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
- Six teams are off on Monday, including NYY, TOR, CHW, LAA, SEA, and CIN.
- Chris Martin of the Cubs was placed on the bereavement list. He’ll be unavailable for a few days.
- Oakland continues to make full use of their 40-man roster and cycle guys in and out of the back of their bullpen. None of it is fantasy relevant.
- Camilo Doval came on in a non-save situation in the 9th and fell into the classic trap of a closer losing a bit of focus with a big lead. He threw some of his hardest pitches of the season, but his control was off leading to him coming right down the middle and allow a two-run shot. It’s likely been a frustrating couple of weeks if you have Doval on your roster, but he’s the unquestioned closer in San Francisco and the saves should come with time.
- The Reds went to Jeff Hoffman in the 8th inning, but lifted him in a two on, two out situation. Art Warren entered the game with the team up 2-0 and, by the time he left, had allowed four baserunners to reach without recording a single out. His slider actually did quite a bit of work here and the two hits besides the homer were unlucky, so he didn’t quite deserve to have quite this bad of an outing. Still, it’s hard to roster him in any format when he keeps getting hit like this. The Reds are unlikely to ever name a single closer, as they’ve preferred a committee approach for the past couple of seasons now. Without the upside of being the number one closer, the risk of rostering Warren is probably not worth it in most formats.
- It was a Major League debut for Cody Sedlock, who had the unenviable task of getting bulk innings out of the bullpen against a red hot Red Sox lineup. Here’s hoping he gets dealt a better hand for outing number two.
- After following Rich Hill for several turns of the rotation, Tanner Houck was used for the 7th and 8th innings in this one, when Boston was up 7-1. I don’t think this was part of the plan for Boston, but with the injury to Hansel Robles and the second game of Saturday’s double-header eating up so many innings from the bullpen, I think they needed to use Houck here to make sure they had enough relievers available on Monday. They also didn’t let him go three innings to secure the save even though he was only at fourteen pitches, so maybe we see him again at some point in the next couple days instead of three or four as has been the case so far this year.
- There was an Alex Colomé sighting in Washington. I suppose, if you are only looking at ERA and place in the closer depth chart and you’ve been in a coma since October 2020 and you squint hard enough, you might start to think he has some SVHD league value. Please don’t. Save yourself.
- Kyle Finnegan struggled his way to his seventh hold and Tanner Rainey came on in a sticky situation in the 8th and recorded the final five outs, three on strikeouts, for his fifth save of the season. Yet another outing without a walk for Rainey, who couldn’t avoid handing them out in 2021. He’s also avoiding barrels and hard contact even better than he did in his breakout 2020 campaign. Let’s hope he stays in this rhythm all year.
- This game didn’t teach us any more about who might be the Marlins’ closer. This usage tells me that Dylan Floro is being pushed more towards medium-leverage innings. That only leaves Cole Sulser, Anthony Bass, Tanner Scott, and upstart Steven Okert as the remaining potential options. A one in four chance ain’t bad, right? It kind of is when there’s a strong possibility that, if you’re chasing saves here, the only way to win is to not play.
- Yet again, it was the deadly one-two punch for Atlanta as A.J. Minter earned the hold (11) and Kenley Jansen shut things down for the save (12). Managers with Jansen might be feeling a little uneasy after a string of three straight games allowing a run, but the underlying numbers all look good. Full steam ahead.
- Cleveland’s bullpen threw one pitch here. I’m going to try not to read into it too much.
- Detroit needed five innings from their pen and they threw their top five arms to get it. Alex Lange got the win (2), Andrew Chafin (6) and Michael Fulmer (6) supplied holds, and Gregory Soto finished things out for the save (8). Soto yet again needed over 20 pitches to get through the inning, but yet again managed to get out without any major damage. Despite the strikeout upside of young arms like Alex Lange and the currently sidelined Will Vest, I still think Fulmer is the handcuff for Soto in saves leagues. Chafin is my pick in holds leagues.
