Welcome back to the newest 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
- All MLB teams will play Sunday. NYY, TOR, MIA, DET, KCR, SEA, TEX, and STL have the day off Monday.
- Ryan Pressly was placed on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation.
- The Rays acquired Javy Guerra the younger from the Padres, who had DFA’d him. This is not the veteran 36-year-old Javy Guerra. Confusing, I know, but that’s just the type of deception the Rays thrive on.
- Josh Sborz of the Texas Rangers was placed on the 10-day IL with elbow soreness.
- Mark Melancon finally picked up his first save of the season. He retired the side on 13 pitches including two strikeouts. It was a welcome sight for Melancon fans, as he had looked shaky in his first three outings allowing two runs and six baserunners. His velocity was still down, though, as his nine cutters averaged just 90.2 mph, compared to 92 mph last year. Melancon doesn’t rely a lot on velocity, but, without an elite strikeout or walk rate, he rides a really fine line (and typically a lot of ground balls) to success. Just as concerning as the velocity dip to me is the decreased ground ball rate. Six of the fourteen batted balls he’s allowed so far this year have been in the air, compared to just five on the ground. For a guy with a career 2.56 GB/FB ratio, that tells me that even when he’s gotten outs so far this year, he hasn’t been doing it on his terms. He’s a veteran with a lot of skills. He could turn it around. But I’d be very concerned if I had Melancon on my team.
- Not as much to say on the Mets relievers, as setup guys Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino got some work while trailing. Lugo has gotten off to a bit of a rough start, but the strikeouts and velocity are there, so I’m waiting a bit longer before looking too hard at it.
- Andrew Kittredge got an inning of work for the Rays while trailing in the 8th. He’s still looking like the HLR in Tampa Bay, but that doesn’t mean much, as they ask their pitchers to fill all sorts of roles. That makes the acquisition of Javy Guerra (the 26-year-old variety, not the veteran journeyman) at least a little interesting. When healthy, his sinker averages 98 mph and features above-average movement. We haven’t seen much of him healthy, though, so it’s tough to say how the Rays plan on using him. Even in the deepest of leagues, he’s a wait-and-see type of guy for now.
- That makes four saves in five days for Liam Hendriks who is at least making fantasy managers happy even as he continues to find his way in the 2022 season. He needed 25, 19, 11, and now 29 pitches to get through the four innings, and he was definitely laboring with control on Saturday. The fastball velocity is there and the slider looks great when he snaps it off cleanly, like the one he used to end the game. He just still seems to be getting a feel for his pitches right now. A few more 59-foot sliders and misplaced fastballs than usual. He’ll lock in, given a few weeks, and put together an 8-10 inning dominant scoreless streak.
- Lou Trivino picked up his second save of the year striking out the side on 22 pitches. Half of those pitches were balls, so despite striking out the side, he struggled a bit with command in this one. Dany Jiménez delivered another dominant inning striking out the side in order in the 8th and picking up the win while Domingo Acevedo was brought on in the sixth and struggled mightily. I still share people’s preseason concerns about Trivino’s ability to consistently succeed in the ninth, but the guy to target has definitely changed for now. Dany Jiménez is now a name to target in deep leagues as someone who could take over a closer job as early as May. Can he hold onto it for the whole year? Gosh, that would be tough, relying so much on his curveball backed up by an honestly mediocre fastball. Acevedo still might be the better full-season play. But Jiménez is clearly next in line for now.
- Julian Merryweather took the loss on Saturday, allowing a 9th inning two-run bomb to Cristian Pache. Remember how excited we were for this guy last year? He was sitting 98/99 in those games. I miss that. He’s having trouble touching 98 now. We can only hope that his velocity rebounds at some point and we catch that electricity again.
- Will Smith was nice enough to serve up an 8th-inning home run to Trent Grisham to allow Kenley Jansen to close out his second save of the season. Jansen looks fine, and I would continue to start him with confidence. I wonder about Will Smith. After a bit of a velocity decline down the stretch last year, he’s still sitting 91, even here in his fourth appearance. If he stays there, I doubt his K-rate is over 30% this year. If his K-rate is under 30% this year … I just don’t know, but I do know that him sitting 91 leaves considerably less margin for error for him. It’s something worth monitoring.
- After the starter, we saw an inning from Craig Stammen and three from Nabil Crismatt as the Padres were playing from behind literally all day. Nothing interesting there from a fantasy perspective.
- Starter Matt Manning left early due to an injury and the Tigers were playing from behind for the late innings, so we shouldn’t read into their bullpen usage much for this one.
- The Royals went with their typical three to close out the game, but flipped the order a bit. Dylan Coleman took the first two outs of the seventh, while Scott Barlow took the next four outs. That left it to Josh Staumont for the final three outs and the save, his first of the season. If Barlow continues to sit 92/23 and Staumont continues to sit 98/99, I feel like the job will be mostly Staumont’s before June. The results have still been great for Barlow so far and Staumont does have that history of control issues he needs to overcome, but I feel like the changes brought in by a 2 mph drop in velocity from Barlow and a 2 mph rebound in velocity from Staumont will eventually win out even if it just makes the Royals more comfortable trading Barlow. That aside, I think this game shows that it’s a bit more of a shared ninth inning in KC than people thought.
- Starter Sonny Gray left the game early with an injury, so the Twins called on Josh Winder to pick up the slack. He ended up throwing 66 pitches and nearly going the distance, so someone else will need to step in to the long relief role for the next 3-4 days.
- After three days of rest, it was Garrett Whitlock day again and it was another glorious day. He recorded the final seven outs of the game on 30 pitches with his slider doing most of the work. Out of his ten sliders thrown, seven were swung and missed at and two more were taken for strikes for a nasty 90% CSW on the pitch for the night. He didn’t get a win or save for his effort, but those will come in time. The next Whitlock Day is likely toward the end of their upcoming home series against Toronto.
