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
- It’s another half-day on Monday with 16 of 30 teams expected to be in action. The teams who don’t get a scheduled day off are: LAA, CHW, KCR, STL, ARI, MIA, MIN, BAL, NYY, TOR, ATL, NYM, SEA, HOU, TBR, and OAK.
- Rosters have been cut down to 26 now and, generally, most teams cut one or two relievers who would normally be working mop-up duty.
- Logan Allen was DFA’d as the Guardians trimmed their roster to 26. He may catch on somewhere else, but it looks like Eli Morgan is the new long reliever/bridge guy in Cleveland.
- Clarke Schmidt was also a victim of roster consolidation. Despite strong results for the Yankees, he’ll move to AAA and a couple of guys will likely step up to fill his role.
- Just three mop-up innings for the Twins as they went up five runs before the Rays even stepped to the plate and never looked back. Tyler Duffey worked the 7th when the team was up 8-0, even though he didn’t necessarily need a maintenance inning. He’s probably fallen to third in line for holds.
- The Rays fell down early and just took everything Robert Dugger could give them. He recorded the final sixteen outs of the game (5.1 IP) in relief and bought the rest of the bullpen a day off.
- When Ryan Pressly went down, it was initially believed Héctor Neris would be the main beneficiary, but he just keeps getting used in non-save situations. Definitely looks like a committee situation to me with Ryne Stanek and Rafael Montero each also having shares.
- It feels like Jordan Romano is on pace for about 100 saves, right? It’s his eleventh in the team’s first 23 games, which puts him on pace for just 77 saves. Ho hum. Tim Mayza is also now tied for the team lead with five holds.
- A couple of weak infield singles did in Andrés Muñoz on Sunday, yet he was still able to come away with just one earned run. Drew Steckenrider worked the 8th to earn his third hold which likely would have left it for either Diego Castillo or Paul Sewald in the 9th if the Mariners didn’t extend their lead.
- Nobody used in this game for the Marlins is closer than fourth in line for holds and none of them are doing anything too terribly interesting that would make them rise up.
- What started as a light-hearted attempt to get Michael Lorenzen his first career CGSO with a six-run lead ended with Ryan Tepera coming on for an emergency one-out save with the bases loaded and a one-run cushion. This was his first save of the year, but Raisel Iglesias‘ meltdown was responsible for him getting the opportunity. Iglesias allowed an inherited runner to score along with two of his own while allowing three hits and a walk and recording just two outs. Among those three hits were a bloop double and an infield single, so it’s not like he got rocked in this one. He just wasn’t quite on and the White Sox took advantage. There is no changing of the guard, but this solidifies to me that Tepera is the handcuff if Iglesias is unable to pitch.
- The White Sox were down four or more runs for most of this game, so they gave the very back end of their bullpen the day off. José Ruiz, however, does lead the team in holds and is following up his solid 2021 by continuing to be reliable in higher leverage situations.
- Aroldis Chapman earned his sixth save of the season, but he had to work around a hit and a walk to do so. The most impressive reliever out of the Yankees pen continues to be Michael King, who retired five batters on sixteen pitches and who now sports a 22:3 K:BB ratio in 14.2 IP.
- Dylan Coleman is continuing to have trouble finding the zone and his leash is tightening because of it. That’s five walks and an HBP in his last three appearances and this outing turned a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 deficit. Scott Barlow came on to right the ship as best he could, but Coleman has some things to work out if he’s going to live up to his lofty potential this year.
- David Robertson earned the four-out save, his fifth of the year, striking out three. It was his third straight outing in which he went more than three outs. Even though they were all four-out appearances, the Cubs are showing a willingness to allow Robertson to go more than three outs. He’s not allowed a run in his first ten innings of work on the year and is the clear top bullpen arm for the Cubs.
- There was only medium-leverage for the bullpen with the most clarity in the league. Jandel Gustave has been fine in his low-leverage work this year, but he’s blocked by a very clear 7-8-9 combo from getting any higher leverage work anytime soon.
- While the back end of Arizona’s bullpen has held up much better than expected so far this year, the middle of the bullpen can still be taken advantage of and that’s what the Cardinals did on Sunday. Newly called up Keynan Middleton didn’t make a good first impression with his new team, as he gave up two solo shots in the bottom of the 7th, which tagged him with the blown save and the loss. With both Ian Kennedy and Noé Ramirez having worked three out of the past four, it wasn’t Arizona’s A-team out there, so I wouldn’t expect too many more hold chances for Middleton.
- Remember in Spring Training when the Cardinals were talking about how they had a closer committee? And then, in April, we saw that it was actually Giovanny Gallegos‘ show? Well, friends, we may be back to a committee. Ryan Helsley came on in the 8th with his team up 7-5 and looked so good that he was left in for the 9th and the save. He ended up retiring all six batters he faced, four on strikes, and hitting 103.1 mph on the gun, the fastest pitch in the majors this year. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Helsley was the most dominant reliever in baseball in April, so even a share of the ninth inning would make him a valuable add in up to 12-team leagues. Gallegos hadn’t worked since Monday, so, barring an injury, this was not availability related. Manager Oliver Marmol has been talking about wanting another right-handed option to pair with Gallegos to work the 8th and 9th based on matchups. Well, he’s found one in Helsley.
- Kutter Crawford is not the long relief answer for the Red Sox. Kevin Plawecki tossed the last inning of this one. You can safely ignore this.
