Reliever Ranks – 6/29

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

Welcome back to the latest 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

 

  • All 30 teams were in action on Tuesday and 16 games were played, with the Guardians and Twins partaking in a doubleheader.
  • We will witness 15 more games today before 14 teams have the day off tomorrow. Thursday will offer a day of rest to the following teams: BOS, BAL, DET, KC, CWS, TEX, LAA, NYM, WSH, MIA, STL, SF, ARZ, and COL.

 

  • The Atlanta Braves placed closer Kenley Jansen on the 15-day IL with an irregular heartbeat. The ominous nature of heart problems is sure to give some fantasy managers a scare, but when considering that Jansen missed time with this same issue in 2011, ’12, and ’18, was out for the minimum number of days, and was able to throw while shelved, they should tame their expectations of a lengthy absence. While he’s recovering, Will Smith should see the majority of save opportunities, but A.J. Minter should also vulture a few of his own, having been the most dominant reliever in the Atlanta bullpen all year. Lefty Dylan Lee will move up in the bullpen hierarchy as well, placing him in a position to receive some hold opportunities.
  • Archie Bradley of the Los Angeles Angels was placed on the 15-day IL with a fractured right elbow. He sustained the injury when he faceplanted while hopping the fence in last weekend’s infamous brawl with the Mariners. He is likely to miss a couple of months as he will be shut down from throwing for the next four weeks before he works back into game shape. He will be removed from hold opportunities and José Quijada will take his place on the chart.

 

  • The Milwaukee Brewers sent long reliever Trevor Kelley to the minors. The empty spot is not a clear fix. Right now, it seems as though Jason Alexander (no, not the guy from Seinfeld) could be kicked from the rotation into a swingman role, but the same could be said for Chi Chi González. Alexander will be slotted there for now, but the situation could change quickly or be fluid for a while.
  • The same situation is apparent in the Bronx. Charted bulk reliever Manny Bañuelos was demoted, leaving Albert Abreu as the new long reliever for the New York Yankees.

 

  • Looking ahead, Austin Voth is the scheduled starter for the Baltimore Orioles in Seattle. He pitched just three innings in his last start due to not having been built up to a starter’s workload. We could see a similarly abbreviated outing for the right-hander today, leading me to suggest Keegan Akin or Bryan Baker as relievers to pick up for a possible win opportunity.

 

Yesterday’s Performances

 

MIN 2 – CLE 3 (Game 1)

  • The Twins may need to switch up the back-end hierarchy in their arm barn. After Griffin Jax put up a perfect eighth, Emilio Pagán blew yet another game, walking two batters and giving up a hit in the ninth while watching a pair of men cross home. This is his third outing in his last four that he’s allowed multiple runs, and it’s starting to get frustrating for Twins fans and fantasy managers of Jhoan Duran. With Pagán taking the eighth, it’s possible the plan was for him to set up for a Duran appearance in the ninth, but even still, Pagán may need to be even lower in the pecking order as he figures things out. This poor outing resulted in his third loss and fifth blown save of the season. Caleb Thielbar tossed a two-strikeout, perfect ninth in the losing effort.
  • The Guardians caught a break thanks to the Minnesota blowup. Earlier in the game, Eli Morgan had blown his starter’s win, and his third save of the season after he gave up a run in the seventh. He was followed by Sam Hentges who also gave up a run but was rewarded with his second win after the offense took the lead in the bottom half. As is commonplace, Emmanuel Clase came on to shut the door for his 18th save with a perfect ninth including two strikeouts. He now owns the fourth-most saves in baseball while his 1.44 ERA (31.1 IP) and 0.77 WHIP are top-five marks among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched.

