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
- NYY, LAA, PHI, and PIT have an off day on Monday while the other 26 MLB teams will play in July 4th action.
- James Karinchak has returned to the Guardians bullpen. Given his lack of success in AAA, it’s suggested to watch from afar for now.
- Duane Underwood Jr. and Yerry De Los Santos swapped spots on the COVID-IL. Underwood has some interesting upside, but his inconsistency has limited him to mop up duty throughout his career.
- Coming soon: Liam Hendriks (CWS) will likely be activated from the 15-day IL on Monday. The chart will be updated the day after the move becomes official.
KC 7 – DET 4
- Scott Barlow earned his 12th save as he continues to work without his typical closing partner Josh Staumont. He’s been a pretty consistent option so far this year, only allowing multiple runs in one of his 32 appearances and is a solid low-end RP1 option as long as Staumont remains on the shelf. Barlow may be a trade target, however with two more years of team control, the Royals asking price might just be a bit too high right now to get a deal done.
- Michael Fulmer ended his streak of 13 IPs without an earned run on Sunday, but still only raised his season ERA to 2.15. Given his performance and his upcoming unrestricted free agency, Fulmer is a solid bet to be on the move this trade deadline where he’d likely slot in to a 7th inning or middle-relief role wherever he goes.
MIA 7 – WSH 4
- The Marlins and Nationals traded blown saves in the 9th and it was Tanner Scott who let the Fish down on Sunday. Scott hadn’t allowed a run in his past six appearances, converting four saves in that time. Both the offense and Dylan Floro stepped up in the 10th and Floro earned his first save of the season, which put Scott in line for the win, his fourth. Quite a weekend series for Scott as he converted two saves and now picked up a win. Scott has now worked three straight games, so expect him to be unavailable for Monday’s action and on emergency use only for Tuesday.
- Tanner Rainey tried to convert his twelfth save of the season, but surrendered a 2-out, 2-run homer to Jesús Sánchez and was instead saddled with his fourth blown save. Rainey hasn’t been great this year in terms of ratios or save percentage, but he’s the best the Nationals have, so his job is safe for now. With him only being in Arb1 and, therefore, having at least two more years of team control and given his general mediocre performance, he’s unlikely to be one of the several Nationals players traded over the next few weeks.
MIL 2 – PIT 0
- Josh Hader earned save number 25 on Sunday despite having to work around a few baserunners. The game went just how the Brewers drew it up with Brad Boxberger and Devin Williams working scoreless 7th and 8th innings respectively to earn a pair of holds. This is the most effective 7-8-9 combo in the league spearheaded by the most dominant closer in the league. Hader is now on pace for a 50-save season and his chances of logging his first 40-save season seem to be quite strong.
- Not much interesting going on for the Pirates. Duane Underwood Jr. is back on the team from the COVID-IL and Tyler Beede has quietly allowed just 3 ER in his last 17 IPs (1.59 ERA since June 1st). It could be interesting if they try and stretch him out and get him a few starts later this year.
TB 7 – TOR 3
- Jason Adam picked up his third save on Sunday as the Rays were a bit shorthanded due to Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson being ineligible to enter Canada. Since June 1st, five Rays pitchers have earned a save and Adam now joins Colin Poche as the only two with multiple saves in that time frame.
- Matt Gage has started his Blue Jays career with a 1.38 ERA across his first 13 IPs of work. Still no holds and he blew his first hold opportunity back on June 21st, but that type of continued performance could earn him more hold chances in the near future. I’m not sure he has it in him to become a dominant setup type, though.
TEX 1 – NYM 4
- Another up and down week for José LeClerc, who had another multi-run outing on Tuesday, but followed it up with two scoreless innings on Sunday. LeClerc’s slider continues to be the X-factor here, as a hanging one was punished on Tuesday for the two-run bomb, but it delivered a 50% CSW on Sunday. Comparing the strike zone plots of both days tells the tale; too many hanging sliders on Tuesday and a nice cluster on the lower glove side corner on Sunday.
