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Reliever Ranks – 7/21

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

 

  • Every team in baseball has had at least the last three days off, so every bullpen will be fully rested heading into the first post-All-Star break weekend.
  • There were 12 total relievers selected for the All-Star Game, but only three-quarters of them actually made it into action.

 

  • Just eight teams will be in action today, but half of them will be playing a pair of games. The Yankees and Astros will partake in two games in Houston while the Tigers and A’s will square off in a duo of matchups in Oakland.
  • Speaking of those doubleheaders, all eight potential starters in those games have yet to be determined, but it is unlikely that these teams open up the second half with bullpen games. If they do, look for Albert Abreu (NYY), Bryan Abreu (HOU), Tyler Alexander (DET), and Austin Pruitt (OAK) to fill multi-inning roles for their respective teams.

 

  • Since the All-Star break began there has only been one move to shake up the charts:
    Dylan Coleman was removed from the restricted list as the Royals returned from Toronto.
  • With no games having been played yesterday, this edition of the Reliever Ranks will feature a recap of the All-Star Game and a preview of Thursday’s games.
All-Star Performances

All-Star Game: AL 3 – NL 2

  • The American League walked away victorious for the ninth year in a row thanks to some fantastic work from the Junior Circuit’s best pitchers. Of course, Shane McClanahan was the starter, but he got knocked around and put the team in a 2-0 deficit early on. As everyone who watched this game recalls, he was followed by Alek Manoah who endeared himself to every fan in baseball by displaying his personality while mic’d up on the mound. Not only was he super likable, but he was also incredibly effective, striking out the side on 18 pitches with five whiffs between his two fastballs. For the third, Framber Valdez was called upon, and he kept a trio of menacing mashers off the bases, as he got each of Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Freddie Freeman to ground out. He earned the vaunted All-Star Game win when the offense crushed a couple of dingers in the top half of the fourth. Once the lead was acquired, Paul Blackburn kept the run of scoreless frames going, forcing Trea Turner to pop out and recovering from an error to force an Albert Pujols flyout and a Joc Pederson strikeout. He earned a hold for his efforts. Donning black and gold, Martín Pérez capped off his magical first-half run, coaxing three groundouts in the fifth to earn a hold. The sixth wasn’t as quiet for two reasons. One: Nestor Cortes allowed two baserunners but worked out of the jam to acquire a hold. Two: he was mic’d up along with his catcher Jose Trevino, showing off the dynamics between the man on the mound and the guy behind the plate. Now we get to the good stuff – actual reliever usage! Jorge López was the first reliever out of the bullpen for the AL, and he coaxed a couple of ground balls before Gregory Soto was brought on to close out the inning. I guess there’s no three-batter minimum in the All-Star Game. Soto walked the first batter he faced, but he forced Juan Soto to ground out, tossed the fastest pitches by the away team (100.4 mph sinker), and both he and López earned holds. The eighth was also a two-man job, as Clay Holmes started it off by allowing a single and grabbing two outs in the field before Liam Hendriks climbed atop the mound in LA. The outspoken right-hander was mic’d up, but not for long, as he needed just three pitches to get Travis d’Arnaud to fly out, earning him a hold alongside Holmes. In the bottom of the ninth, with the game on the precipice of a tie-breaking home run derby, none other than Emmanuel Clase was asked to close out the All-Star Game. A marvelous performance ensued, as Clase threw only cutters, earning a whopping five called strikes because batters were baffled by his command of such a fast pitch. He struck out the side in order to earn the save and lock down the win for the American League.
  • On the other side, the National League turned to hometown hero Clayton Kershaw to start the game. He allowed a leadoff single to Shohei Ohtani but erased it by picking him off at first. A scoreless inning was posted because he also struck out Aaron Judge, walked Rafael Devers, and got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to hit one on the ground to Trea Turner. In total, he racked up four whiffs as he finished off his first All-Star Game start. The second inning was an impressive showing by baseball’s premier workhorse. Sandy Alcantara struck out the first two batters he faced and forced a Tim Anderson strikeout. Joe Musgrove followed, showing off his full arsenal while inducing two punchouts and a lineout, working around a two-out walk to Ohtani. It got interesting in the fourth, as local starter Tony Gonsolin struggled under the bright lights amongst the game’s brightest stars. He allowed a leadoff single, forced a fly-out, and then gave up the All-Star Game MVP-winning home run to Giancarlo Stanton. That tied the game up, but a home run by Byron Buxton just a few pitches later put the American League in front. Gonsolin escaped without any further damage, but he was still tagged with the unfortunate All-Star Game loss. Luis Castillo worked the fifth, striking out Kyle Tucker and Luis Arraez along the way. Arraez owns the lowest strikeout rate in the Majors, so it was an impressive feat by the right-hander. In the sixth, the first reliever of the day made his All-Star game debut. Joe Mantiply pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Xander Bogaerts to end the frame. Next up was the Airbender himself, Devin Williams. Splitting the usage between his changeup and his fastball equally, Williams put one man on via a single, but he worked around it, ultimately ending the inning on a strikeout of J.D. Martinez and a Kyle Tucker flyout. The most talked-about NL reliever of the night was Ryan Helsley. He dazzled everyone by showing off his blazing fastball, tossing the five fastest tracked pitches of the night, and topping out at 103 mph twice with his heater. The ninth inning of the loss was finished off by David Bednar. The lone representative of the Pirates got all of his outs via groundouts and allowed just one baserunner. Unfortunately, the Senior Circuit went home as losers because the offense didn’t back up the star pitchers that were on display.

