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
- No team has an off day over the final three days of the season, but TEX, NYY, DET, and SEA have double-headers on Tuesday.
- Only PHI and MIL are still fighting for a playoff spot while ATL and NYM are locked in a division race and TOR, SEA, and TBR are fighting for wildcard positioning. All other teams have their postseason fates already sealed. Expect those still in races to be aggressive in using their top arms while those who are out of it might avoid heavy usage and spread the load more evenly.
- Clay Holmes is unlikely to pitch again in the regular season, but is hoping to be available for the playoffs. There may be a stray save out there in the final series for Lou Trivino or Scott Effross.
- The Pirates placed Wil Crowe on the IL, ending his season. His saves window had closed with the return of David Bednar.
MIN 2 – DET 5
- Jorge López was used in the 7th inning here and Michael Fulmer the 8th as it becomes increasingly clear who the top reliever for the Twins going into 2023 is. López will likely be back on an arbitration deal and I imagine we will have some debate about who the closer is in Minnesota. If Jhoan Duran looks in Spring Training anywhere close to how he’s looked in the second half this year, it will be his job to lose.
- Gregory Soto sealed his first 30-save season of his career with a flawless inning on Sunday. He had an extremely rough August that was mainly weighed down by two outings in which he allowed eight earned runs while recording three outs, but he didn’t have an ERA over 3.20 in any month other than that. His walk rate has hovered around 13% pretty consistently the past few years and that will mean he’s not going to be a ratios anchor like the top closers, especially in WHIP where he likely hurts you, but the Tigers play in enough close games and Soto has enough positive qualities to be a good RP2 going into next year.
PHI 8 – WSH 1 (F/7)
- This game was called after just six innings of play, so neither team got deep into their bullpen. Andrew Bellatti for the Phillies and Jordan Weems for the Nationals each pitched before the game was called.
BAL 3 – NYY 1
- Félix Bautista was again unavailable for this game due to knee soreness, so Dillon Tate came on to seal the game for his fifth save of the season. Bryan Baker also logged a two-inning hold to lower his second-half ERA to 2.79. Yet another breakout Orioles reliever in what has been one of the most drastic bullpen turnarounds in recent memory.
- Three more walks for Aroldis Chapman in this one bringing his season total to 28 in 35.1 IPs as he allowed two earned runs and took the loss bringing his status on the playoff roster into question. After a terrible first half, we’re now starting to see the Jonathan Loáisiga of 2021 as his second-half ERA is down to 1.88 in 28.2 IPs. Clay Holmes is still unavailable with a shoulder injury and likely won’t pitch until the playoffs.
BOS 3 – TOR 6
- Eduard Bazardo delivered another impressive performance with two scoreless innings and two strikeouts against a Blue Jays offense that had been mashing up to that point in the series. In his 15.1 inning cup of coffee, he’s allowed five runs for a 2.93 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He has, however, allowed four homers in that time. He’s got a huge, sweeping slider that he can get strikeouts with and a sinker that can generate tons of ride. His four-seamer, from the video I’ve seen, is just flat and 94/95 which doesn’t typically get hitters out and, to this point, it really hasn’t. If he drops it and becomes a sinker/slider guy, he could emerge as a leverage option next year.
- Jordan Romano logged save number 36 on Sunday as he continues to add on to his career high. It will be interesting to see how high up fantasy draft boards he goes next year. I’d expect him to be the RP #4 or 5 in early drafts, so it was a big hit for those of you who got him around RP #10-12 this Spring.
KCR 5 – CLE 7
- Scott Barlow hadn’t worked since Tuesday, so the Royals scheduled him for some work and he needed 30 pitches to get through the inning. He worked around two walks and a hit, but he was able to hold the Guardians scoreless and extend his scoreless streak to 11.1 IPs. Barlow will be back with the Royals under an arbitration deal next year, but the clock could be ticking on his time in Kansas City as his years of team control dwindle. Then again, his final arbitration year is 2024, so the Royals could wait and deal him then, too.