- Instead of allowing Camilo Doval to work for the third time in four days, Jake McGee was called upon to record his first save of the season. Even though he converted the save, he was definitely not on his A-game as he allowed a walk and a hit on the back of an 18% CSW across his 22 pitches. It was McGee’s first day of work in a week, so maybe there was some rust to shake off or maybe there’s been some unreported ailment. I think there’s just too much we don’t know to be able to say if this is a true 50/50 split or if one of them is first in line. It looks like Doval is atop the pecking order for now, but an undisclosed injury for McGee this past week would certainly change the calculus. What is clear is that Tyler Rogers remains an elite holds option.
- Nick Sandlin took the loss for the Guardians as the top three in Cleveland’s bullpen all got some more rest. Look for Emmanuel Clase to pitch one of the next two games with or without a save situation.
- Seranthony Domínguez worked a clean sixth inning recording two strikeouts and needing just eleven pitches to get the job done. Yes, he came in in the sixth inning of a blowout, so he’s clearly not a high-leverage guy for Philadelphia quite yet, but don’t forget that he flashed dominance and recorded 16 saves in 2018 before his long, weird UCL/Tommy John odyssey. I believe he’ll be the top option for holds by June and has an outside shot at closing games for this team at some point this year.
- Starter Trevor Rogers got hit hard, so the Marlins needed to turn to long man Cody Poteet, who only went and turned in a 22.7% swinging strike rate across 66 pitches. What is up with this Marlins pitching depth, eh? Nothing else of intrigue from this game. Dylan Floro is inching back, but no further clarity on when he’ll be ready for the active roster.
- Kyle Finnegan was brought on in the bottom of the 8th to hold a one-run game and really struggled. He went 0/23 on whiffs and allowed three runs without even being able to finish the inning. Tanner Rainey is the clear closer here now and I don’t even think Finnegan is the next man up anymore based on the context of Finnegan’s last two appearances.
- David Bednar was brought on in the seventh to record the final two outs and stayed on for the eighth inning. He recorded his first hold of the year, but it was Chris Stratton who was warming up for the save before the extra run support took it away. Stratton did give up a pair of runs, but this proves Bednar fans’ worst fears true. Bednar is your HLR in Pittsburgh and that means he’s not necessarily first in line for saves.
- Archie Bradley picked up a nice two-inning hold for the Angels on Saturday allowing the top three arms in their bullpen to all get some rest. Aaron Loup might get one more day of rest after throwing 31 pitches on Friday, but Raisel Iglesias should be good to go for Sunday.
- Joe Barlow needed some work after four days of rest and it was a shaky outing. These kinds of unpolished performances are fairly common when closers come on in low-leverage situations, but Barlow has been getting hit pretty hard in general so far this year. His line could have been even worse yesterday as the last out of the inning (with two runners on base) was on a diving catch of an .870 xBA line drive to right field. He’s not a guy I’d be excited to have in my lineup right now.
- With Aroldis Chapman having worked three out of the past four days, the Yankees turned to Clay Holmes for his first save of the year. Michael King also picked up a nice two-inning hold. Chad Green was presumably available, but wasn’t used for the ninth. Perhaps they’re looking for multiple innings in relief from him on Sunday. None of this tells me that Chapman is out as closer yet. His leash maybe isn’t as long as it once was, but it’s definitely longer than three appearances.
- Mike Baumann is one of the more intriguing arms in the Orioles arm barn to me, but this outing confuses me. Still, that velocity bump showed and that’s going to start paying dividends soon no matter where Baltimore uses him.
- For all the hubbub about committees and shared roles, St. Louis looked pretty traditional for the second time this week turning to Ryan Helsley and Génesis Cabrera for holds and Giovanny Gallegos for his second save. They all look pretty good and the pecking order seems clear to me for now.
- Nothing interesting happening in Milwaukee’s bullpen for now. Jake Cousins is fine. The velocity is there and he has a 6:1 K:BB ratio through his first four innings. I’m still confident the results will come around.
- Rowan Wick got some work in the 8th inning of a game where his team was trailing by three runs. So much for fantasy managers’ last ditch hopes that he was in a committee with David Robertson.
- Guess who your new NL saves leader is? If you guessed Daniel Bard, who recorded his fourth save of the season last night, you’d be correct. I’m as surprised as anyone, but with six punchouts and no walks in his first five innings of work on the year, you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. Will it keep up? Will the Rockies keep giving him save situations? Now, those are both million-dollar questions.
- I just wanted to give an early welcome to Héctor Neris to the thousands of new fantasy teams he will be joining on Monday morning. This wasn’t a save situation, but it’s an early confirmation that he’s the guy as long as Pressly is out. Next in line after him is a bit less clear. Also, I’m not really supposed to write about hitters here, but Jeremy Peña with the top three hardest hit balled in this game including a new max of 110.3?!?! Where have you been all my life?
- A couple of strong innings from Erik Swanson, but other than that not much news from the Mariners bullpen in this game.
- None of the three relievers the Reds used Saturday seem likely to factor in to the fantasy conversation anytime soon. Looks like the Reds will throw their A-game at the Dodgers on Sunday, though. It’s Tyler Mahle day and all of their top relievers are fully rested. On four days’ rest, look for Art Warren to get an inning of work regardless of the outcome of the game.
- It was Daniel Hudson who recorded his first save of the season last night, but don’t read into it too much. It was a five-run game going into the ninth and Mitch White allowed a few baserunners to let on, so Hudson was used less as a closer and more as a stopper who happened to get a save.