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
- Every team in the league was active on Sunday with no doubleheaders or rainouts.
- Only four teams have off on Monday: CLE, PHI, CIN, and SDP. There is no big break for teams until next Thursday (May 19th).
- No transactions involving relievers worth noting today. Anyone who was moved was on the very back end of the bullpen and not fantasy relevant.
- San Diego scored one too many in the top of the 11th to get Taylor Rogers a save, but he still delivered with an impressive shutdown performance. Nabil Crismatt also delivered an impressive performance with two scoreless frames to earn the win. Crismatt has value on this team, but probably not to many fantasy teams as he won’t be in line for many wins or holds. Side note, if a guy throws nineteen changeups and two fastballs, is it really a changeup? What’s he changing from?
- After burning A.J. Minter and Kenley Jansen to keep the game tied, Atlanta turned to Jackson Stephens in the 10th and 11th to try to keep them in the game. Stephens’ second inning of work proved to be too much as he allowed four runs (two earned) and took the loss. They were apparently trying to ride the hot hand in Stephens over veterans like Tyler Matzek or Collin McHugh, who have both had their share of problems this year. In a game with so many high-leverage situations, not seeing Matzek or McHugh at all tells me that they’re either both hurt or they’ve fallen out of favor and will only be used in low-leverage situations for the time being.
- Despite the lopsided final score, Houston still burned Rafael Montero in the 6th for his third appearance in four days and Ryne Stanek in the 7th for his second straight appearance. The Astros jump right into a series at Boston on Monday and look for both to be unavailable for the first matchup of the series.
- Washington is really grasping at straws in the late innings. Tanner Rainey is the only one who is really rosterable, but even he has his share of red flags.
- Well, you read about the Reds no-winner no-hitter plenty, I’m sure. They only required two outs from Art Warren out of the bullpen and he continued to struggle with control. Avoid until he starts throwing strikes again.
- It was the second straight day with Chris Stratton working as a more typical setup man and David Bednar working as a traditional closer. Stratton earned the win in this one, his second, and Bednar nabbed his seventh save and third in the past five days. Bednar is dominating and has forced the Pirates’ hand. He should be treated as a top-12 closer the rest of the way.
- The Orioles were down throughout the whole game in this one and threw out their B-team to try to keep things close. So far, Baltimore’s attempted salvaging of Logan Allen is going about as expected. I hope that he finds a way to stick around in the league, but I’m not sure if Baltimore is the organization to do that for him.
- The Tigers were up five going into the 9th, so they were willing to allow Rony García to close the game out and provide some much-needed rest to the back end of this bullpen. If it had turned into a save situation, I’m still of the opinion that we would have seen Michael Fulmer and not the upstart Will Vest.
- Sergio Romo and Paul Sewald were called upon to work the 7th and 8th respectively, each earning their second hold of the year. That left the 9th to Drew Steckenrider, who gave up four hits while recording just one out. Diego Castillo was called upon to clean up the mess and took the game to the brink, but eventually closed it to earn his second save of the year. Steckenrider doesn’t have the swing and miss skills of other guys in the Seattle bullpen like Sewald or Andrés Muñoz, so he’s generally not going to help as much in the ratios department. While Erik Swanson is on the mend, though, he may continue to get the occasional save chance given how the Mariners have used their top arms over the past couple years.
- It was generally a rough day for Mets relievers as they allowed four earned runs in 4.2 combined IPs. Drew Smith allowed just his second earned run of the year to inflate his ERA to 1.20. He’s the current holds leader on the team and this outing doesn’t do anything to move him out of high-leverage chances in the future.
- Toronto was down three runs by the time the bullpen was called upon, so there’s nothing hugely important to take note of here. Their top arms should be ready to go on Monday.
- It’s kind of surprising to see the Rays in the middle of the pack in terms of team ERA from both starters and relievers; it feels like they’re one of the best once they get the lead. In this one, J.P. Feyereisen delivered yet another scoreless frame and Colin Poche added a clean 8th inning which earned them each a hold. Andrew Kittredge came on for the 9th and his fifth save of the season. So far, nine of the team’s ten saves have gone to the triumverate of Kittredge, Brooks Raley, and Ryan Thompson. I think it’s very possible Raley ends up with 10-15 saves on the season.
- This is Aaron Ashby at his best. Four scoreless innings with eight strikeouts facing just one batter above the minimum. That sole batter reached by means of a wild pitch on a strikeout. Because he was so efficient, he was able to close out the game and earn his first save of the season. I sincerely hope we see Ashby in more of these 5-4 setups where he enters in the 6th with the goal of closing out the game. It’s great baseball and he seems to thrive in the role.
- The Marlins are currently searching for someone who wants to take over the 9th inning and none of the candidates who pitched today delivered inspiring performances. Tanner Scott walked two more batters, bringing his season total to nine in 13.1 IPs. Cole Sulser allowed three hits for the second time in three outings. Dylan Floro sat below 92 mph on his fastball and has now failed to strike out any of the first sixteen batters he’s faced this year. Maybe Anthony Bass is going to be the one to step up here?
- Just one medium leverage inning for Enyel De Los Santos for the Guardians in this one. Not much to see here.
- The already taxed Twins found themselves in another close game with nine outs to get and they were able to piece it together. Three pitchers earned holds, including Joe Smith, who received his team-leading seventh. Emilio Pagán got the call for his third straight day of work and earned his fifth save of the season. How many saves Pagán gets the rest of the way will depend in part on how often the Twins are willing to use Jhoan Duran and in what roles they use him.
