechanics, because since then and including Saturday, Jansen hasn’t walked anyone while striking out nine with just one earned run allowed (1.17 ERA). He may be inconsistent all year, but he has little competition and his struggles are usually mechanics-based, meaning they’re generally easy to fix. He’s now pitched on back-to-back days and in three of the last four, so Chris Martin should get the call in the ninth if necessary.
- Kendall Graveman was bailed out by Jansen’s poor performance. He blew his save in the top of the ninth but went home with a victory following the walk-off. The White Sox have many interesting options outside of Graveman and two of them pitched on Saturday. Gregory Santos was unscored upon in his outing and now sports a 2.75 ERA (39.1 IP). He’s very reminiscent of Brusdar Graterol given his 99 mph sinker, excellent command (4.8% BB%), propensity to induce ground balls (55.8%), and lackluster strikeout rate (23%). PLV believes he’s a top-10 reliever. He’s still just 23, so there’s even more room for him to grow into an even more dominant arm. Joe Kelly was the other interesting arm to appear. He has very similar skills to Santos but with a great strikeout rate (30.4%). His 4.13 ERA (24 IP) isn’t appealing but isn’t indicative of his skills. The 2.88 xFIP he owns is more in line with the way he’s pitched this year.
MIN 2 – DET 3
SV: Alex Lange (12)
- Emilio Pagán surprisingly has zero SV+HLDs this year despite recording 16 last year. His current 3.82 ERA (33 IP) suggests he’s been better than last year, but it’s misleading. Not only has his strikeout rate plummeted from 30.7% last year to just 21.5% this year, but he’s also gotten really lucky in the home run department. Pagan is famous for being a heavily homer-prone reliever, and while that hasn’t been the case this year, it’s because of a career-low 5.4% HR/FB ratio that will likely head north in the second half of the season. xFIP, which normalizes HR/FB ratio to the league average, suggests Pagan is more deserving of an ERA around 4.39. So while it’s not a big jump from his current mark, it’s pretty evident why the Twins haven’t entrusted him with high-leverage situations.
- The Tigers turned to Alex Lange for the final four outs on Saturday. He successfully converted the save while allowing just one baserunner and striking out the other four he faced. His curveball was on point in this one as it racked up five whiffs with a 53% CSW across 17 pitches. After a brief hiccup that saw Lange surrender 10 runs in a four-inning stretch, he seems to be back on track.
WSN 2 – SDP 0
SV: Hunter Harvey (5)
- We might be finally witnessing the official changing of the guard we’ve been waiting for since the pre-season. Despite Kyle Finnegan having turned things around to the tune of a 1.95 ERA (27.2 IP) after a couple of early blowups, Hunter Harvey seems to be taking over the closer role. He’s recorded each of the team’s last two saves with Finnegan pitching the eighth. Harvey’s numbers aren’t as sparkly as they were last year, but if he’s getting saves and doesn’t implode, he’s a worthy option in the majority of leagues.
- One of the big breakout relievers from last year is having an even better season this year. Steven Wilson broke out with a 3.06 ERA (53 IP), 1.06 WHIP, 24.8% K%, and six SV+HLDs in 2022, but has improved in every facet this year. He currently sports a 2.43 ERA (37 IP), 1.00 WHIP, 27.4% K%, and 16 holds. He’s already doubled his fWAR from last year. He’s a top-25 holds option right now and should be considered one of the more reliable options in baseball.
The best of the rest…
- Camilo Doval secured his 22nd save of the season and now has sole ownership of the NL lead in that category. He’s pitched in consecutive games and in three of the past four. Taylor Rogers is the least overworked late-inning reliever and would be the most likely to vulture a save on Sunday.
- Ron Marinaccio recorded his second save of the season after Clay Holmes (5th hold) closed out the eighth. This doesn’t seem to be a changing of the guard, but rather just a situation where Holmes was used in a high-leverage spot and wasn’t extended beyond his means. It may be worth keeping an eye on as Holmes has pitched outside of a save situation in the ninth in consecutive outings. Holmes has pitched in each of the past two days, so Michael King is likely set to be the interim closer on Sunday.
- Raisel Iglesias eked out his 11th save in Cincinnati. He worked around two solo shots by striking out the other three batters he faced. He has a 4.79 ERA (20.2 IP) but it comes with more optimistic ERA estimators that suggest better days in the future.
- David Bednar pitched the 9th and 10th in an eventual loss. He had a shot at locking down the win after his offense grabbed the lead in the top of the 10th, but he allowed the zombie runner to cross home, and thus, kept the game going. He’s appeared in each of the past two days and in three of the last four, so expect Dauri Moreta to be the first vulture save option on Sunday.
- Emmanuel Clase recorded his 23rd save to remain tied for the MLB lead in that category. He struck out two batters in the scoreless outing and has been looking unstoppable recently. The right-hander has reeled off 11.1 straight scoreless innings with a 38.1% K%.
- Evan Phillips locked down save number 10 on the season with a scoreless ninth against the rival Astros. After going nearly a month without a save, the right-hander has three saves in the past five days.
Bullpen Depth Charts
(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)