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Reliever Ranks – 4/20

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

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!

 

Notes

 

Transaction and Schedule Notes

 

  • The matchup between the White Sox and Guardians was postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up as a part of a doubleheader today.
  • Speaking of doubleheaders, despite the rainout we still had a full slate of 16 games on Tuesday thanks to a pair of makeup games. ARI and WSH as well as SF and NYM both took part in doubleheaders.

 

  • The following teams don’t have another scheduled day off through the month of April and will need to manage their bullpen usage carefully to avoid overworking in the next two weeks – BOS, TOR, TEX, CLE, STL, ARI.
  • Greg Holland was designated for assignment by the Rangers, leaving a middle relief slot open in their bullpen.

 

  • After dealing with positive COVID tests to start the season, both Robert Stephenson and Lucas Gilbreath are set to return for the Rockies after brief rehab stints with the Triple-A club.
  • Long-time top prospect and recent reliever for the Braves, Sean Newcomb, was designated for assignment. Touki Toussaint was recalled in a corresponding move and should slot in as the team’s long reliever/swingman.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

  • In the first half of the doubleheader between the Diamondbacks and Nationals, Arizona relied on two solid innings from J.B. Wendelken as well as a combined eighth inning from Oliver Pérez and Matt Peacock. Peacock was the only one of the three to go unscored upon, but there’s not much to be drawn from the usage here as the D-Backs were working from behind by the time the relievers jumped into action.
  • On the Washington side, Sean Doolittle, Steve Cishek, and Kyle Finnegan paired for a trio of holds as they locked down the win before turning the ball over to Austin Voth for the ninth. The score was 6-1 by then, so Voth was just getting some work in while giving the closer more time to rest before his appearance in the nightcap.

 

  • The second game of the day between the two teams was much closer, with the lone score coming in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Cesar Hernandez double. That RBI double came against starter Tyler Gilbert, meaning relievers Sean Poppen and Joe Mantiply went unscored upon across 2.1 combined innings with two Ks, both coming from Poppen. Look for Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy to get some work in today, with both of them having not pitched since Saturday.
  • The Nationals, once again, had much more intriguing usage out of their pen. Víctor Arano recorded his second hold of the season on the back of three slider whiffs on just seven thrown and was followed by Kyle Finnegan, getting work for the second time in one day. Most interestingly, Tanner Rainey was once again called on in the ninth with the game on the line. He made it stressful by allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases but was somehow able to tightrope out of trouble by recording a strikeout before inducing a pop-out and fly-out to record his third save of the season on 22 pitches. It seems that Rainey is the clear option for save opportunities, but he’s going to have to be more dominant if he wants to maintain manager Dave Martinez’s confidence.

 

  • Extra innings was on the menu for the first game of the doubleheader between the Giants and Mets, and both teams went all out with their top bullpen arms. The Giants turned to six different relievers to cover 5.2 innings after starter Alex Cobb left the game in the fifth with an injury. High leverage arms such as Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers, and Camilo Doval all got work in this one. They were ultimately unable to keep the zombie runner from crossing the plate in the tenth when Francisco Lindor knocked a game-winning single off of lefty Jarlín García.
  • Similarly, the Mets turned to high leverage pitchers Seth Lugo, Edwin Díaz, and Adam Ottavino to keep the game tight, with Ottavino walking away with the win after pitching the top of the tenth. It was nice to see Díaz not blow up in a non-save situation as he has done countless times in the past, but look for him to be used in his more traditional role going forward.

 

  • Game two saw the Giants turn to lesser-known relievers after Logan Webb lasted just 3.2 innings. Four relievers combined for 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six – and this was the B-squad! Yunior Marte pitched the eighth and was the most impressive of the bunch, recording three strikeouts via seven whiffs on 17 pitches.
  • Following Max Scherzer’s dominant performance, Drew Smith recorded his third hold of the year while pitching a scoreless seventh. After Díaz was used in the first half of the doubleheader, Buck Showalter turned to Trevor May in the ninth inning of the nightcap. May got the job done, tossing a perfect inning and notching his first save of the season in the process.