 

Thursday’s Preview

TEX @ MIA

  • If the Rangers can pull out a close win in Miami, it will be important to keep an eye on the order of operations. With Joe Barlow hitting the IL with a blister and Brett Martin taking over for three saves prior to the break, it will be interesting to see who is turned to in a potential save situation tonight. Maybe Matt Moore gets a couple of shots before the trade deadline to boost his value, but it seems as though manager Chris Woodward is putting his trust in Martin for now.
  • Will Tanner Scott be able to hold onto this role through the second half? The Marlins struggled to find stability at the back end of their bullpen early on, shuffling through a number of arms before landing on Scott. The left-hander has been somewhat effective but is prone to blowups because he is a flyball pitcher without the best control. There’s a possibility he’s on the move, but I think it’s more likely his setup men are traded and Scott becomes the clear best arm available in Miami.

 

NYY @ HOU

  • Once Aroldis Chapman hit the IL, Clay Holmes has taken the closer role and run with it. There may be no looking back, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see manager Aaron Boone attempt to fit Chapman back into the role he filled for so long, allowing Holmes to be used in a high-leverage capacity. It wouldn’t be great for fantasy managers, and I don’t think many Yankees fans would be happy, but it is definitely a possibility. The first-time All-Star deserves the bulk of saves going forward.
  • The Astros have a locked-in closer and don’t expect that to change. Ryan Pressly gave fantasy managers who took him early on a scare when he was featuring depressed velocity and poor results before landing on the IL for a month. Since his return, he has been lights out, and he’s even turned it up a notch recently, pitching a combined perfect game with 17 strikeouts across his last eight appearances. Nobody’s taking saves away from him when he’s pitching like this.

 

DET @ OAK

  • While the Tigers feature the worst offense in baseball, their bullpen isn’t that bad. Two-time All-Star Gregory Soto likely isn’t going to be traded ahead of the deadline considering he has three more years of control before he hits free agency. His results have been even better than last year thanks to a decreased walk rate and he will have less competition after the team trades off his setup men across the next couple of weeks.
  • When Dany Jiménez hit the IL in the middle of June, I don’t think many echoed my sentiments that Lou Trivino had a shot at regaining the closer role he lost at the beginning of the season. He has done just that, and despite what his terrible ratios might suggest, he’s actually improved the majority of his skills, suggesting a better second half is on the horizon. There’s a possibility he gets traded because the A’s are beginning a rebuild and will be trading off many other pieces, but his value isn’t at its peak right now and they still maintain his services for the next two years. A.J. Puk may get some shots in the ninth, as he is the closer of the future, but I expect manager Mark Kotsay to let Trivino reclaim his positioning as the team’s go-to reliever, even when Jiménez returns.

 

SFG @ LAD

  • There might have been speculation that Camilo Doval’s grasp of the ninth was slipping, but those thoughts were overblown. With Jake McGee out of the picture after being DFA’d and released, there isn’t much competition in this arm barn, so Doval’s job is safe. His control waivers often and he’s still only 25, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has lots of talent in his right arm and will be given a very long leash by manager Gabe Kapler.
  • The same can be said for Craig Kimbrel who has had his fair share of blowups across the past couple of months. He is one of the best closers of the last decade, so it’s hard to believe the Dodgers will turn to anyone else. Evan Phillips may get more chances than he otherwise would in a bullpen with a more secure closer, especially because the Dodgers win so much, but I expect manager Dave Roberts to do everything in his power to help Kimbrel get right and regain his confidence so he can use him at will once the playoffs arrive.

 

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: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Closing Time: Ranking the Top 30 Closers

Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues

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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