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!
Transaction and Schedule Notes
- All teams will have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off (excluding their All-Stars, of course).
- Nine total relievers will be in uniform on Tuesday for the All-Star Game.
- Post-All-Star Week: Eight total teams are in action on Thursday, July 21, while the Tigers, A’s, Yankees and Astros will be immediately welcomed back with doubleheaders that day.
- DET, CLE, CIN, and STL all had their games rained out on Sunday.
- Pete Fairbanks (TBR) was activated from the 60-day IL. In a corresponding move, Jalen Beeks was placed on the 15-day IL.
- Daniel Norris (CHC) was designated for assignment.
KCR 2 – TOR 4
- Wyatt Mills was the only Royals reliever to see action on Sunday. He retired three batters in a row, but not before allowing the first two batters he faced to come around to score on a go-ahead two-run bomb from Alejandro Kirk. The Royals just got Josh Staumont back before the break and, with Scott Barlow likely to be traded away over the next two weeks, Staumont would project to be the team’s saves leader in the second half.
- Tim Mayza picked up the win in relief, his third, while Jordan Romano earned his 20th save by retiring the side in order including two strikeouts. The Blue Jays are likely to add a reliever or two at the deadline, but anyone they bring in will slot behind Romano in line for saves.
ATL 3 – WAS 7
- Dylan Lee and Tyler Matzek, both working on multiple days’ rest, each took six outs in this one to spare their top bullpen arms and bridge Atlanta to the All-Star Break. Kenley Jansen has had little stretches of shakiness this year, but overall this is an Atlanta bullpen that’s going into the break with the fourth-best ERA in the majors. They might be active at the deadline, but I don’t think they make any major bullpen moves.
- The bullpen was tasked with recording six innings on Sunday, which is usually a recipe for disaster for Washington. This time, however, they were able to close things out with Steve Cishek recording the win and Kyle Finnegan recording the final three outs in a non-save situation. Finnegan is the closer now that Tanner Rainey is out for the year and I can’t imagine he has enough value to be moved at the deadline. When given opportunities, Finnegan has had mild success as a closer, but the biggest obstacle will simply be the team getting him leads to work with.
BOS 2 – NYY 13
- After a rough bullpen performance on Saturday which led to several relievers getting worked hard, Boston found themselves in a near worst-case scenario in terms of bullpen usage when Chris Sale left the game in the first with an apparent broken pinky. An already taxed bullpen had to go seven and a third more innings and their only saving grace was the upcoming All-Star Break which allowed them to really empty everything they had. Pretty much every available arm got work and, in general, it didn’t go well. The Red Sox have generally had trouble in the late innings, but things seem to be coming together with a combination of Garrett Whitlock, John Schreiber, and Tanner Houck in the final three-to-four innings. I still imagine they’re in the market for some bullpen depth, though, and there’s a small chance they go after a big name.
- With their big lead, the Yankees were able to get some innings for Lucas Luetge and Jonathan Loáisiga. Loáisiga still just doesn’t quite have whatever magic he did last year. There’s a small chance he regains it this year, but watch from a distance until he shows signs. Despite his struggles and the high-profile struggles of Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees have the second-best bullpen ERA in baseball and benefit from one of the toughest one-two bullpen punches in the league this year with Michael King and Clay Holmes. I highly doubt they do anything more than add a depth arm or two.
BAL 5 – TBR 7
- After a rough start from Jordan Lyles, Baltimore’s bullpen yet again pulled together a strong performance, allowing just one run over 5.1 IPs to keep the team in the game. They didn’t pull it out this time, but bullpen performances like these are a big part of the Orioles’ turnaround this year. Their bullpen, the fifth best in baseball going into the second half, is one of the biggest surprises of the year so far for me. In June, I would have said there’s no way Jorge López is closing for Baltimore in August, but just three and a half games back of a playoff spot, it would now be hugely disappointing if he wasn’t.
- Pete Fairbanks returned to the Rays bullpen in this one and immediately returned to late-inning work. He picked up a hold in his first appearance of the year and passed it off to Jason Adam who picked up his fourth save. Fairbanks put together some really nice stretches in 2020 and 2021 and, as long as he’s feeling 100%, it likely won’t be long before he gets his first save opportunity. As we know, however, it’s the Rays, so he’ll be sharing them with Colin Poche, Brooks Raley, Jason Adam, and whoever else breaks out in the Rays bullpen in the second half.
PHI 4 – MIA 0
- José Alvarado came on for the two-out save after starter Aaron Nola couldn’t quite go the distance. It was a bit of a weird situation as it was still a four-run game, but there were enough runners on to make it a save situation when Alvarado came in. Was Seranthony Domínguez unavailable after throwing 33 pitches on Friday? Would he have come in if the game was closer?
- Now that they were working without a lead, the Marlins bullpen conveniently put together three dominant innings retiring nine of ten batters faced with five punchouts. It’s been tough to trust anyone at the back of the Miami bullpen this year and I don’t anticipate that changing in the second half.
OAK 4 – HOU 3
- Oakland’s bullpen held firm and delivered 4.2 scoreless IPs to allow the offense to take the lead and win the game. A.J. Puk was credited with his second win, while Lou Trivino earned his eighth save. Trivino has been slightly better in his second stint in the closer role, but nothing close to dominance. Dany Jiménez is inching back to action and should return fairly soon after the All-Star Break. I would imagine that the A’s would be more interested in giving Jimenez some more run in the 9th inning, but a committee approach is also possible.
