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
- With only seven games on Monday, more than half the league is off. The teams not playing on Monday are: NYY, TB, BAL, MIN, CHW, KC, DET, OAK, SEA, MIA, ATL, WSH, PIT, CHC, CIN, and SD.
- Jeffrey Springs hit the COVID-IL, so the Rays will have to use one of their other twelve holds options.
- David Price was placed on the IL and was replaced on the roster by former Giants standout Reyes Moronta. Another week, another high-ceiling Dodgers reclamation project.
- Spencer Patton hit the IL for the Rangers which leaves more room for upstart Brock Burke to continue to rise up the depth chart.
- It was a fairly clean day for the consistently poorly rated Rockies bullpen. Carlos Estévez and Tyler Kinley have both gotten off to great starts, combining to allow just one ER in 12.2 IP. Estévez doesn’t seem to offer much upside, but Kinley’s results have been backed up by impressive numbers under the hood. If you feel the need to chase after a holds option in Colorado, he should be the guy. If he keeps this up, he’ll quickly become the clear no. 2 behind Daniel Bard.
- Another scoreless inning for Michael Fulmer as he’s now allowed just three hits and one walk in his first 6.2 IP, recording seven strikeouts. This inning wasn’t quite as clean as some others he’s thrown, but he continues to ride his increased slider usage to success and would be a solid closing option if Gregory Soto either struggles or becomes unavailable at some point.
- We saw both Matt Barnes and Jake Diekman in this one and both gave up multiple hits and an earned run while only getting two outs each. Barnes returned a 0% CSW on seven curveballs thrown and sat around 93 mph on his three fastballs. Remember, 94.5 is the number I’m looking for from him. I know he got his first save this week, but this still looks like a guy who isn’t ready for high-leverage innings. I’m still holding Hansel Robles.
- Tampa Bay only needed two innings of relief after a masterful performance from Shane McClanahan and they came from Colin Poche, who earned his first hold, and Ryan Thompson, who earned his first save. The team’s first four saves have gone to three different players and that trend is expected to continue throughout the year.
- Despite the lopsided final score, the Giants kept it close for long enough to distribute holds to José Álvarez (1) and Tyler Rogers (6). The latter remains the league leader in holds since the beginning of the 2020 season with 46.
- Many parts of the Nationals bullpen continue to have problems getting outs, but Víctor Arano
continues to be a bright spot. With his scoreless appearance on Sunday, he’s now sporting a line of 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K in his last seven appearances. With the low level of competition in this bullpen, Arano has quickly risen to be one of the top options for holds on the team and could be a dark horse for saves later in the year given Tanner Rainey’s inconsistent past.
- With Anthony Bender continuing to nurse a sore hip, Tanner Scott was called upon to close out his second game in as many days and this one nearly got away from him. He was lifted after recording just one run in the ninth and allowing three runs. Louis Head came on for the surprise save, something we don’t expect to see too much this season. This remains an extremely fluid bullpen with Bender’s injury and Dylan Floro’s return expected early this week.
- No saves or holds from Atlanta’s bullpen on Sunday. Look for A.J. Minter to get a couple of days off at least after throwing 23 pitches and throwing ten the day before.
- It was mop up duty for two-thirds of the game for Cleveland, although Sam Hentges has excelled in that role so far this year. His six appearances have almost all been very low-leverage situations, so it’s tough to really evaluate how much he’s progressed without doing a deep video dive. And even that would involve quite a bit of guessing.
- It was just seven mop-up outs for the Yankees, as the game was well in hand by the time they got to the bullpen. Nothing to see here.
- T.J. McFarland and Jake Woodford did a good job keeping the Cardinals within striking distance for the last three frames. This bullpen is pretty competitive, though, so neither seem to be high on the pecking order for holds right now.
- Lucas Sims earned his first save of the season in his second appearance, with Art Warren earning the hold. While Sims is still working back up to last year’s velocity, it says something that the Reds were willing to use him on back-to-back days right off the IL. Sure looks to me like Sims is “the guy” in Cincinnati, but let’s not forget how that bullpen was managed last year.
- After a crazy back-and-forth game in Houston, Jordan Romano ended up taking the loss allowing a walk-off home run after just six pitches. Toronto is possibly the team who could use an off-day the most, as this bullpen is taxed with Romano now having gone in three of four games and basically all of their other top options having gone in at least two of the past three. Unfortunately, they have a big four game set against Boston starting Monday. It’s tough to tell how this situation is going to be managed, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a roster move or two to get this bullpen some relief.
- It definitely looks like Ryne Stanek is being eased back here as he was apparently unavailable despite an “all hands on deck” situation for the Astros. This bullpen is also pretty taxed after this game, but their top two options, Stanek and Héctor Neris should be available for Monday’s game in Texas.