- Clay Holmes continues to be ridiculous as he runs his scoreless streak up to 17.2 IPs. Over that time, he’s recorded a K:BB ratio of 18:2 and he hasn’t walked a batter in his last 12.1 IPs. Stay tuned for more amazing #HolmesFacts.
- The White Sox were playing from behind all day, so they mainly used their low-leverage relievers in this one. It was a bit surprising to see José Ruiz, who is tied for the team lead in holds, in there for the 9th, but I suppose other relievers needed the rest more.
- It was a bullpen game for the Red Sox who saw Tanner Houck work out of the pen for three solid frames. After that… it didn’t go so well. Ryan Brasier and Tyler Danish combined to allow six runs in three innings and blow the game open. Neither are fantasy relevant.
- The Rangers were able to effectively hold on to their lead for the final three innings of the game, capped off by Joe Barlow in a non-save situation. Barlow continues to make it work despite allowing another barrel on Sunday, bringing him up to five on the year. The 50+% fly ball rate and fairly high barrel rate are concerning moving forward. His BABIP of .179 this year compared to his xBAA of .305 makes me feel like that BABIP is due for some regression at some point as the year goes along, but there’s a chance Barlow is doing something the models aren’t seeing since he’s kept this up since the beginning of 2021.
- The Royals allowed a seven spot in the 7th and almost blew the game, but Josh Staumont came on in the 8th and calmed things down. He eventually picked up the win and set things up for Scott Barlow to earn his fourth save. Barlow continues to be the more effective pitcher despite the slight dip in swinging strike rate so, while we’ll likely continue to see Staumont get some saves, too, Barlow should pick up the majority of opportunities.
- Tyler Kinley continued his dominance and locked down the 8th inning for his seventh hold of the year. Daniel Bard, unfortunately, couldn’t keep things rolling in the ninth and blew his second save of the year allowing two runs on a pair of walks and hits. Bard has struggled quite a bit with control recently as he’s issued five walks in his past three appearances, while recording just seven outs. These rough patches are simply something we should expect from Bard, as he’s never going to be a closer with sparkling ratios. Despite Kinley’s dominance, I don’t see Bard losing the job without a more prolonged stretch of poor performance.
- Scott Effross delivered a scoreless 8th inning and was initially left in for the 9th to close out his own win, but was lifted after allowing a leadoff single. The Cubs then turned to Rowan Wick despite his 28-pitch outing on Saturday for the save. Wick came through, requiring just eleven pitches to secure his fourth save in six days, even though just five of those pitches went for strikes. Wick can get pretty wild at times, but he’s doing much better managing it this year than last year. He’s the clear closer with David Robertson out, but I don’t think he’s doing enough to challenge for the job when Robertson returns. The Cubs will almost certainly have to turn to someone else on Monday if a save chance should arise. Look for Mychal Givens to be given first crack.
- With Mark Melancon having worked three of the previous four days, Ian Kennedy took on the role of closer pitching the top of the 9th in a tie game. Kennedy allowed two hits and a run to score before being lifted without even finishing the inning. He was tagged with his second loss of the year. Some are tagging Kennedy as the guy to get wiith Melancon’s struggles so far this year, but Kennedy hasn’t been very effective either. His swinging strike rate of 4.9%, z-contact of 93.7%, and K-BB% of 1.4% all scream that this is not the upgrade you’re looking for over Melancon. Joe Mantiply would be my handcuff, but it might take him a bit longer to ascend into the role.
- With a severely depleted bullpen, the Angels asked Jimmy Herget to record the final eight outs of the game and secure his first career save. Even though he delivered with a fine performance, don’t expect the Angels to ask him to do this very often.
- On the other side, the top arms in the A’s bullpen were all working on a couple days’ rest and Oakland deployed all of them in an attempt to keep the game close. They went into the 8th inning down just one, but the bullpen allowed two insurance runs to score and they dropped the game 4-1. One guy that was used in a seemingly new role was Adam Kolarek. Despite allowing two hits and a run, he hadn’t allowed a run in his previous six appearances and seems to be working his way into high-leverage situations.
- Needing just six outs with a two-run lead, the Phillies turned first to Jeurys Familia, then to Corey Knebel to attempt to close the game out. They recorded just five of those outs and allowed three hits, three walks, and three runs including a walk-off double from Gavin Lux. Hey, the Dodgers are a tough team to close out. I don’t think this changes anything long term.
- The Dodgers mostly sent their B-team in relief on Sunday including Yency Almonte, making just his second appearance with the club this year, and Shane Greene, making his first. They both delivered scoreless frames, but Almonte walked three and Greene earned just one swinging strike on 26 offerings. I wouldn’t be pursuing either of them for fantasy purposes.
- Well, Carlos Rodón got absolutely jumped in this one and the game was seemingly over after the first few innings. None of the usage here has any future fantasy implications, but we got TWO position players pitching. On the Giants side, Luis González worked an inning and a third of scoreless ball, allowing just one hit. As far as position players pitching goes, he actually did quite well.
- On the Cardinals side, Albert Pujols added to his legacy and recorded the final three outs from the mound in a Cardinals victory. Yes, he allowed four runs, but it was still a legendary performance.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)
How do you feel about Joe Smith in a holds league?
He’s fine, but nothing to write home about. A decent bet for his ERA to settle in the low 3s with 20-25 holds on the year. The upside is pretty low, though, considering the lack of strikeouts and a pretty high IL risk.