- An average bullpen is generally not newsworthy or a story to get excited about, but given how bad the Orioles’ pitching staff has been over the past few years, average is worthy of a celebration. A big, largely unsung part of Baltimore’s ascension to average has been Joey Krehbiel, a 29-year-old journeyman whose allowed just one run in his first ten innings of work this year. Now, I’m not sure how sustainable it is, but it’s been nice to see a pitching staff grow as a group and start to find success.
- Taylor Rogers locked down his ninth save of the season with Tim Hill logging his third hold. That caps a four-save week for Rogers, who has been among the most productive closers in baseball for the first month plus a day. Yes, there has been some hard contact at times and that HH% is a little higher than you’d like, but that’s nit-picking for a guy who has yet to allow a run this year with a track record like Rogers.
- Chris Stratton was brought on in the top of the ninth to try to keep the deficit at one run, but he was knocked around a bit to the tune of three hits and two earned runs on two outs. Looking at his BABIP of .412 on the year, Stratton probably deserves to be doing a bit better and FIP and SIERA agree with that. Still, he’s not going to be an electric reliever, and you have him because you believe the Pirates will keep giving him the ninth to pump up his trade value and depress David Bednar’s arbitration value.
- Mostly mop-up duty for Atlanta relievers in this one as they tried to salvage the game after Kyle Muller’s rough start. Nothing to see here.
- Yes, in case you’re wondering, that is the Matt Moore in relief for the Rangers now and….being good? Three strikeouts and one walk in two clean innings in this one, backed by going 8/30 (27%) on swinging strikes. He’s pared down his arsenal from his starting days and now relies on his FB/CU pairing to get outs. Despite the nine walks, it’s really worked so far, as he’s boasting a 0.87 ERA and a 14.5% swinging strike rate and, due to his increased reliance on curveballs, has thus far been able to generate a lot of ground balls. Keeping the ball on the ground and missing bats is generally a recipe for success, but also quite different than Moore’s previous M.O. Keep an eye on the walks, but this could be something.
- Let’s try to pick out something positive for the Reds, eh? Alexis Diaz has been doing pretty well! A 16% swinging strike rate is no joke and his contact numbers back up his success, too. With pretty much everybody else on the team struggling, who says he couldn’t put himself in position for a save opportunity by next month? Well, assuming the Reds ever win another game.
- Colorado was up 9-0 after two innings here. Nothing more than maintenance innings for Robert Stephenson and Carlos Estévez.
- Well, Víctor Arano fell off a cliff rather quickly. Young relievers are very volatile. It was another non-save chance for Tanner Rainey, but it was yet another outing without a walk. The man with the walk rate over 16% coming into the season has now walked just one batter through his first seven innings of work. Maybe he’s fixed it and this is the true breakout we’ve all been waiting for. Or, unfortunately, maybe not.
- It was an already lost game for the Giants, but the final two innings provided a pretty good summary of how the back end of this bullpen is shaping up. Jake McGee allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in his inning while Camilo Doval struck out the side in order on fourteen pitches. Seven swinging strikes for Doval, none for McGee. McGee’s fastball velocity is still down nearly 1.5 mph from the past two years, where he was successful, to 2018-19 levels where he was…. not successful. I personally don’t see a need to roster McGee in any format anymore.
- With Emmanuel Clase unavailable after pitching in two straight, it was Trevor Stephan who was called upon to put out a ninth inning fire and secure the win. It wasn’t a save situation, but it’s still an occasion to recognize Stephan’s immense success so far this year. He features some increased ride on his fastball over last year, but it’s really his increased reliance on his splitter that is driving his success. All the underlying numbers agree – this is a top-notch reliever this year. He’s first in line for holds and ancillary saves and is a “run, don’t walk” grab if Clase is ever unavailable for an extended period of time.
- Oakland was down five or more runs for two-thirds of this game. Nothing noteworthy in their bullpen usage today.
- Andrew Chafin, quietly and without much fanfare, returned to the Tigers’ bullpen this week after recovering from a groin injury. He figures to be second in line for holds on the team when healthy and gives the team more flexibility in how they navigate the late innings. After sitting 89 mph on his sinker in his first appearance, he’s already back up to 91 in this one and produced five whiffs on sixteen pitches. Looks like he’s rounding back into form.
- Fantasy managers possibly checked the score in the 7th inning and thought “Oh, bother, another day without a save opportunity for my dear Craig Kimbrel“. And they’d have been right to give a frustrated sigh. His last save opportunity had come on April 18th. However, the Dodgers’ middle relievers finally faltered and they backed into a save situation which Kimbrel promptly converted. Despite their fourteen wins, the Dodgers have just five team saves. This can happen for stretches, but sometimes really good teams just don’t get as many save opportunities as you’d expect. The 2021 Blue Jays won 91 games and had just 34 team saves while the 79-win Padres had 43 team saves. It’s not always logical, but generally, we should be able to expect some more save opportunities for Kimbrel in the near future.
- After looking close to washed up last year, Brad Hand has apparently found himself again to the tune of a 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K line to start the year. Is it legit? Well….. it’s early, but I don’t think so. That 30% K-rate is absolutely unsustainable with his 7.1% swinging strike rate. 7.1%!!!! I trust Jeurys Familia and Seranthony Domínguez a lot more in that bullpen.
- Joely Rodríguez earned his third hold of the year, but then the Mets extended their lead. Seth Lugo still came on because he was already warm, but it turned into a low-leverage situation. It’s worth noting that the Mets are seeming pretty cautious about back-to-back days of work for relievers right now.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)