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
- To prepare for the beginning of the second half of the 2023 campaign, I felt it most useful to run through every team’s bullpen, identify key storylines, and update the chart. Below, you’ll find important questions, facts, or threads that’ll be top of mind for each relief corps.
- Every team will be in action all weekend with the Padres and Phillies being the only teams with four games scheduled due to a doubleheader on Saturday.
- The Atlanta Braves placed Nick Anderson on the 60-day IL with a right shoulder strain. He won’t be eligible to return to the field until the final couple of weeks of the season.
- Can Yennier Cano repeat his All-Star caliber first half? Since surrendering his first run on May 19th, the right-hander owns a 3.00 ERA (21 IP), a 1.62 WHIP, and just a 14.1% K%.
- Félix Bautista owns the best ERA (1.07) in baseball among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. He also owns the highest strikeout rate (50.9%) among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched.
- Kenley Jansen could move into the top five on the all-time saves leaderboard. He’s 12 saves away from surpassing Billy Wagner and 14 away from surpassing John Franco.
- Will any of the lesser-known names in the bullpen make a name for themselves? Brennan Bernardino has a 2.51 ERA (28.2 IP) and a 25.7% K% while inducing ground balls 57.3% of the time.
- Can anyone match the Yankees’ top four relief arms? The quartet of Clay Holmes (2.23 ERA, 31.8% K%, 10 SV), Michael King (2.77 ERA, 25.4% K%, 6 SV), Wandy Peralta (2.62 ERA, 19% K%, 4 SV), and Tommy Kahnle (0.00 ERA, 29.8% K%, 1 SV) were incredible in the first half. Just wait until Jonathan Loáisiga returns in August.
- Speaking of Kahnle, how deep into the second half do we start considering the possibility that he might go unscored upon for the entire season?
- Pete Fairbanks owns a 1.31 ERA across his past 41.1 innings of work spanning 2022 and ’23. That mark is tied with Edwin Diaz for the lowest among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched across the past two seasons.
- Which random reliever do the Rays acquire at the deadline will turn out to be a key member of their October arm barn? My money’s on someone like Chasen Shreve or Chris Stratton.
- Erik Swanson currently leads the Majors with 21 holds. However, since mid-May, he’s pitched to a 4.84 ERA (22.1 IP) and a 1.21 WHIP.
- Will Nate Pearson be trusted with high-leverage work? The young flamethrower has been great this year but has generated just one save and hold apiece.
- The White Sox will be sellers at the deadline, but who will be left standing after all is said and done? Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo López, and Keynan Middleton are all set to be free agents in the next two years.
- Gregory Santos has a 2.76 ERA (45.2 IP), averages almost 99 mph with his fastball, and is just 23 years old. This may be his chance to start proving himself as the closer of the future.
- When will James Karinchak return from the minor leagues? He was mysteriously optioned to Triple-A in early June and pitched to a 2.25 ERA (8 IP) with a 46.9% K% rate during his time there.
- Eli Morgan owns a 2.38 ERA (79.1 IP) in the first half across the past two campaigns. Unfortunately, it was 4.26 (25.1 IP) in the second half last year and he sports a 3.79 xFIP this year.
- Who’s on the trade block? The pickings are slim, but if Alex Lange or Jason Foley is on the board, the Tigers may be able to get a relatively significant haul.
- Speaking of Lange, he has a 9.45 ERA (13.1 IP) since the start of June. Foley could take over the role if Lange continues to falter.
- With Aroldis Chapman already dealt, is Scott Barlow next? He has one more year of control, but that may help maximize the return.
- Carlos Hernández is primed to soar up the SV+HLD leaderboards after recording just five holds in the first half. Even if Barlow isn’t traded, he’ll be the top setup option. He added two mph to his heater this year and is averaging over 99 mph with the pitch.
- Will Emilio Pagán ever record a save or hold? After recording at least 16 in every full season since the start of 2019, the right-hander currently sits with a goose egg in that category.