- Joely Rodríguez and Adam Ottavino picked up a hold each as they passed it off to Edwin Díaz for his 18th save of the season. Diaz is coming off a dominant June where he struck out 21 of the 37 batters he faced (57% K-rate) and, on the year, is the only pitcher in the league with a better K-BB% than Josh Hader.
ATL 3 – CIN 4
- A rough night for Atlanta’s two best setup arms as Collin McHugh blew up in the 8th for three earned runs and A.J. Minter allowed the walk-off run to score in the 9th without retiring a single batter. The speculation about whether Minter or Will Smith will get the majority of save chances continues with Kenley Jansen out, however the tide seems to be favoring Will Smith as the 1a option right now.
- Hunter Strickland got his weekly save opportunity, but was unable to cash in allowing a pair of homers in the 9th and blowing the lead. His offense picked him up in the bottom of the frame, however, and hand-delivered him his first win of the year. Strickland’s numbers on the year are still gaudy due to a rough April, but he had actually been a pretty reliable reliever across May and June delivering a 2.95 ERA on a 2.58 FIP across 18.1 IPs in that frame. Still, its the Reds and Strickland is far from a dominant presence. Chasing saves here is the ultimate in desperation.
NYY 0 – CLE 2
- JP Sears got nearly all of the bullpen action for the Yankees on Sunday. Fresh from the minors and back up in a long relief role this time, Sears recorded eight outs while allowing three hits, an earned run, and one punchout. This feels like the first few starts from Luis Gil last year. Sears honestly has no business being this good, but the Yankees just do a good job getting the best out of their young pitchers in this swing role.
- Eli Morgan bounced back from a rare rough stretch for his seventh hold and Emmanuel Clase worked around two walks to earn his 19th save of the season. Clase had a bit of a rough April, but has been the most dominant closer in the AL since May 1st. He’s allowed just one earned run in 27 IPs in that time frame (0.30 ERA) striking out 30 while walking four. Also, guess what? James Karinchak is back with the big league club! Wait, what’s that? He had eleven walks in eleven innings in AAA? Oh…… oh. Yeah, you’re going to want to watch from afar for now.
LAA 2 – HOU 4
- Ryan Tepera was temporarily the Angels’ top bullpen arm as Raisel Iglesias served his one-game suspension on Sunday. Tepera came on in the bottom of the 9th in a tie game, but gave up a walk-off bomb to Jeremy Peña to end the game. Tepera has a mountain of holds and figures to keep getting a decent amount of holds options, but his strikeout numbers are down this year and his ratios have been mediocre, leaving him as a low-end holds option.
- Héctor Neris, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly dominated the final three innings of this game needing just 40 pitches to strike out seven of the nine batters they faced. Pressly was rewarded for the team effort with his second win of the season. The Astros closer started out the year with decreased velocity and decreased effectiveness and missed some time due to injury, but he may be finally starting to round into form. Over his last four appearances, he’s retired all twelve batters he’s faced, eight of them on strikes. He’s also been sitting 95/96 with his fastball after clocking in at 93/94 earlier in the year. All signs point to a solid second half if Pressly stays healthy.
BAL 3 – MIN 1
- With Jorge López unavailable due to having worked the previous two games, Dillon Tate stepped up and earned his second save of the season. Even with López blowing the previous two games and Tate closing this one, I don’t think there’s any controversy brewing here. López has been good enough to earn a bit of rope. It’s July 4th and the Orioles bullpen has the 6th best ERA in baseball.
- I continue to be a big fan of the potential of Jovani Moran and his performance this year, as continues to flash the ability to be a dominant reliever. His changeup is already a plus pitch, but he went 83% fastballs in this one and still had success which is a big step for him. The nine walks in 14.2 IPs are definitely something he has to work on and Jhoan Duran is clearly the superior relief prospect for now, but the strikeouts and results are promising.
BOS 4 – CHC 2
- Boston’s bullpen combined for seven strong innings of one-run ball to keep the team in it and eventually earn them the win. Tanner Houck worked the top of the 9th, an indication that his role hasn’t changed again due to his brief ineligibility, and Jake Diekman delivered scoreless innings in the 10th and 11th to pick up his third win of the year. With the news that Garrett Whitlock will return to the bullpen when he’s healthy, there’s some new speculation about how long Houck will remain the unquestioned closer in Boston, but looking at Alex Cora’s comments tells me that Whitlock’s role will likely be similar to what he saw last year. Houck should still continue to get the majority of chances, although there may be some games where Whitlock is looking good and left in for a six to nine-out save.