- So far this year, when Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly appear in a game, the Astros have been nearly impossible to beat. They dropped a close one here with Montero allowing a rare run in the top of the 8th to take the loss. Pressly delivered another dominant performance, striking out the side on twelve pitches. Something seemed to click for Pressly after the June 24th outing in New York where he allowed four runs. He’s since thrown eight perfect innings, 24 up, 24 down, with fourteen strikeouts in seven appearances since. It seems to me to be based on an increased reliance on the slider. Before June 24th, he threw the slider 31% of the time, but in the seven appearances since, that’s shot up to a 47% usage. It also doesn’t hurt that his fastball, after starting the year sitting around 93 mph, is finally back up to the 95 mph average we know and love.
CWS 11 – MIN 0
- Joe Kelly and José Ruiz mopped up this blowout. Unsurprisingly, no holds were handed out. This bullpen definitely underperformed my expectations in the first half. In my eyes, they still have the pieces to be a really strong bullpen in the second half especially if Aaron Bummer finds a way back from his injury.
- Lots of arms got work here for the Twins, but nothing very interesting. The story of the second half will, hopefully, be how Jhoan Duran fares as the clear top dog after Emilio Pagán was officially removed from closer consideration a couple weeks ago. One of my personal favorite reliever prospects, Jovani Moran, is also making a move and climbing up the ladder. Control had been an issue of his, but five walks over his past nine innings is at least workable. He has a sub-1 ERA on 18.2 IPs on the year and I expect the Twins to start giving him more chances a little later in games soon.
NYM 2 – CHC 3
- Drew Smith was given the 8th inning to try to hand a 2-1 lead over to Edwin Díaz, but he was unable to do so. He gave up a pair of runs on three hits and took the loss, his third of the year. Smith is the current holds leader on this team, but he has also allowed eight runs in his past seven appearances. The Mets may look to add some middle relief help at the deadline to try to get more leads into the very capable hands of Edwin Díaz.
- The Cubs were able to take the lead in the 8th and the combination of Rowan Wick and David Robertson proved effective once again. The former notched his second win of the year while the latter earned his 13th save. With Robertson’s contract and the Cubs’ place in the standings, it seems unlikely that he’s still on the team in two weeks. My money is on Rowan Wick being the second half saves leader for the Cubs and Robertson going to a situation where he is not the closer.
SEA 6 – TEX 2
- Paul Sewald worked the 9th inning again for the Mariners, although this time in a non-save situation. Despite not getting either of the past two saves for the Mariners, it’s clear that Sewald has moved into a role more resembling a typical closer after the Mariners spent most of the past year and a half in a large committee. Sewald leads the majors with eight saves since June 23rd and has an 19:1 K:BB ratio over that time. With Sewald seizing the 9th and the dominance of Andrés Muñoz over the past month, I don’t see the Mariners making any major deadline moves to shake things up in the bullpen.
- Things have been pretty unstable in the Texas bullpen since the loss of Joe Barlow and today was no different. It seems that the team really wants José LeClerc to step back into a late-inning role, perhaps even the 9th inning, but he just doesn’t seem to be there yet. Of all the guys in the pen, I think Matt Moore has the best chance of being moved at the deadline. Lefties with playoff experience are hard to come by. Maybe the Mets or Red Sox take a shot.
PIT 8 – COL 3
- David Bednar worked a scoreless 9th in a non-save situation on Sunday. He’d had a couple of rough outings recently, but he now gets to go into the break with a 0 on the books in his last inning. He’ll certainly be talked about and asked after quite a bit at the deadline, but with so much team control remaining, the Pirates likely won’t be eager to move Bednar unless a team makes a big offer. If he is moved, the 9th inning likely becomes very fluid and not worth pursuing from a fantasy perspective.
- Speaking of not worth pursuing from a fantasy perspective, the Rockies bullpen had another rough day. These two teams are competing for the second-worst bullpen ERA in baseball behind the train wreck in Cincinnati and the fantasy value in each respective bullpen is wholly concentrated in the closer; in this case, Daniel Bard. Most organizations would likely be shopping a guy like Bard at the deadline to try and get a prospect or two, but the Rockies have shown themselves to be reluctant to sell in recent years no matter their record.
MIL 5 – SFG 9
- Aaron Ashby was used as an opener in this one with Jason Alexander getting the start. The combination didn’t go well this time, but it might indicate that Ashby might be used as an opener in the second half to limit his workload. The Brewers 7-8-9 relievers are about as set in stone as any team in baseball despite Josh Hader‘s recent struggles, so any deadline moves they make will likely work around that.
- Jakob Junis made his return from the IL in a relief role and struggled through two innings, giving up three runs on five hits. The Giants will need a fifth starter right away on July 25th, but it’s not clear whether Junis will be built back up by then or if he’ll be used in a similar relief capacity. Camilo Doval also worked a scoreless 9th inning in a non-save situation. He started out July a little rough allowing a run in each of his first three appearances of the month, but he’s settled down in his most recent three appearances. I don’t expect the Giants to be big movers at the deadline, so Doval is likely to hold on to his closing duties for the second half.
ARI 3 – SDP 1
- Mark Melancon logged a clean save, his 13th, with Joe Mantiply and Caleb Smith each earning holds. Melancon had a pretty disastrous beginning of the season, but, in terms of ratios at least, he’s not been terrible since June 1st. The problem is he only has three saves in that time due to injury and lack of opportunities. Melancon has very little value given that he’s also guaranteed $6M next year, so he’s likely to remain the closer for Arizona down the stretch for better or worse.
- Adrian Morejon delivered two more scoreless innings as he continues to work his way back from injury. The Padres are still trying to figure out how their middle innings will work and Morejon could grow into a larger role similar to what Nabil Crismatt did in the first half of the season. Still, they’re likely out there looking for some support in the 7th and 8th innings to bridge things to Taylor Rogers. There’s a small chance they bring in a huge name and Rogers gets supplanted, too. He’s not beyond removal from the role and A.J. Preller is not to be underestimated.
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)