- When Caleb Thielbar and Brock Stewart return to full health, the late-inning quartet that also includes Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax will feature four pitchers with sub-3.00 ERAs and strikeout rates equal to or surpassing 24.8%.
- Since joining the Astros at the 2018 trade deadline, Ryan Pressly has a 2.41 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP across 250.1 innings pitched. After a slow start, he has a 1.59 ERA (34 IP) since April 18th.
- Can they fix Rafael Montero? After breaking out with a 2.37 ERA (68.1 IP) in 2022 and earning a multi-year deal this past offseason, the veteran righty has struggled to an ERA over 6.00 with few signs pointing to him returning to his old self.
- Can Carlos Estévez hold onto his job? He made the All-Star team and has a 1.80 ERA (35 IP), but his 4.19 xFIP hints at a second half that may be unfruitful.
- José Soriano is just 24 years old and has pitched just 14 innings in the Majors, but his 37.7% K% is in the top 10 among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched.
- Has Trevor May done enough to be worth trading? While he does have six saves, he currently has handed out more free passes (20) than strikeouts (19).
- Shintaro Fujinami struggled to start his career stateside. He might finally be nailing down his control with just one walk to 13 strikeouts across his last 11 innings pitched.
- Will Matt Brash’s luck turn around? His 38% K% is the third-highest among relievers and his 2.47 SIERA is more than a full run below his 3.50 ERA (36 IP). There’s an elite pitcher in there just waiting to explode.
- Could the Mariners become sellers? If so, is Paul Sewald on the move? He’s set to be a free agent after the 2024 campaign and could fetch a hefty return.
- Will Smith has been one of the most surprising closers this year, but can he stave off Aroldis Chapman’s resurgent campaign to maintain the closer role? This may be a debate that is being had internally between the manager and the front office.
- Josh Sborz had a 2.62 ERA (34.1 IP) and a 28.7% K-BB% before a rough stretch ruined his numbers heading into the break. He will be a key contributor to the success of the arm barn in the second half.
- Finally fully healthy for the first time since 2019, Kirby Yates is still a great pitcher, even at the age of 36. Since May 22nd, he has a 2.55 ERA (17.2 IP) and a 28.6% K-BB% and will be leaned on even more with Nick Anderson likely done for the season.
- Can Jesse Chavez return from the IL with the same vigor he showed in the first half? The veteran right was putting up the best season of his career prior to a shin injury. His presence in the bullpen creates envious amounts of depth.
- Will A.J. Puk be able to hold onto the closer role? The southpaw has pitched to a 5.02 ERA (14.1 IP) since returning from the IL on June 7th. The Marlins are in the middle of a playoff run and will not fool around.
- Tanner Scott had a 14.2% walk rate entering this year and is currently sporting a walk rate below 10% in 2023. Since May 14th, he’s pitched to a 1.38 ERA with a 41.2% K% and a walk rate below 8%.
- The Mets have already added one bullpen arm via trade. Will they double-dip and continue to claw at a Wild Card spot?
- Since breaking into the Majors in 2008, David Robertson has the fourth-lowest ERA (min. 750 IP) in baseball at 2.84. He trails only Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Jacob deGrom.
- Craig Kimbrel is just 14 saves away from surpassing Billy Wagner and 16 away from surpassing John Franco. Will he end the year with more career saves than Kenley Jansen?
- Jeff Hoffman is quietly having a breakout campaign. His 34.5% K% is more than 14 points above his career rate entering this year and has resulted in a 2.53 ERA (21.1 IP) supported by a 2.63 xFIP.
- Could Kyle Finnegan reclaim the closer role in the second half? This is Hunter Harvey’s job to lose, but after a rough open to the season, Finnegan has a 1.80 ERA (35 IP) since April 7th.
- Don’t sleep on Jordan Weems. The right-hander is sporting a 2.21 ERA (20.1 IP) and a 0.89 WHIP.
- Julian Merryweather has pitched to a 1.69 ERA (32 IP) while striking out a third of the batters he’s faced since April 17th. He will be an under-the-radar riser in the holds ranks in the second half.
