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Reliever Ranks – 6/23

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

 

  • Every team played on Wednesday but only two-thirds of the league is in action today.
  • 10 teams have today off and will be able to rest their bullpens before the weekend. Teams with no game on Thursday include BOS, TB, TOR, DET, KC, LAA, TEX, NYM, WSH, & ARZ.

 

  • The Chicago White Sox reinstated right-hander Matt Foster from the bereavement list, returning one of the core holds options back into a bullpen that is missing some major pieces right now. He will knock Tanner Banks out of late innings action and will be counted on to help solidify the relief corps with Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer on the shelf.
  • Jimmy Herget, a holds option for the Los Angeles Angels, was placed on the 15-day IL with a right shoulder impingement. The right-hander will be replaced by the newly recalled Oliver Ortega who racked up five holds and a 3.81 ERA (26 IP) prior to his demotion.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates DFA’d holds option Heath Hembree after the right-hander struggled to a 7.16 ERA (16.1 IP) while striking out just 15.6% of the batters he faced. With his best possible replacements on the injured list, 24-year-old rookie right-hander Yerry De Los Santos will slot into the chart.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

NYM 3 – HOU 5

  • In a game in which the Mets were down by four after the first inning, outs needed to be made up and they were without any hints of high stress. Covering the majority of the ground was Yoan López. The right-hander pitched the longest outing of his career, covering eight outs without allowing a run to take the load off of a bullpen that pitched 5.2 frames. The entirety of the pen was unscored upon, with Tommy Hunter and Joely Rodríguez contributing four scoreless outs each. Edwin Díaz got some work in, facing the final two Astros batters of the day. He needed to pitch after having not appeared for four days. With a day off today, Díaz will have more than enough time to rest up and be prepared for the weekend.
  • The top four relievers in the Astros arm barn appeared, they all got their respective jobs done, and they were each rewarded with decisions. Holds went to Ryne Stanek (seventh hold), Héctor Neris (14th), and Rafael Montero (10th), with each of them putting up a zero. Stanek’s ERA sits at 0.75 (24 IP), tying him for the fifth-lowest mark among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. He has found success with his splitter which sports the highest swinging strike rate (30%) among that pitch type in the Majors. To finish the game off with a two-run lead, Ryan Pressly took the mound and tossed a perfect inning with two strikeouts to record his 14th save of the season. He has been much better since his early-season struggles and subsequent IL stint. Since his return to the bump on May 5th, he’s pitched to a 2.51 ERA (14.1 IP) and a 1.12 WHIP with 94.2 mph average fastball velocity, but he has only struck out 20% of the batters he’s faced. He needed just 14 pitches to record the save, so he will be available for tonight’s matchup in the Bronx.

 

TOR 9 – CWS 5

  • With help from their offense, the Blue Jays were able to avoid using closer Jordan Romano a day after he blew a save. Instead, four pitchers were able to hold the eight-run lead handed to them. However, both David Phelps and Adam Cimber colluded to get their bullpen mate Trent Thornton his first hold of the season by reducing the lead by four runs. The ninth inning was pitched by left-hander Tim Mayza. The 30-year-old is having his best season yet, with a 2.08 ERA (17.1 IP), but is striking out less than a batter per inning and hasn’t limited baserunners (1.21 WHIP) at an elite rate.
  • In his return from the bereavement list, Matt Foster was unable to keep runs off the board, but it didn’t matter as his starter gave up seven earned runs in a horrid outing. Tanner Banks was able to mop things up, tossing 2.1 perfect frames but failing to strike out a batter.