- Clarke Schmidt is back with the Yankees and could be forced into higher-leverage assignments with both Chad Green and Jonathan Loáisiga on the shelf. Just looking at his ERA and WHIP make it seem like he’s ready to step in and get a bunch of multi-inning holds, but he’s struggled to strike guys out in the majors and his contact numbers, although they’re at very small sample sizes, don’t necessarily reflect a lot of dominance. He might see some opportunities, but I wouldn’t expect more than average performance.
- The Rays went with the same three relievers, but shuffled the order on Sunday to accomplish the same end. This time Jason Adam worked the 7th, Colin Poche the 8th, and J.P. Feyereisen the 9th for his first save of the season. It’s been these three in each of the last three close games for the Rays, so they’re clearly amongst the most trusted in this stable of guys. Just because Brooks Raley isn’t here this week, doesn’t mean he won’t be next week. If you want to speculate on saves on any of these guys, the variations in usage is just something you’re going to have to accept. Andrew Kittredge is first eligible to come back Friday, June 3rd and initial reports said he was targeting that weekend series for a return, but we likely won’t have that confirmed until the day before at earliest.
- Kansas City was playing from behind for the late innings here, so the cleanup crew came in and gave the top bullpen arms a rest. Both Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont should be available for Monday.
- Minnesota turned to Emilio Pagán for the 9th inning in a non-save situation on Sunday. It seems that he still has some share of the 9th and he will likely continue to stake some claim to saves in Minnesota as they’ve, at times, been a bit cautious with the usage of Jhoan Duran. Pagán, however, has undergone several bouts of control issues over the past couple years and sports a 15% walk rate. There’s some risk involved here.
- The Brewers went up big in the middle innings here and never looked back. Both teams sent out their cleanup crews to finish the final couple innings.
- Same story for the Cardinals. Just mop-up work here. The back ends of both bullpens are rested and ready to go for Monday.
- Contrary to the previous game, both teams had to burn several top arms in the Cubs-White Sox game. David Robertson came on in the 9th with a 1-0 lead, but was unable to hold it, allowing two hits before letting the tying run score on a wild pitch. Scott Effross and Robert Gsellman also took their turn and blew saves in the 10th and 11th respectively, before ultimately succumbing in the 12th when the offense didn’t plate the ghost runner in the top half of the frame. Robertson, Effross, and Mychal Givens have now all worked two days in a row, so the Cubs will be looking for some depth from their starter on Monday.
- The White Sox also burned several top arms, including Liam Hendriks, to keep them in the game and ultimately earn the victory which went to Matt Foster. Hendriks has now delivered six straight scoreless outings, however he’s still struggling to have as much success with his slider as he did last year. I’m not sure if he’s a clear 1b to Josh Hader’s 1a among closer ranks anymore. He’s still clearly top-10, but probably closer to the 5-6 range now.
- Brock Burke has now logged thirteen straight scoreless innings as he continues to rise up the leverage ladder for the Rangers. John King was tasked with protecting a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th, but was unable to do so and took the blown save. Even though King is only one off the team lead for holds, his lack of strikeout upside makes a young upstart like Burke a more interesting option now that he’s getting higher-leverage opportunities.
- Dany Jiménez came on for the fourth time in six days and, while he didn’t allow a hit in this one, a walk, steal, and wild pitch allowed the tying run to score and tag a blown save on his stat line. Fortunately, Oakland’s offense came through in the bottom of the frame to walk it off and earn the victory. Jiménez started out the year on fire, not allowing an earned run in April, but has cooled off in May allowing five earned runs in 11 IPs. At this point, it doesn’t seem like Jimenez is headed towards any major regression. The 9th inning is his and he’s shown the skills to be a viable closer, albeit not an elite one.
- David Phelps picked up the ancillary save for Toronto with Jordan Romano unavailable due to heavy usage. Adam Cimber also got his team-leading sixth win and Yimi García earned his team-leading tenth hold. Even though Phelps got the save here, it was more a product of the crazy nature of this game. Cimber and Garcia are still the ones to hold for ancillary saves and primary holds.