 

MIN 6 – CLE 0 (Game 2)

  • Game two was much less eventful from a bullpen perspective as the Twins shut out the Guardians with a comfortable lead. Tyler Duffey worked the seventh and Jovani Moran pitched the final two frames to close things out. A 25-year-old left-hander, Moran has been lights out in his first 12.1 innings in 2022, pitching to a 1.46 ERA with a 17/7 K/BB ratio.
  • On the verge of a loss, the Guardians called upon long reliever Enyel De Los Santos for five outs. His one-run outing preceded a trio of relievers who attempted to keep the game within striking distance. Anthony Gose and Trevor Stephan worked a scoreless inning apiece while Anthony Castro wasn’t at his best, permitting four baserunners and a home run, but was lucky enough to give up just one run.

 

PIT 1 – WSH 3

  • In a tie game in the seventh, Wil Crowe relieved his starter. His first inning was flawless, with the only runner reaching base via a dropped third strike. That gave him the opportunity to rack up a third K on a punchout of Juan Soto. However, the eighth inning was not as kind to him. With two outs, he walked César Hernández to put runners on first and second, and on the next at-bat, he gave up a two-run double that wound up being the game’s deciding factor. Crowe took home his fourth loss in the unfortunate outing.
  • With his starter tossing eight frames, Tanner Rainey was the beneficiary of the lead change and secured his 11th save with a scoreless ninth. The outing dropped his ERA below three (2.88, 25 IP), but his 1.32 WHIP doesn’t really match with his run-suppressing abilities. He has pitched in three out of the last five days, tossing 59 pitches in that time, so we could see him get a rest today, but considering the Nationals have tomorrow off, I’d bet that they would push him today if a save situation presents itself.

 

ATL 5 – PHI 3

  • In the first game without Kenley Jansen, the Braves went with the man I pegged as the secondary saves option. A.J. Minter locked down his first save of the season (and first since 2019) with a perfect ninth. The spotless outing dropped his ERA to 1.64 (33 IP) and his WHIP to 0.79. Those numbers, as well as his 35.8% K%, are all top-five marks among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched, making him one of the most unhittable relievers this season. Most impressively, his 31.7% K-BB% is tied with Jhoan Duran for the highest rate in the Majors. His success may force manager Brian Snitker’s hand to turn to him more often than the inferior Will Smith. Dylan Lee and Collin McHugh also pitched in this game. Lee was tagged with his first blown save after he gave up a dinger to Kyle Schwarber, but McHugh picked him up with five perfect outs to acquire his first win of the season. He struck out four of the five batters he faced.
  • The Phillies were sitting pretty when Corey Knebel finished off his starter’s seventh, but when Andrew Bellatti surrendered a long ball off the bat of Matt Olson (his second of the game), the game suddenly was in favor of the opposition. Bellatti was saddled with his third loss and Brad Hand was unable to salvage the ballgame, giving up another run to ensure the Philadelphia defeat.

 

OAK 1 – NYY 2

  • Trailing the entirety of the game and receiving seven strong innings from their starter, the A’s didn’t really have much use for their bullpen. Pitching the final two frames in the loss were Domingo Acevedo and Sam Selman. Not much to write home about here other than the fact that the ninth-inning options will be fully rested for today.
  • If you like decisions and juggernauts, the Yankees side of this matchup was a delight. Holds were handed out to Ron Marinaccio (second hold), Wandy Peralta (seventh), and Michael King (12th). If I asked you who among these pitchers has a sub-3.00 ERA, how many guesses would it take you to correctly answer that all three of them have an ERA below that mark? The save went to one of the best relievers in baseball this season, Clay Holmes. He allowed two hits and an unearned run because of catcher interference, but he came away with his 13th save nonetheless. Continuing to blow away hitters, his 0.50 ERA (35.2 IP) is the lowest in the Majors by far (min. 30 IP) and he does it all by coaxing ground balls at an insane 81.8% rate, which is more than 14% higher than the next best mark.