 

PHI 2 – TEX 4

  • The Philadelphia arm barn was lights out, but it didn’t amount to anything as their offense scratched across just two runs. They allowed just one baserunner (a walk) across 3.2 frames while striking out six Rangers. Andrew Bellatti completed the starter’s unfinished fifth, while Connor Brogdon, José Alvarado, and Corey Knebel each pitched their own reclusive innings. Alvarado was spitting fire, recording the highest velocity on the night, topping out at 101.2 mph with his sinker.
  • Some of the usual suspects were used by the Rangers as they were able to avoid any drama and secure the victory. Finishing off the starter’s unfinished sixth and pitching his own seventh inning, Matt Moore earned his third hold and kept the Phillies out of the hit column in the process. The eight went to Dennis Santana where he notched his 12th hold and dropped his ERA to 1.29 (28 IP). In his first full season in Texas, this is Santana’s first season with an ERA under four, but he sports a strikeout rate below 20%, making it difficult to believe his success will continue at this rate, even if his Statcast metrics suggest it will. Up by two in the final frame, Joe Barlow shut the game down with a perfect frame for his 13th save of the season. I’m still not totally sold he is an elite shut-down reliever because of his low strikeout rate and inclination to allow fly balls and hard contact, but he’s been a bankable saves option nonetheless. The Rangers have today off and will be given the luxury of resting their top arms.

 

ARZ 4 – SD 10

  • Down by at least five runs for the entirety of the bullpen’s presence on the mound, few consequential relievers worked as the Diamondbacks prepared for their day off today. Two starters turned relievers pitched while one middle reliever tossed some pitches in an effort to get back on track. Luke Weaver and Caleb Smith were those former starters, but each of them pitched poorly, allowing two runs apiece. J.B. Wendelken was the out-of-sorts middle-inning man that kept runs off the board but failed to find his strikeout pitch. His strikeout rate has dropped by nearly 15% since his best season in 2020, and he has been completely removed from any semblance of high-leverage work in a weak Arizona bullpen.
  • With the starter completing just four frames, Adrian Morejon was able to vulture the win, his first of the season, by recording four outs. He surrendered an unearned run and failed to punch anyone out, but he was effective nonetheless as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. A rare 3+ inning save was awarded to Nick Martinez, with the swingman securing 11 outs and the ballgame for his first career save. He seems to be adjusting fine to the bullpen and produced nine whiffs, with six of them coming on his changeup, while boasting a 40% CSW across all of his pitches.

 

LAD 8 – CIN 4

  • A tie game in the sixth presented a perfect opportunity for Alex Vesia to vulture his first win of the season with a scoreless frame prior to the offense taking the lead. That lead also brought with it a hold opportunity for Yency Almonte as the right-hander notched his third of the season while lowering his ERA to 1.06 (17 IP). He has been mentioned recently as another successful reclamation project by the Dodgers after he struggled to a 5.30 ERA across four seasons in Colorado. Whether that lack of success was due to the Rockies’ inability to get the most out of him or the thin Denver air, the 28-year-old has blossomed this year by adding almost two ticks to his sinker and relying on his best offering (his slider) for half of his pitches. A simple, yet effective, strategy. With a four-run lead, Daniel Hudson and Craig Kimbrel worked clean frames to finish off the game. They both needed work, having not pitched since Sunday. It was welcoming to see a clean inning from the struggling Kimbrel, and I expect him to get right with the help of the Dodgers coaching staff. The 19 pitches he threw won’t be enough to restrain him from attacking a save opportunity today.
  • Once again, the Reds relief corps failed to come through in a tight ballgame. Only half of the relievers gave up runs, but when your opposing relievers surrender zero, it’s not as much of a success as one might originally think. The loss, his second of the year, went to Ross Detwiler who watched Freddie Freeman send a ball out of the park. Joel Kuhnel was next, and the three runs he allowed moved his ERA from a sub-4.00 mark to a rate north of 5.00. Art Warren and Dauri Moreta worked the final two frames without allowing a run, but if you add up their ERA numbers, the total is still greater than 15.