- Emmanuel Clase barely broke a sweat as he logged his MLB-leading 41st save of the season on just twelve pitches. He hasn’t put up the otherworldly strikeout numbers of Edwin Díaz, but he’s been just as effective in terms of run prevention and equally ridiculous stats can be pulled up to define his season. Clase started the year with a bit of a speedbump allowing four earned runs in April. Across May, June, July, and August, four months totaling 47.1 IPs, he only allowed three more for an ERA of 0.57 in that stretch. In terms of fantasy, Clase will likely be the #2 closer off the board behind Díaz due to the difference in strikeout potential, but in real life, he’s in the conversation for the best closer in baseball.
TBR 1 – HOU 3
- Easton McGee made his MLB debut out of the bullpen and bulked for the Rays, delivering three innings with just one unearned run allowed. McGee is unlikely to pitch again next year, but the top arms in the Rays bullpen will be ready to go for the final series of the year.
- With Ryan Pressly needing 27 pitches the night before and the 1 seed in the AL sealed, the Astros went to Rafael Montero for his fourteenth save of the season. Montero has been a more-than-serviceable fill-in as closer when Pressly has been out and is now 14 for 16 in saves on the year. He’s an unrestricted free agent for 2023 and I’d expect a team to make a run at him with a big offer to be their Opening Day closer.
MIA 4 – MIL 3 (F/12)
- This was the heavy bullpen usage game of the day and Miami burned five relievers to log five innings with Huascar Brazoban eventually picking up the win and Tanner Scott earning his 20th save and first since August 23rd. The Marlins have the opportunity to play spoiler again when they host Atlanta for the final series of the year, but they’ll be doing so with a slightly taxed bullpen going into game one.
- The Brewers threw everything they could at this game to try and hold on as it’s very possible that their season depended on it. With Freddy Peralta making a short start, as he was scheduled to do, Milwaukee ended up needing eight innings from their bullpen and burned seven relievers to get there, pretty much everyone except Devin Williams who had thrown 20 or more pitches in back-to-back days. The bullpen did pretty well overall allowing two earned runs and two unearned, extra-innings runs, but that wasn’t enough as the offense failed to plate a runner from third and less than two outs on two separate occasions in extras.
PIT 7 – STL 5
- After a lengthy IL stint, David Bednar has returned and reclaimed the closer role. He earned his 19th save on Sunday working around a hit and a walk. He’s still working to find his consistency, but the reliever that dominated April and May is still in there and will likely be the Pirates’ Opening Day closer.
- The Cardinals were down a couple runs over the late innings here, so were able to save their highest leverage arms for another day. While Zack Thompson has had a nice rookie season, his peripherals aren’t very impressive to me, so he’s not on my radar for 2023 until I see something new from him.
CIN 1 – CHC 8
- After a disaster start from starter Chase Anderson, Cincinnati’s bullpen needed to cover 22 outs to get through the game and they did OK all things considered. Fernando Cruz continues to impress and, with some refinement and improved control, could break camp as one of the team’s key relievers next year.
- The Cubs were up big from the start in this one and the bullpen was asked to cover three low-leverage innings. Still, Rowan Wick and Erich Uelmen shut down this anemic Reds offense on 21 pitches combined in their two innings which included four strikeouts.
ARI 3 – SFG 4 (F/10)
- Mark Melancon forced extras with his scoreless 9th, but Taylor Widener couldn’t hold on in the 10th and took the blown save and loss as he allowed all three batters he faced to reach. Melancon’s season hasn’t been as disastrous as the ten losses and 4.66 ERA would make it seem. He started out hot, but had a stretch of five appearances in early May in which he allowed ten earned runs and took three losses. It’s tough for a reliever to recover from that kind of stretch in one season. Since mid-May, he’s 11 for 13 in save chances with a 3.65 ERA. That’s probably about what you were expecting from him if you drafted him around RP #12 as he was going in drafts. Just know for next year that success lies on a razor’s edge for him.