 

  • Despite a four-run lead, the Cardinals turned to Giovanny Gallegos to shut things down in the ninth. He got the job done with ease, needing just 11 pitches to set down the side in order, so he should be good to go if needed today. Ryan Helsley struck out three of the five batters he faced across the seventh and eighth innings.
  • Trailing early, Miami relied on low-leverage arms to get them through nine innings. Louis Head appeared in his fourth game of the year and continued his scoreless streak, while Tanner Scott was the last Marlin to record an out, setting down two of the three batters he faced via the strikeout. Closer Anthony Bender will be well-rested should a save opportunity arise today.

 

  • The Yankees bullpen recovered from Gerrit Cole’s disastrous performance during which he couldn’t make it out of the second frame. They were forced to rely on five different relievers but were still able to pull away with the win. Clarke Schmidt made up the majority of the work with a really solid performance. The 26-year-old bulk reliever was probably not expecting to get work in on ace day but was still able to turn in 3.1 innings of scoreless ball with six strikeouts, allowing just three baserunners while being rewarded with the win. He saved the rest of the pen from being overworked and turned the ball over to Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, and Miguel Castro, each of whom recorded a hold before Aroldis Chapman came in to shut the door. It was Chapman’s second save of the season and he secured it on just nine pitches, meaning he should be available for the ninth inning today as well.
  • It was a bullpen game on the other side as the Tigers used eight pitchers, none of which worked more than 1.2 innings. With so many pitchers being used, expect A.J. Hinch to ask for an extended start from Eduardo Rodriguez today. Additionally, look for Gregory Soto to appear, save situation or not, considering he hasn’t pitched since last Thursday.

 

  • It was a tie game by the time the Blue Jays went to the bullpen. David Phelps struck out two in his inning of work while Yimi García was tagged with the loss after allowing a runner that reached via error to score. Trevor Richards also threw a perfect inning. Altogether, the three relievers didn’t allow a hit or a walk, yet were still unable to keep the game tied.
  • The Red Sox received equally strong work from their bullpen. Matt Strahm and Hansel Robles combined for three perfect frames, with Robles walking away with the win. Recording his fourth hold of the season, Jake Diekman faced one batter before turning the ball over to Garrett Whitlock for the ninth. It was the first save of the year for the young righty after he had been used in bulk situations in his prior appearances. Either Diekman or Matt Barnes should get to pitch the ninth today, considering Robles threw 23 pitches and Whitlock rarely pitches on back-to-back days.

 

  • The Rays went with their patented opener strategy with Josh Fleming acting as the follower. He worked 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while recording two strikeouts and walking away with the win. Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, and Ryan Thompson followed, each of them recording a hold. The main attraction, however, was presumed closer, Andrew Kittredge, securing the final two innings of the ballgame for his second save of the season. He allowed no baserunners and struck out two. The right-hander seems to be the favorite for save chances as of now, but you never really know how the Rays will use their relievers.
  • With Justin Steele not being fully stretched out as a starter, the Cubs have been pairing him with Keegan Thompson. However, Thompson pitched on Monday, leaving Jesse Chavez as the guy for the job on Tuesday. He was able to hold the Rays scoreless across 2.1 innings, but it wasn’t enough. Chris Martin fell apart in the seventh, allowing two runners to cross the plate, pushing the Cubs’ deficit to three, which was ultimately too much for them to overcome. The back end of the bullpen should be back on the bump in a close game today.

 

  • Just one reliever made an appearance for the Pirates on Tuesday. Rookie Roansy Contreras worked three innings in relief of starter JT Brubaker. The 22-year-old Contreras was impressive with five strikeouts and a 44% CSW across all of his pitches. If he continues to build up his arm and gets a chance in the rotation, he could be an interesting add to fantasy teams in need of starting pitching. As of now, he’s an intriguing bulk reliever.
  • The Brewers similarly needed limited help from their pen but turned to the two best options available. Devin Williams recorded his fifth hold of the season with his perfect eighth while Josh Hader worked the ninth, notching his fifth save of the season with a perfect inning of his own. This dominant bullpen is one of the most set in terms of roles and shouldn’t change throughout the season, barring any injuries or trades.

