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
- The Mets and Braves took part in a doubleheader and the matchup between the Reds and Pirates was postponed. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will partake in a doubleheader on Sunday while the Royals and Cardinals have the day off.
- The Detroit Tigers reinstated Jason Foley from the bereavement list. He’ll retake his spot as the team’s setup man, knocking Trey Wingenter, who was demoted in a corresponding move, off of the chart.
- The Houston Astros placed Phil Maton on the 15-day IL with a right elbow contusion. Rafael Montero will enter the chart as a holds option. Parker Mushinski was recalled in a corresponding move and will become the team’s bulk reliever.
- The Kansas City Royals optioned Jonathan Heasley to the minors. Taylor Hearn will become a holds option.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Yency Almonte on the 15-day IL with a sprained right knee. Ryan Brasier has a 1.21 ERA (22.1 IP) since joining the Dodgers and will enter the chart as a holds option.
- The New York Mets designated Jimmy Yacabonis for assignment. Grant Hartwig will become the team’s bulk reliever.
- The Oakland Athletics demoted Sam Long to the minors. Kirby Snead will garner holds consideration.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates placed Carmen Mlodzinski on the 15-day IL with right elbow soreness. Jose Hernandez enters the holds conversation.
- It took two months for Adbert Alzolay to record two saves this year, but since the summer began, he’s been the official closer on the North Side. His 14 saves since the start of June are tied with Emmanuel Clase for the ninth-most in baseball. During that time, he’s also pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP to go with a 27.7% K-BB%, the 12th highest mark among relievers with at least 20 innings since June began. With the Cubs on fire in the second half, he’s firmly in the second tier of the closer rankings the rest of the way. Alzolay has pitched on consecutive days, so Mark Leiter Jr. should be the closer if a save arises on Sunday.
- With Jordan Romano still on the mend, we’re still attempting to suss out the interim closer. It seems to be Jordan Hicks‘ job now after Erik Swanson started out as the preferred option. Hicks didn’t come through on Saturday, surrendering a run in a tie game in the ninth, and was tagged with his seventh loss. It’s a small sample (5.2 IP), but since joining the Blue Jays, Hicks has struck out the same amount of batters (three) as runs given up.
DET 6 – BOS 2
SV: Jason Foley (5)
- The saga continues. With Jason Foley returning and immediately capturing a save, four different Tigers relievers have recorded a save in the past two weeks…and none of those have been Alex Lange. It looks like his time as closer might be officially coming to a close. We may have had a better idea of who the preferred option might be if Foley had been active the past week, but he seems to have the leg up over the competition due to his being the top setup option throughout the year. Rick Graham and I discussed the Tigers’ bullpen situation at length on the most recent episode of In The Pen.
- John Schreiber is back and is doing his thing. He struck out the side in order in his sole inning of work. He returned from the IL at the outset of August, and after a four-run blowup right out of the gates, he’s allowed just one baserunner in his last four outings. If you strike that awful outing from his record, the right-hander owns a 2.87 ERA (24.1 IP) which builds off the 2.22 mark (65 IP) he posted last year. His funky delivery makes him really difficult to hit, and he may be a sneaky holds option in leagues that forgot about him while he was on the shelf.
STL 5 – KCR 4
SV: JoJo Romero (2)
- JoJo Romero is becoming a name you should take note of. After Giovanny Gallegos struggled to complete the eighth, Romero came aboard to finish off the inning and then stayed on to close out the ninth. A failed reliever with the Phillies who pitched to a 7.89 ERA (21.2 IP) with the team from 2020 to 2022, Romero has performed completely differently with the Cardinals. Since landing with the team midway through last year, the 26-year-old southpaw owns a 3.86 ERA (42 IP). He actually has some interesting underlying metrics as well, so it’s not a circumstance of luck. His sinker has a 33.8% CSW (82nd percentile), his changeup has a 35.5% CSW (92nd percentile), and his slider has a 41.1% CSW (96th percentile). From a broader view, he’s elite at getting ground balls (57.7% GB%, 90th percentile) and is a swinging strike machine (16.1% CSW, 89th percentile). He’s an under-the-radar holds option for the remainder of the season and may continue to vulture the occasional save.