 

COL 4 – MIA 7

  • In his first appearance out of the bullpen this season since being removed from the rotation, Austin Gomber didn’t seem comfortable, as he surrendered three earned runs across five outs. Robert Stephenson was needed to finish off the seventh frame that Gomber started. Don’t put more food on your plate than you can finish! Lucas Gilbreath contributed a scoreless eighth in an uneventful game of bullpen usage from the Rockies in Miami.
  • With seven strong from the starter, the Fish turned to just two relievers to finish off the win. The final score suggests that a save was in order, but that was the result of Louis Head giving up three runs in the ninth inning to bring his ERA above 7.00. Prior to that near disaster, Steven Okert pitched a scoreless eighth with one strikeout. The former Giant has four wins, nine holds, 30 strikeouts, a 2.49 ERA (21.2 IP), and a 1.06 WHIP in his second consecutive prosperous season for the Marlins.

 

WSH 0 – BAL 7

  • In a game that was called due to rain after just six innings, the Nats relievers only had to cover two frames in a game that could’ve seen a lot of bullpen usage after their starter exited prior to the fifth. Erasmo Ramírez pitched a perfect fifth and Andres Machado finished off the sixth without a scratch, but in between those two, Steve Cishek watched four runners cross home as he struggled to keep the ball in the yard. A day off today will prevent the bullpen from giving up any more runs…at least for one day.
  • You might think that the shortened doubleheaders were back if you took just a quick glance at the box score. The starter went five frames, and unsuspectingly, rookie left-hander Nick Vespi recorded his first career save with a hitless sixth before the rain washed away a fun day of baseball. He has given up just one run in his 10.1 innings of work (0.87 ERA) and is quickly becoming the second lefty in command behind Cionel Pérez (if you count Keegan Akin as more of a bulk reliever).

 

CHC 14 – PIT 5

  • It was a blowout for the Cubs, with the bullpen jumping into action with a nine-run lead. Maintenance work was tasked to Mychal Givens because he last pitched on Friday. The case was the same for closer David Robertson who tossed a perfect eighth inning. After 14 seasons and 695 appearances, he was also afforded his first Major League at-bat, during which he struck out against a position player pitcher. He tossed just 10 pitches, which means he will be available today for a save opportunity. Daniel Norris, on the other hand, needed 41 pitches to finish off his four-run ninth, but that was mostly caused by an error that led to all of the runs being unearned.
  • I wish I could use emojis in this article because a “yikes” grimace perfectly describes the face I just made when I saw that Pirates starter Jerad Eickhoff was not only so ineffective but that he was also left in long enough to accumulate 10 earned runs. Following that act, Chase De Jong sauntered to the mound like a seasoned comedian after witnessing the terrible routine that opened for him, knowing that no matter what jokes he makes, they will be funnier than whatever the last guy said. He pitched 3.2 scoreless frames, inducing just three whiffs with a 28% CSW, but he was able to push the game to the ninth. There, the Pirates threw in the towel and let rookie utility man Diego Castillo toss some lollipops. His slowest pitch was clocked at 40.4 mph and he gave up four earned runs. Hey, at least he struck out the opposing relief pitcher when he had the chance!

 

DET 2 – BOS 6

  • There was a sale on zeroes, and the Tigers bullpen jumped with joy. Unfortunately, the offense bought some of them too, wasting the scoreless outings put up by three Detroit relievers. Joe Jiménez, Wily Peralta, and Jason Foley each lowered their ERAs with their clean outings. Peralta has been the most impressive of the three this season, despite a 1.31 WHIP and 20.3% strikeout rate. Across 28.1 innings, he sports a 1.91 ERA and has been a steadying presence in a bullpen that features just one other reliever over the age of 30.
  • It was a welcome sight for Red Sox fans to witness a couple of Boston relievers not named Tanner Houck record scoreless outings. A hitless seventh was pitched by Jake Diekman before Hirokazu Sawamura tossed two perfect frames to end the game. Sawamura’s ERA now sits below 3.00 with the help of a low-90s splitter that averages the third-highest velocity of any pitch with that classification while boasting a 22.3% swinging-strike rate.