 

BOS 5 – TOR 6

  • They had a lead, but they gave it up. That has been a common theme for the Red Sox this season, and without their newfound cl0ser traveling with them to Toronto, we were bound to see this consistent problem arise again. It was looking promising after scoreless frames from Ryan Brasier and John Schreiber, but Tyler Danish was unable to hold the lead, giving up two runs and being stuck with his first loss. He also received his third hold because he left with the lead, only for Hansel Robles to give up the walk-off hit, as he blew his fifth save. Schreiber lowered his ERA to 0.76 (23.2 IP) with his scoreless outing, but it was interesting to see him used in the sixth of a tight game. I’m guessing this means Matt Strahm gets the save chance today before the day off tomorrow.
  • The Blue Jays blew a lead of their own but were fortunate enough to go home victorious. Adam Cimber earned his ninth hold with his scoreless sixth, but Trent Thornton couldn’t do the same, blowing his first save of the season after surrendering two runs. Another run crossed the plate under the watch of Tim Mayza and Matt Gage pushed the game to the ninth. There, Jordan Romano worked for the first time in a week and secured his first win with a hitless frame prior to the walk-off.

 

HOU 9 – NYM 1

  • A 9-1 affair is never a place for important bullpen usage. After eight innings from their starter, the Astros called upon the recently recalled Enoli Paredes for the ninth and he got the job done, despite spoiling the shutout. The top arms are all fully rested for the remainder of the week.
  • The same can be said for the Mets, who rested the A-listers. They turned to Chasen Shreve, Trevor Williams, and Adonis Medina instead, with both Williams and Medina tossing more than one frame. The former long man earned 10 whiffs across 51 pitches, with half of them coming on his four-seamer.

 

MIL 5 – TB 3

  • The Brewers went by the books in their win over the Rays. Trevor Gott worked a scoreless sixth for his eighth hold. Brad Boxberger worked a perfect seventh for his 16th hold, tied for the second-highest total in the Majors. Jason Alexander was next…wait what? Ooooh, the Brewers took a wider lead and called upon Alexander to give up a couple of runs to put the rest of their bullpen into decision-making territory. Devin Williams earned his Major League-leading 19th hold by finishing off Alexander’s eighth. Finally, Josh Hader did what he is wont to do and closed out the ballgame for his MLB-leading 23rd save, putting him on pace for 49 across the full season. He owns the second-highest strikeout rate (47.7%, 23.2 IP), trailing only Edwin Díaz among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. Most notably, his 40.7% K-BB% leads baseball. He will be available today after an efficient 14-pitch appearance.
  • You never know what to expect from the Rays’ relief corps, but on Tuesday it wasn’t all that peculiar. Matt Wisler blew his third save and was tagged with his second loss after he gave up two dingers to put the Brewers in front. Ralph Garza Jr. and Shawn Armstrong attempted to clean up his mess, but the offense couldn’t stage a comeback. The top-flight arms are all rested for today’s action.

 

MIA 3 – STL 5

  • The score never changed upon the entrance of the bullpens, so we witnessed a lot of zeroes being placed on the scoreboard. Fighting from behind, the Marlins turned to Zach Pop, Anthony Bass, and Jimmy Yacabonis for a trio of scoreless frames. Bass now owns a 1.74 ERA (31 IP) but hasn’t had many shots at the closer role, while Yacabonis has an unreal 56.9% strikeout rate (6.1 IP) after two more strikeouts on Tuesday.
  • With a two-run lead, the Cardinals received two perfect frames from the newly charted Junior Fernández, as the right-hander earned his first hold, featuring a sinker that topped out at 99.9 mph. That impressive outing set up the top two arms in St. Louis to end the night on a high note. Earning his fourth hold, Giovanny Gallegos tossed a hitless eighth before handing the ball over to Ryan Helsley for a perfect ninth. Helsley struck out all three batters he faced, earning his sixth save, and subtracting from his ERA. It now sits at 0.30 (29.2 IP), the lowest mark among any pitcher with at least 25 innings pitched. He also owns the lowest WHIP (0.57) among that same group of pitchers and his 40% strikeout rate isn’t too shabby either.