 

  • There was little to write home about from the Angels’ arm barn, despite the team securing their seventh win of the season. The game was pretty much out of reach following a five-run fifth inning, allowing manager Joe Maddon to give the high-leverage relievers the night off. Oliver Ortega secured his first win of the season with two scoreless innings while Aaron Loup was the most notable name of the remaining three relievers to pitch. Loup hadn’t pitched since Friday and was just getting some work in.
  • With the closer role up in the air following Ryan Pressly’s placement on the injured list, all eyes are on the Houston bullpen to see who may come away with the save opportunities in his absence. Tonight didn’t provide any indication of the closer situation with the Astros losing this game by five runs. Rookie reliever Ronel Blanco could be someone to keep an eye on in the future as he induced six swings and misses on 21 pitches, recording both of his outs by way of the K.

 

  • The Twins’ closer job is still up in the air, so many fantasy managers are speculating on multiple options at the back end of the Minnesota pen. Tyler Duffey is one of those options, but his prospects of taking over the closer role took a hit after he took his second loss and second blown save of the season. He coughed up the lead in the sixth inning, giving up homers to Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier. Jhoan Duran and Emilio Pagán remain the top options for saves among the Twins’ relief corps.
  • We may be witnessing a changing of the guard in the Kansas City bullpen. Scott Barlow worked as the closer for most of the second half of 2021, but it seems as though the Royals prefer to keep him in the highest leverage reliever role, leaving the ninth-inning duties to Josh Staumont in 2022. That was the case on Tuesday, with Barlow working the eighth for his second hold of the year and Staumont securing the win in the ninth with his second save. Now might be the last chance for you to grab Staumont before he is gobbled up as the speculative closer for the rest of the season.

 

  • Pitching in Colorado is never fun and both Seranthony Domínguez and Jeurys Familia had to experience that firsthand on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old righty Domínguez was saddled with the loss despite also being credited with a hold after he recorded the first two outs of the seventh. He then proceeded to walk Charlie Blackmon prior to allowing a base hit to Kris Bryant before he was pulled in favor of the veteran Familia. He promptly gave up a go-ahead three-run shot to Major League home run leader C.J. Cron, putting the Phillies in a deficit they’d be unable to come back from. It was a tough night for the pair of Phillie relievers, but expect them to bounce back in normal circumstances outside of Colorado.
  • On the other side, Justin Lawrence pitched the top half of that seventh inning, and therefore, was rewarded with the win. Alex Colomé pitched the eighth, notching his second hold of the season despite allowing a run on two hits with no strikeouts. Many speculated that Colomé would be the reliever to receive save opportunities in Denver upon his signing with the team in free agency, but that has not been the case. Daniel Bard has reclaimed the closer role he lost at the end of last season, and his late-career renaissance continues as he locked down his fifth save of the young campaign. With the dominance he has been displaying so far this season, expect him to maintain his role as the closer for quite some time.

 

  • It was an uneventful night for the Rangers as they trailed this game from start to finish. Brett Martin pitched a perfect inning and looks to be one of the safest options in this bullpen. Spencer Patton had a rough inning, allowing a couple of runs to score via a home run off the bat of Abraham Toro. Former starter Matt Moore even got some work in, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings in his second appearance for the Rangers this season. Joe Barlow is the closer, but the rest of this arm barn is clearly in flux, and there will be a lot of mixing and matching going forward as they try to figure out the best roles for each of their pitchers.
  • The Mariners have one of the most stacked bullpens in baseball and used it to full effect on Tuesday night. Manager Scott Servais turned to his top three options – Drew Steckenrider, Paul Sewald, and Diego Castillo – to close out the final three innings of a pretty close game. Steckenrider was the only one of the three to receive a decision, netting himself a hold, but Sewald and Castillo got the job done as well. They combined for just 33 pitches and should each be ready to go if needed today.