 

NYY 5 – TB 4

  • The Chronicles of the Yankees: The Win, The Hold, and The Save. While the New York relievers weren’t pitching in Narnia, they did record a trio of decisions. The win, his fourth, was awarded to Clarke Schmidt for his scoreless seventh. Michael King (a name befitting of a Narnia reference) earned his 11th hold with his perfect eighth. Finally, Clay Holmes sent Yankees fans “holme” happy with a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the season. It was the bounceback the right-hander needed after blowing a save in his last outing and finally looking like he wasn’t invincible. He still owns the lowest ERA (0.53, 33.2 IP) among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. He needed just 16 pitches to lock down the save, so he should be available tonight should a save situation arise.
  • Unable to hold onto the lead in spite of six different relievers being used, the Rays went all out knowing that they would have the day off today. Finishing off the starter’s fifth was Brooks Raley. Then, the holds began to roll in, with Calvin Faucher recording his first, Jason Adam his 10th, Colin Poche his ninth, and Ryan Thompson his fifth. Only Adam and Thompson were unscathed and that is most likely due to each of them recording just one out. Neither of them was the reason for the loss, however, as Ralph Garza Jr. served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Jose Trevino in his first of two innings of work and was saddled with his second loss and blown save of the season.

 

SF 3 – ATL 4

  • It must’ve been tough for Carlos Rodón to watch his bullpen blow his win after such a great performance. He was definitely feeling confident after John Brebbia recorded his seventh hold with a perfect eighth, but once he realized that regular closer Camilo Doval was in need of a rest day and that Jake McGee would be called upon for the save, he most likely let out a big sigh. The veteran lefty gave up a dinger to the first batter he faced and a single to the second before a mound visit calmed him down enough to force a flyout that allowed the runner to tag up. He officially blew the save, his third of the year, by giving up a single to the next batter before being removed in favor of Tyler Rogers. The submariner was unlucky, as the inherited runner stole second during his strikeout of the first batter he was tasked with and then scored the winning run on a walk-off single by Adam Duvall. McGee was tagged with his second loss of the year and neither he nor Rogers have been able to replicate the success they produced last season.
  • Atlanta went southpaw-centric in relief of their starter, with Will Smith tossing a clean eighth and A.J. Minter a one-run ninth. Following the walk-off, Minter was awarded his third win of the season. He has been one of the most consistent setup men in baseball this season, as his 1.50 ERA is seventh among pitchers with at least 30 innings and his 15 holds are the second-most in the Majors.

 

CLE 11 – MIN 10

  • A high-scoring, back-and-forth affair was the perfect breeding ground for interesting bullpen happenings. Following a poor 4.1-inning outing from the starter, Anthony Gose covered two perfect frames to move the momentum in favor of the Guardians. However, Anthony Castro isn’t a fan of momentum and allowed four runs to cross home, as he was saddled with his first blown save. Luckily, the offense bailed him out, leading to Sam Hentges earning his first win with a hitless eighth. All of that action set Emmanuel Clase up for the save opportunity in the ninth with a one-run lead. He shut the door with a perfect frame and two strikeouts for his 17th save of the season and third in the past four days. He will most likely get the day off today because of his heavy workload recently, putting Eli Morgan, Bryan Shaw, or Trevor Stephan in line for a save chance today.
  • The Twins had a similar, yet less fortunate, night of bullpen work. Caleb Thielbar allowed no baserunners in his 1.1 frames and Joe Smith was able to finish off the sixth that Thielbar began to earn his 13th hold. Jharel Cotton also didn’t allow any baserunners, because the hitters he faced were rounding the bases. He allowed three runs on two home runs and blew his first save because of those long balls. Closer Emilio Pagán was then called upon for a two-inning save. Maybe it wasn’t initially drawn up that way, but manager Rocco Baldelli got the idea in his head after watching the right-hander strike out the side in the eighth. He sent him back out there for the ninth where he allowed three consecutive hits and one run before being replaced by Griffin Jax. The newly-entered reliever allowed both inherited runners to score and even allowed his own run and was saddled with his second loss and first blown save of the season. I think this one can be drawn up to the wrong buttons being pressed, but like I said yesterday, Baldelli needs to put more respect on Jhoan Duran’s name and use him as the go-to closer.