- Two stalwart’s of the White Sox bullpen, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks, continued to struggle on Sunday and Tony La Russa revealed that Hendriks was dealing with back tightness after the game. The injury is worth monitoring and we’re to the point in the year where people are starting to get worried about having used, in all likelihood, a second round pick or a lot of money on Hendriks. I’m not too concerned still. I know it looks like the fastball is just more hittable this year, but I think it all comes down to his slider. He had a strike percentage of 61.3% on his slider last year. He could rely on it, not just to strike people out, but also to mix things up earlier in counts because he could reliably throw it for strikes. This year, that strike percentage on his slider is just 35.5%. Yes, 20 of the 31 sliders he’s thrown this year have been taken as balls. When players can reliably spit on your breaking stuff like that, they’ll sit on your fastball and make even a really good one look hittable. I feel like Hendriks bounces back once he’s getting his breaking stuff a little closer to the zone. Once he locks in with his breaking stuff, assuming he’s healthy, I think he’ll return to elite form.
- Seven strong innings from Minnesota’s bullpen kept them in this game and allowed them to walk off with the win in extras. Two of those innings came from phenom Jhoan Duran who needed just 18 pitches to get six outs. Duran doesn’t yet seem to be in the closing mix as all the usage seems to be pointing me to Duran to Joe Smith to Emilio Pagán as the preferred end-of-game order for the Twins, but those two before him are hardly infallible.
- Seeing David Bednar used in the ninth is a beautiful thing. Despite allowing a couple of hits, he dominated with his heater, going 7/15 on swinging strikes and picking up his second save of the year. The knock on Bednar has always been role and team context, not skill.
- The Cubs seemed to use all of their top options together this week, as all four of their top relievers worked on Sunday, after two days of rest between all four of them having worked on Thursday. Everyone has a day off on Monday to get ready for the beginning of their next series.
- Baltimore’s bullpen was responsible for all eight innings on Sunday. It went about how you might expect. They got some of their medium-leverage guys in, but I’d suspect Jorge López wouldn’t have been available in a save chance after having worked in three of the previous four games.
- The Angels seemed to be scrambling a bit at the end of the game to find someone who could record outs and maintain the lead and they finally found Archie Bradley for his first save of the year. Raisel Iglesias was apparently unavailable due to workload despite having thrown just ten pitches in the last three games. It seems they’re not going to tax Iglesias too much in the early going.
- A bullpen game for Texas likely wouldn’t work very well against anyone not named the Oakland Athletics, but they managed to allow just two runs across eight frames. Six different pitchers contributed, but neither of the Rangers’ closer committee Joe Barlow and Matt Bush.
- With Lou Trivino still on the COVID-IL, the A’s turned again to Dany Jiménez who converted his third save of the year. This one was a little shaky as Jiménez allowed a couple of baserunners and a bit of loud contact, but he’s still clearly the top option until Trivino comes back. With his performance, if he isn’t in the mix for the ninth inning when Trivino returns from injury, Jiménez has made the leash much shorter at least.
- Seth Lugo picked up a hold, but in a non-save situation, the Mets held back Edwin Díaz to prevent him from going three games in four days.
- The back of the bullpen was used a lot earlier in the week, specifically Thursday and Saturday, so Arizona’s top four options all got the day off on Sunday. They needed the rest, as they are one of the fourteen teams who has to come back out and start a new series today.
- Just a maintenance inning for Craig Kimbrel, who hadn’t worked since Monday. Reyes Moronta was also called up to work in this game. The former Giant was dominant at times in 2018 and 2019 before undergoing a serious shoulder injury. He didn’t quite look the same yet, so, given the depth of the Dodgers bullpen, I’m not even sure he’ll stick around. However, it’s another high-upside play by this bullpen that can afford to take some risks.
- This game got out of hand in the middle innings, so it was just mop-up duty for the Padres. Not much fantasy relevance here today.
- Another wacky game in a day full of wacky games, the Royals used seven relievers, including all of their top high-leverage guys to try to hold onto this game. Only Scott Barlow hasn’t worked both days of the weekend. It’s worth noting that Barlow recorded four outs across the seventh and eighth frames while Josh Staumont worked the ninth. Fortunately, KC has a day off on Monday to get themselves rested.
- It was also all hands on deck for Seattle’s bullpen, but it’s worth noting that Andrés Muñoz was apparently still unavailable, or perhaps available in emergency only, after having thrown 22 pitches on Friday. The Mariners have said that they wouldn’t use Muñoz on back-to-back days for at least the first month of the year and this usage makes me wonder if they’re actually going to be even more cautious than that. Perhaps they’ll be more loose with his usage as the season goes on, but, there’s a pretty large cap on Muñoz’s value right now, given both competition for saves and his being handled with kid gloves.
- In a day where several top options for saves were either hit hard or held out, Josh Hader was one of the few to come through. He recorded a clean inning (with a bit of help from Angel Hernandez) to pick up his eighth save of the year in as many tries. Isn’t it nice knowing exactly who is coming out in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings in save opportunities?
- The Phillies turned to Corey Knebel to keep the game scoreless in the top of the ninth, but the Brewers were able to take advantage of a weak bloop single from Jace Peterson to lead off the ninth and manufacture a run. Knebel was on the wrong end of some bad luck with the leadoff hit, but he did allow some hard contact later in the inning to move the runner along. He generated no swinging strikes across his fourteen pitches thrown and was sitting just 94 mph on his heater. It was the third high leverage inning in five days for Knebel, who hasn’t thrown more than 30 innings in a season since 2018. It will be interesting to see how his velocity holds up in the second half of the season.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)