 

  • In a low-scoring affair, every run matters. The Orioles found that out the hard way after Mike Baumann gave up just two runs in relief, and that ended up being the difference in the game. I don’t expect many fantasy managers to be turning to the Orioles relief corps for help, but keep your sights set on Jorge López and Felix Bautista if you are in desperate need of saves.
  • With Lou Trivino on the COVID IL, many are speculating on Dany Jiménez to run away with the closer role in his absence. He got the day off Tuesday after tossing 24 pitches on Monday, leaving ninth-inning duties up to Zach Jackson. Well, that’s a little misleading, as he split the ninth with Sam Moll, recording only the final out of the ballgame to secure his first career save. Don’t read into the usage here and make sure to continue to speculate on Jiménez for now. Somehow, the A’s now sport a record of 7-5, which has them tied for first in their division, so maybe we were underrating them just a little heading into the season and they could be set up for a multitude of close games, and therefore, save opportunities.

 

  • Tommy Pham put the Reds in front in the top of the first with a home run, but it was all downhill from there as they played from behind for the rest of the game. There isn’t much to take from the bullpen usage here, as the Reds took the losing effort as a chance to rest their most trusted relievers and give some others a chance to stay loose. Jeff Hoffman was the most impressive, inducing five whiffs on fifteen pitches across a perfect seventh inning that saw him strike out Trent Grisham and Austin Nola. Art Warren should get some work today, having not pitched since Sunday.
  • With one of their many aces taking the mound, the Padres only had to utilize two relievers to finish off the last 2.2 innings of the game. Robert Suarez recorded his first hold of the season with a scoreless 1.2 innings on 27 pitches while Tim Hill pitched the ninth up by four. Taylor Rogers needed the rest after pitching on back-to-back days, but will probably get the ball if a save situation arises today.

 

  • In a masterful outing by Max Fried, the Dodgers failed to scratch across a run through the first seven innings of the ballgame. Upon entering the game in the eighth, Tyler Matzek gave up a run on a walk, a wild pitch, and a ground out, but ultimately settled down to turn the ball over to Kenley Jansen for the ninth, securing his second hold of the season in the process. Jansen pitched a clean inning to close out the game, and most notably, forced Freddie Freeman to fly out for the final out of the game. As many probably know, Kenley is a former Dodger, while Freeman is a former Brave, so it was pretty cool to see two major offseason additions squaring off in the tense final moment of the last frame.
  • The Dodgers turned to four different relievers to keep things close after Walker Buehler exited the game following five strong innings. Evan Phillips pitched a clean sixth and handed the ball over to David Price for a scoreless seventh. In the eighth, Alex Vesia allowed two hits but walked away unscathed while Justin Bruihl tossed a perfect ninth. The Dodgers have many trusted options, but their top ones were rested on Tuesday night. Craig Kimbrel and Blake Treinen should be ready to go for a close affair between the two teams again today.

 

Bullpen Depth Charts

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List and is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic. Without baseball, Jake would be a Pokémon master.

3 responses to “Reliever Ranks – 4/20”

  1. John Vaghi says:

    Jake, who are your favorite SPARPs to target right now? not necessarily guys like Tyler Anderson that piggyback, but guys who are there for a moments notice to eat innings. I’m in a league that heavily values innings and finding guys who I can put in as an SP who isn’t on a 5 days schedule is quite valuable (think Ashby when relieving).

    thanks.

    • Jake Crumpler says:

      Hey John! I’m in a league similar to yours where relievers that can go multiple innings are highly valuable, so I may be able to help here. It depends on the eligibility in your league, but some relievers with SP eligibility that I’d target to pitch multiple effective innings include Cristian Javier, Keegan Thompson, Trent Thornton, Drew Hutchison, Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, Dillon Peters, Jaime Barria, Eli Morgan, Corbin Martin, Cody Poteet, Jake Woodford, Josh Winder, Miguel Yajure, Cristopher Sanchez, and Jose Urena. I think my favorite pitcher in this mold to target right now would be the aforementioned Roansy Contreras who seems to be in the exact same position Ashby was before entering the rotation. Despite all of those names, there may be a few that I’m missing, but I hope this was what you were looking for!

      • John Vaghi says:

        Dude this is exactly what I was looking for. I actually already offered on Roansy today so I’m glad you pointed him out. Thanks for adding so many names and not only that, really under the radar ones too. I’m really liking those guys in not great pens (Thompson, Martin). Appreciate the thoughts and the articles – keep it up!

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