- After a game of craziness, the Angels were able to get it to their team leader in holds, Ryan Tepera, with a one-run lead in the 8th inning, just as they wanted to do. Unfortunately, Tepera wasn’t able to close this one and took his third blown save. This was the third straight game the Angels lost after leading going into the 7th inning. Over and above his massive five-run blowup two weeks ago, Tepera has struggled a bit here in May with seven walks and just eight strikeouts in ten innings. He’s trending away from being able to recreate the excellent performance he had in 2021, but he could still be a solid source of holds the rest of the way.
- Craig Kimbrel finally got some 9th inning work and earned his tenth save of the season for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, he allowed more traffic on the bases and allowed a run for the fourth time in his past six appearances. We’ve seen Kimbrel fluctuate wildly in his in-season performance and we’ve also seen him struggle in even medium-leverage situations. It should probably be mentioned that, despite allowing six runs in ten May appearances, he’s seven-for-seven in saves. There are a number of things that could be going on here. He’s only on pace for 48 IPs this year. Maybe he’s just rusty? Or maybe he’s just a bit of a volatile pitcher at this point in his career.
- Arizona continues to milk valuable innings from Sean Poppen. Although the team’s bullpen is slightly improved from last year, it’s still fourth-worst in the majors.
- The rest of the Pirates bullpen continue to show that David Bednar is the only pitcher you can consistently trust among their ranks. Chris Stratton allowed a walk-off homer to the light-hitting Trent Grisham and was tagged with his second loss. Maybe we’ll see more Wil Crowe towards the end of games now.
- With Taylor Rogers unavailable due to heavy usage, San Diego’s bullpen was shuffled around a bit with Nabil Crismatt coming in in the 8th to attempt to earn a hold. He was unable to do so this time, but this is a good sign that he’s starting to get into the holds conversation more consistently. If he keeps pitching the way he has, he’ll be earning holds more consistently soon. Luis Garcia earned the win, his fourth, and remains the top holds option on the team.
- Rafael Montero continued to look dominant as he picked up his second win of the season. Ryan Pressly continued to look a bit shaky, but still earned his eighth save of the season. Right now, Montero looks like the better pitcher. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a change anytime soon. Pressly has a long leash, but we can feel it tightening here in large part due to just how good Montero has been. Pressly saw a velocity decrease earlier in the year, but has seen it return since coming back from the IL, so there’s a chance he finds a groove and squashes all concerns. With how he’s performed, Montero deserves to be held as a handcuff where you have the roster space to do so.
- Diego Castillo had some major problems earlier this month and was put in the low-leverage situation doghouse. He appears to be back in a high-leverage role and finished this week with three perfect innings and five punchouts. His overall numbers are quite ugly, but he’s back to being a top arm in Seattle with a couple of injuries in that pen and should be in the mix for both holds and saves.
- Corey Knebel came on to protect a 4-3 lead in the 9th, but gave up the game-tying home run and blew the save on his first pitch. He was later unable to prevent the ghost runner from scoring in the 10th and took the loss as well. It was his third blown save of the month in seven opportunities as he’s seen his ERA climb from 0.96 to a still respectable 3.15. Knebel isn’t in imminent danger of losing his job, but underlying numbers, including a K-BB% of just 10.8% show that we shouldn’t expect dominance from Knebel this year. An ERA in the mid-to-low 3s and a K-rate in the mid-to-low 20s is about all we could hope for from him. Only time will tell if this is enough to stick as the closer long-term. Brad Hand is the guy to own if you want to handcuff, but he’s also got his share of risk. Seranthony Domínguez is your upside play here.
- Drew Smith logged two outs in the 7th to nab his team-leading twelfth hold of the season. Edwin Díaz was brought on to lock things down with a one run lead in the bottom of the 10th and was able to prevent the ghost runner from scoring and seal the game for his second win. Diaz was yet again dominant, the walk was intentional, and has a solid argument for the number two closer in the game.
Bullpen Depth Charts
Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs. Check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)