 

STL 5 – MIL 4

  • The lead was grabbed by the Cardinals in the sixth with Johan Oviedo on the mound and was never given up. Oviedo had entered to finish off the starter’s fifth inning and stayed on for the next two frames to earn his first win. He was perfect across those seven outs, striking out three batters and sporting a 50% CSW on his slider. Another multi-inning relief effort was contributed by Génesis Cabrera, with the lefty tossing two hitless innings to lock down his first save of the season. I believe that St. Louis wanted to avoid using both Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos on back-to-back days because this was a close game against a division rival and it was very surprising to see Cabrera trusted for the two-inning save, even if he does own a 2.27 ERA (31.2 IP).
  • The A-team was avoided with the Brewers trailing upon the entrance of the relief corps. Hoby Milner pitched a scoreless seventh, recording all of his outs via the strikeout, and Trevor Kelley worked two perfect frames with five punchouts. Neither is someone to target in fantasy, even in holds leagues, but their productive outings reveal how deep the Milwaukee bullpen is and how good the Brewers are at getting the most out of their pitchers.

 

SEA 9 – OAK 0

  • A massive lead and a shutout of the opposition afforded the Mariners the benefit of avoiding their top-flight relievers. The only two relievers to work were Penn Murfee and Tommy Milone. The former pitched a scoreless seventh to lower his ERA to 1.65 (27.1 IP) while the latter tossed a perfect eighth and a scoreless ninth to reduce his ERA to 1.50 (6 IP). The M’s don’t get the day off today, but the back end of their bullpen is fully rested, with their two-headed closer committee having not pitched since Saturday.
  • With a seven-run deficit, there was no reason for the A’s to waste any arms they may need with a potential lead today. The recently recalled Domingo Tapia secured seven outs but allowed two runs along the way. Finishing off Tapia’s third inning of work in the seventh, Lou Trivino continued to chip away at his 8.35 ERA (18.1 IP). The final true reliever to pitch was Austin Pruitt, who tossed a perfect eighth. Oakland phoned it in in the ninth by allowing utility man Sheldon Neuse to toe the rubber. Surprisingly, he was unscored upon and maintains a 0.00 ERA for his career. He bottomed out at 46.3 mph and all of his outs were recorded on deep flyouts.

 

KC 0 – LAA 5

  • The Royals must’ve known they had no chance against the Angels on Wednesday because they didn’t bother using their best relievers in a game that was never too far out of reach. The four outs immediately following the starter were covered by Taylor Clarke, as the right-hander was perfect and struck out three batters. The next man up, Amir Garrett, didn’t fare well, surrendering two runs while securing just two outs before making way for Daniel Mengden to finish off his inning. The last man on the mound for Kansas City was rookie left-hander Foster Griffin. He gave up two runs of his own and continued the trend of the Royals being overshadowed by an incredible performance on the other side of the ball.
  • What an outing by Shohei Ohtani! Head over to the SP Roundup to read Nick’s analysis of a career night for the reigning unanimous AL MVP award winner. His eight innings and 13 strikeouts left just one frame to be covered by the bullpen. Ryan Tepera pitched a perfect ninth to end an amazing evening at the park for the Angels and an eventful day of baseball across the league on Wednesday.

 

Bullpen Depth Charts

 

Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:

The Hold Up 6/16: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds

Closing Time 6/21: Ranking the Top 40 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 6/17

 

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.

  • J.C. Aoudad says:

    Good wrap-up, Jake, with excellent “so what.” Thank you!

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