- There still seems to be a lack of consensus on who the closer is on the North Side. Will Adbert Alzolay run away with the role in the second half or will Mark Leiter Jr. continue to be a contender?
- Will the Reds shop to lengthen their relief corps? They’ve done a great job producing solid relievers out of thin air and the back of the bullpen seems reliable, but would a few household names give the team more confidence in close games in October?
- During his first 25.1 innings pitched, Alexis Díaz struck out 48.5% of the batters he faced. Across his next 14.2 innings, he struck out just 20.3% of batters. He may just be experiencing fatigue, but this could also be the league figuring out the book on him.
- The Brew Crew promoted Abner Uribe right before the break. The 23-year-old right-hander can surpass 100 mph with his heater and struck out 42.3% of batters he faced across two levels in the minors this year.
- Is Joel Payamps legit? He’s been a reliable reliable reliever across the past couple of years but has been untouchable this year with a 1.91 ERA (42.1 IP) thanks to a massive jump to a 23.2% K-BB%.
- Is now the best time to sell high on David Bednar? He’s not a free agent until after the 2026 campaign, but his value has got to be at an all-time high and the Pirates aren’t guaranteed to be contenders next year.
- Speaking of Bednar, his 3.53 xFIP is more than two runs higher than his 1.27 ERA (35.1 IP). Additionally, after saving nine ballgames in April alone, he’s closed out just eight ballgames since then as the Pirates have cooled off dramatically. It could be a rocky second half for the Yinzer.
- Where does Jordan Hicks land? A free agent this upcoming offseason, Hicks is all but guaranteed to be dealt. He’s having a career-best campaign and could be the hottest relief commodity on the trade block in the next two weeks.
- After opening the year with just one walk to 17 strikeouts across his first 9.2 innings of work, Génesis Cabrera has an 18/17 K/BB ratio across 21 innings since then. That is much more in line with the standards he’s set in previous seasons.
- Following some early struggles, Scott McGough has been lights out. Since May 9th, he owns a 1.16 ERA (31 IP), a 0.94 WHIP, and a 33.6% K%. It seems like it just took him a while to get a feel for pitching back in the States.
- Will Justin Martinez break out? A 21-year-old right-hander, Martinez posted a 3.77 ERA (31 IP) with a 29.3% K% while inducing ground balls at a 58.5% rate, a top-10 mark at Triple-A. At his age, he’s got so much room to grow.
- Jake Bird has been the reliever workhorse. His 55.1 innings pitched leads relievers and he’s in the top 10 with 42 appearances. He’s done all that with a 3.42 ERA (55.1 IP) while calling Coors Field home.
- Can Justin Lawrence hold onto the closer role? The Rockies love to mess around but Lawrence has clearly been the team’s best reliever. Just like Daniel Bard last year, Colorado closers can actually have fantasy relevance.
- The bullpen has clearly not lived up to its lofty standards. Will the front office supplement the arm barn with a big name at the deadline or Blake Treinen’s return from the IL act as a midseason acquisition?
- Brusdar Graterol has been one of the most reliable relievers in baseball. With a 1.85 ERA (39 IP) the only thing missing from his game is strikeouts. At the rate he throws strikes and gets grounders, I’m not sure he’ll ever really need to get strikeouts to continue being good.
- Will Josh Hader have his usual struggles in August? It’s widely known that August is a tough month for Hader and he had extended struggles in the latter half of the 2022 campaign, but there’s a shot he punts that trend and just dominates through the end of the season.
- The Padres have three relievers on the IL that could be difference-makers if they all return this year. Steven Wilson (2.43 ERA), Robert Suarez (2.27 ERA in 2022), and Drew Pomeranz (1.62 ERA from 2020-21) could take this bullpen from merely solid to great.
- Tyler Rogers currently leads the National League with 20 holds. Since the start of 2020, no one has more holds than Rogers’ 75.
- Will Tyler share any holds with his brother? After a rocky start, the southpaw Taylor Rogers has a 1.35 ERA (26.2 IP) with a 35.9% K%. He has just four holds and one save.
Bullpen Depth Charts