 

CIN 5 – CHC 3

  • 12/16 games (75%) ended with scores that were within three runs of each other. As the score above suggests, that was also the case in this NL Central matchup. A dominant outing from their starter set the Reds bullpen up for success. They got off on the wrong foot, with Joel Kuhnel surrendering three runs in the seventh, but they settled down after Art Warren earned his fourth hold with a scoreless eighth. With other top options on the IL, Hunter Strickland has taken kindly to the closer role. He earned his fourth save with a scoreless ninth and has been pretty solid so far since taking over. He will need to continue to string together successful outings to drop his 4.91 ERA (25.2 IP) into acceptable territory. He’ll have the chance to do that today if an opportunity arises after he threw just 13 pitches on Tuesday.
  • Nothing notable happened on the Chicago side of things. Rowan Wick and Jared Hughes combined to finish off the starter’s seventh prior to Mark Leiter Jr. pitching the final two frames with four strikeouts. A bullpen game would be an option today considering how rested the relief corps is, but that won’t be the case with Justin Steele toeing the rubber.

 

TEX 8 – KC 3

  • Two arms threw pitches for the Rangers with a pretty comfortable lead. José Leclerc continued to work his way back from Tommy John surgery, allowing two runs in the eighth. His fastball is still sitting in the mid-90s even after his lengthy rehabilitation process. The final frame went to Dennis Santana who did his job perfectly, securing the victory with two groundouts and a flyout. He pairs a sub-20% K-rate (18.8%) with a 1.53 ERA (29.1 IP), making him one of the best relief arms at pitching to contact effectively.
  • All hands were on deck after the Royals starter allowed seven runs and survived just 3.2 frames. Five relievers pitched in to get the game over with and only one of them gave up a run, so maybe a bullpen game would’ve been a better strategy here. Amir Garrett, Taylor Clarke, Dylan Coleman, and Jose Cuas combined for 4.1 innings, two hits, no earned, no walks, and four strikeouts across the fourth through eighth innings. Matt Peacock was the only reliever to give up a run, but it really didn’t alter the outcome.

 

LAD 4 – COL 7

  • A day after being shut out in one of the best hitter’s parks, the Dodgers were once again defeated. This time, their bullpen was unable to change the course of the game after their starter surrendered six runs. A scoreless fifth was pitched by Phil Bickford before Yency Almonte gave up the only run allowed by a Hollywood reliever. A perfect, two-strikeout seventh was tossed by Reyes Moronta and Alex Vesia followed with a hitless ninth. The top three options in this bullpen (Craig Kimbrel, Brusdar Graterol, and Evan Phillips) all have back-to-back days of rest and will be raring to go today.
  • It was not a save situation, but the Rockies decided to go with their most-trusted arms because they were facing one of the best teams in baseball. Lucas Gilbreath and Alex Colomé combined for two scoreless frames across the seventh and the eighth to set up closer Daniel Bard for the ninth. He got two outs before giving up a home run to Trea Turner, but he was able to settle down to secure the win. 14 pitches left his hand, so he will be available for another save situation today before the off-day tomorrow.

 

CWS 11 – LAA 4

  • The White Sox tacked on 11 runs in the final five frames, making their arm barn obsolete. Joe Kelly allowed a run in his inning of work, but he was the only South Side reliever to do so. Matt Foster and José Ruiz worked a perfect eighth and ninth to make the end of the game stress-free for the faithful fans watching from home.
  • If an inspector had shown up to evaluate the Angel’s relief corps on Tuesday, the ownership would’ve asked to have it rescheduled, because they did not present themselves as a capable group. Three of the four relievers that pitched gave up multiple runs, and the only one that didn’t, secured just one out. Oliver Ortega took his third loss and gave up two runs in the fifth. Aaron Loup got just one out, but allowed three baserunners, forcing Elvis Peguero to finish off the sixth, where he allowed four runs to cross home. Finally, instead of taxing the rest of the pen, Jaime Barria finished off the final three frames to stop the bleeding.