- An equally strong bullpen performance for the Cubs, but two unearned runs did them in and delivered the loss to Rowan Wick. Had David Robertson been available, we may not have seen Wick for that second inning. Wick is likely unavailable for the next game after throwing 40 pitches, but Robertson should be available if needed. Robertson is very likely to be playing for a different team by the end of the month, but he is one of the few relievers who have a small chance to keep their closing duties when traded.
ARI 5 – COL 6
- Ian Kennedy left the game after just three pitches, leaving Noé Ramirez to have to unexpectedly enter the game. Ramirez promptly allowed three runs and took the loss. Kennedy later reported that he believed the injury to just be cramps, so, for now, it’s not looking like a long absence or an IL stint is expected for him. An injury would move Joe Mantiply, who picked up his seventh hold in this game, one step closer to the closer job.
- Daniel Bard worked around a hit and a pair of walks to earn his 16th save of the season. He’s allowed just one earned run in his last 17.1 IPs despite carrying a 19:10 K:BB ratio during that time. Pitching in Coors, those walks will more than likely catch up with him, but he’s been a bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming Rockies bullpen. With him entering unrestricted free agency, however, there’s a chance he gets traded and loses his closer role. It’s the Rockies, though. Who knows.
CWS 13 – SF 4
- Mop up innings only for this White Sox pen that is expected to get Liam Hendriks back on Monday. Kendall Graveman did an admirable job filling in, but Hendriks will step right back in to the 9th inning.
- It was a bullpen game for the Giants and it went very poorly. They saved their top arms who should all be ready if needed on Monday.
SD 4 – LAD 2
- Taylor Rogers picked up a slightly messy save as he allowed a pair of hits and a run before closing things down for number 23 on the year. Rogers has had a bit of a rough time in terms of ratios since late May, putting up a 7.30 ERA and 1.22 WHIP since May 28th. He’s 6-for-9 in save opportunities over that stretch. He isn’t a 7.00 ERA pitcher the rest of the way and he pitches in a ballpark and on a team that will give him lots of opportunities. Don’t worry about this too much.
- Craig Kimbrel blew his third game of the year and took his third loss by giving up three earned runs and recording just one out to raise his season ERA to 4.78. After a rough May, he looked to be settling into his new home in June before this outing cast things into doubt again. The Dodgers are at no loss for great relievers, so more of these types of performances could lead to more of a committee approach in the late innings.
OAK 1 – SEA 2
- Oakland was forced into an unexpected bullpen game after starter Frankie Montas left the game after one inning with shoulder stiffness. The bullpen was able to cobble together seven strong innings on the backs of Austin Pruitt and Sam Selman. This usage is very much atypical, so I wouldn’t try to extrapolate this game out to draw any insights on pitchers or bullpen usage.
- Andrés Muñoz continued his dominant stretch with three more punchouts and paved the way for Paul Sewald‘s ninth save of the year. After initially looking to be in a committee, Sewald has earned the past five saves for the Mariners and seems to be the clear top option for now. We should keep in mind Seattle’s history of bullpen usage over the last couple of years, but this is a big boost for Sewald for now. Muñoz has now struck out 20 of the past 33 batters he’s faced over his past eight appearances in which he’s allowed just a single unearned run.
STL 0 – PHI 4
- The Cardinals mainly used mop-up relievers here who aren’t very close to being fantasy-relevant. Not much to see here.
- Corey Knebel worked the 9th inning in a non-save situation, but only because both Brad Hand and Seranthony Domínguez had worked each of the previous two nights. This is potentially a stepping stone for Knebel to return to the 9th inning mix, as he’s now gone six outings since allowing a run, but he’s still got a few steps before being a serious primary saves contender again.
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 6/30: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday
Closing Time 6/28: Ranking the Top 40 Closers