- It was a bullpen game for the Giants and eight pitchers took the mound to cover the ten innings of baseball. Notables include Shelby Miller, who has quietly logged three dominant appearances as a September addition to the Giants bullpen as he essentially tries out for the 2023 roster, and Camilo Doval, who has kicked it up another notch since the All-Star Break with a 1.93 ERA and 15 saves in 16 tries in 28 innings.
TEX 3 – LAA 8
- John King was asked to be an innings eater with the Rangers down big . He ate up three of the four innings the bullpen needed to get through and left one for Dennis Santana to cover.
- With a big lead, the Angels were able to rely on their middle leverage guys and save their top arms like Jimmy Herget and Ryan Tepera who had each gone three times in the previous five games. A day of rest leaves them ready to take on the final series.
COL 4 – LAD 1
- Daniel Bard was coming off five days’ of rest, so the Rockies decided to let him log a six-out save for his 33rd of the year. He recorded all six outs via strikeout and recorded a CSW of 54% on 35 pitches. Bard has simply been unstoppable this year. He’s had success at home, against difficult opponents, and when asked to get six outs because they couldn’t muster a suitable 8th inning guy. It’s been a spectacular year and he’ll be back as the Rockies closer in 2023, but how many of you are going to be willing to bet on him beating Coors two years in a row?
- It was the opposite of a bullpen game for the Dodgers: a double starter game! After starter Tyler Anderson left the game after five innings, Andre Jackson came on to work the final four innings.
OAK 10 – SEA 3
- A.J. Puk and Tyler Cyr worked the 7th and 8th respectively for the A’s and turned up the heat on Seattle striking out five of the nine batters they faced. While Puk has been performing well all year, Cyr has only recently risen up the trust rankings in Oakland, but both are looking to have roles in the 2023 bullpen for this club.
- Seattle was down big by the middle innings and used a couple low-leverage pitchers to trudge through the rest of the game. Their top arms are nice and rested going into the final series of the season in which they’re still fighting for a home playoff series. Expect this bullpen to get a lot of work on Tuesday as Chris Flexen is expected to get the ball in one game of the doubleheader and will likely only go two innings before being lifted.
CWS 2 – SDP 1
- Liam Hendriks notched save number 36 on the year as he extended his streak to eight saves in a row without a blown save. He hasn’t been as dominant this year as his ridiculous 2021 (anyone whose K-BB% drops ten points year-over-year is generally in a world of hurt, but he’s doing just fine), but he’s still been a top closer in the game with a 2.86 ERA, 90% save percentage, and 36% K-rate.
- With Josh Hader back to form, this Padres bullpen is set for the playoffs with guys like Luis Garcia and Steven Wilson as middle relievers instead of options for saves. Don’t get me wrong, though, Garcia is nasty, especially as of late. He now has eight straight scoreless appearances and has 30 strikeouts compared to just five walks since the ASB.
NYM 3 – ATL 5
- Both teams were managing this like a playoff series, so we saw a lot of the Mets’ top middle relief options over the three game series, but we didn’t see Edwin Díaz until a brief, four-pitch appearance on Sunday since the Mets never had a lead to protect. He will be ready to go for the final series of the year and usage likely no longer matters for him unless he throws 30+ pitches in one outing. If the Mets need a save and they’re still fighting for the division, he’s going out there even if it means a fourth game in a row.
- Atlanta also managed this like a playoff game, however you never play four games in four days in the playoffs. Both Kenley Jansen and Raisel Iglesias have now been used for four games in a row with the scheduled off day on Thursday providing their only rest. It is true that only once in those three games did either of them need to throw more than fifteen pitches to get through the inning and Jansen even seemed to get stronger each time he stepped on the mound, but I can’t imagine Atlanta risking injury throwing them for a fourth day in a row when they’re in the driver’s seat with a two game lead. Expect both of them to be unavailable on Monday, but back in action on Tuesday ready to lock down the division crown.
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)