 

SD 6 – ARZ 7

  • All four of the San Diego pitchers allowed a run on Tuesday. The starter permitted three and the bullpen combined to give up four. The lead was large enough to withstand Tim Hill’s lone run and Luis García’s (13th hold) pair of runs, but the lead didn’t stand up when Taylor Rogers pitched. With Rogers taking home his fourth loss and fourth blown save after giving up a walk-off hit in his second inning of work, he helped the Diamondbacks match their largest comeback in franchise history. Rogers threw 29 pitches and will most likely receive a day to rest his arm, but considering the number of injuries in this pen and the fact that the next man up also threw on Tuesday, there is a large possibility that they send him out there for vengeance today.
  • A six-run fifth inning against their starter probably made the Diamondbacks feel as if they had no chance at winning this game, but they chipped away across the final three frames to put them in the win column. An unheralded bullpen member that is to thank for the record-tying win is Caleb Smith. He tossed three scoreless frames with four strikeouts, and without his spotless outing, the Dbacks likely don’t leave the stadium victorious. Mark Melancon was the beneficiary of the walk-off, earning his third win for his hitless inning in the top of the ninth. He needed 25 pitches and has thrown in three of the past four days, so he might make way for Ian Kennedy if a close lead arises late in today’s affair.

 

DET 3 – SF 4

  • The Detroit bullpen kept the game close enough for the offense to pose a threat in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough as the team went back to the hotel winless. The starter’s fifth was finished by Wily Peralta who also pitched the sixth. He was followed by two scoreless frames from Andrew Chafin and Joe Jiménez. Tigers closer Gregory Soto hasn’t pitched since Saturday, so he may receive a maintenance day today knowing that he’ll have time to recover tomorrow.
  • In a rematch of the 2012 World Series, the Giants duplicated the result of their second championship of the century with a win on Tuesday. As was the case in the early 2010s, the Giants called on fans to put their barf bags to use by making it a stressful finish to the ballgame. John Brebbia and Dominic Leone earned their eighth and 10th holds respectively, but each of them surrendered a run, and Leone needed to be bailed out by the closer. Camilo Doval came aboard, announcing himself as the captain of the ship, escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam with the lead sitting at one. He then came back out for the ninth to clutch his 12th save of the season. The 24-year-old, flame-throwing right-hander has been quietly elite this year, registering a 2.97 ERA (33.1 IP), a 1.14 WHIP, and a 29% strikeout rate. He has thrown 30 pitches, having appeared in two of the past three days, but he should be good to go today with a day off tomorrow.

 

BAL 0 – SEA 2

  • The margin for error was as slight as could be because the offense couldn’t muster a run. Therefore, when Cionel Pérez permitted a run in the eighth, it was all over for the Birds. It was his first loss of the year, but it won’t blemish his season too much as he owns a 1.52 ERA (23.2 IP). Félix Bautista attempted to finish off his inning cleanly, but he also gave up a run. He registered the fasted pitch on Tuesday, topping out at 101.6 mph with his four-seam fastball. He owns a similarly impressive sub-two ERA (1.80, 30 IP), and is the clear next man up if closer Jorge López is moved at the deadline.
  • After the starters participated in a pitcher’s duel, the top two arms in the Seattle pen were able to hold the slight lead. Earning his fifth win with a perfect eighth, Diego Castillo continued his rebound from a rough start to the season. Across his past 14 innings spanning a little over a month, Castillo owns a 0.64 ERA, a 0.21 WHIP, and a 42.2% K%. Pretty untouchable. The save went to Paul Sewald, his seventh of the season, as he didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out two batters. That’s three saves for him in the past six days, making it clear that he is the preferred option in the ninth once again after it seemed, for a short time, that Castillo was going to be the primary saves option. Sewald faced the 3-4-5 hitters here, so it could still be the case that he’s the high-leverage reliever, leaving Castillo with plenty of save chances if the M’s can build on their 35-41 record.

 

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 6/23: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds

Closing Time 6/28: Ranking the Top 40 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 6/24

 

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.

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