- The post-deadline closer situation is still undetermined in Kansas City. It seemed as though Carlos Hernández would be the easy choice to take over following the trade of Scott Barlow, but despite recording a save two days before the deadline, he has yet to record one since. The late innings have morphed into a closer committee, and things were further complicated on Saturday as Hernández pitched the ninth down by two. He might be the high-leverage arm in this relief corps which almost completely depletes his fantasy value in shallower leagues because of the team’s lack of wins, and thus save opportunities. He’s now pitched on back-to-back days but has thrown just 22 pitches in that time. It’s not a given he’s ruled out for Sunday, but you’ve got a better shot vulturing a save with Austin Cox or Nick Wittgren.
SDP 0 – ARI 3
SV: Paul Sewald (22)
- The Padres paired starter Rich Hill with Pedro Avila. The latter tossed 4.2 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just three hits while striking out two. He induced eight whiffs on 28% CSW with his changeup doing the most work, racking up five whiffs and 47% CSW. The 26-year-old now owns a 0.98 ERA through 18.1 innings. This is his fourth year in the Majors, but Saturday’s outing made it so that he’s pitched more innings in the bigs this year than he had in the previous three years combined. His four-seamer isn’t anything special, but his dual secondary combo is pretty nasty. The aforementioned changeup has a 97th-percentile, 31.8% swinging strike rate while his curve has an 80th-percentile, 37.2% CSW. He even throws a sinker to induce ground balls. He’s a swingman, but rarely do you see relievers with four-pitch arsenals. His current 3.12 xFIP suggests he’s been a little lucky this year, but he may be an out-of-nowhere breakout next year.
- Paul Sewald finally recorded his first save as a member of the Diamondbacks. He’s made just three appearances for the team but has proven to be a little unstable, with scoreless outings sandwiching a three-run appearance. The Diamondbacks have fallen off dramatically from their hot first half, so saves may be hard to come by the rest of the way. Don’t lose faith in Sewald though – he’s one of the best relievers in baseball despite what casuals might tell you.
BAL 1 – SEA 0
- Félix Bautista pitched a clean ninth in a tie game and then stayed on for the 10th after his team took the lead. He secured the victory with a scoreless tenth and earned his seventh win in the process. We also saw Jacob Webb pitch for the third time since landing with the Orioles. They seem to be making a change to his pitch mix despite his success with the Angels. They’re having him lean on his slider more in deference to his changeup – an opposite strategy from the one he employed in LA. PLV likes the slider a lot more and it also adores his heater. The pitch is in the 91st percentile among heaters and has been elite at inducing whiffs despite run-of-the-mill mid-90s velocity. He’s got a shot to quickly climb the holds ladder in Baltimore.
- The Mariners’ offense failed George Kirby. The man could get no help, tossing nine shutout innings, but left without a win. Then in the tenth, Andrés Muñoz surrendered what would wind up being the deciding run. Despite Saturday’s performance, Muñoz has been great since becoming the sole proprietor of the ninth inning in Seattle. With some of the best stuff in baseball and the results to back it up, he’s a top-10 closing option the rest of the way.
Best of the Rest
- Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth in the second half of the doubleheader versus the Mets. The Braves held a six-run lead at the time, but it would’ve been just four had they not tacked on two additional runs in the top half of the ninth. It seems as though he was used to preserve the middle relief options in the midst of a doubleheader.
- Emmanuel Clase blew his ninth save on Saturday, surrendering three runs and a walk-off in the ninth. He was tagged with his seventh loss.
- Kyle Finnegan pitched the ninth in a tie game and earned his sixth win after the Nationals hit a walk-off homer in the bottom half. Austin Pruitt (fourth hold) and Kirby Snead (second hold) each earned a hold on the other side before their teammates blew the lead.
- Devin Williams earned his 28th save, recording all three of his outs via the strikeout. His 1.36 ERA (46.1 IP) is the third-lowest in baseball among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched. Hoby Milner and Elvis Peguero notched their 12th and 16th holds respectively as they set up for the closer. Williams has now pitched on consecutive days and in four of the past five, so Joel Payamps will likely be the go-to option on Sunday.
- Evan Phillips struck out the side in order on his way to his 17th save of the season. Ryan Brasier recorded his fourth hold and Brusdar Graterol his 15th prior to Phillips locking down the win.
Bullpen Depth Charts