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
- There were 16 games on Saturday as the Mets and Phillies partook in a doubleheader. On the final day of the regular season, every team will play and all the games start at 3 PM ET.
- The postseason field has been set, so there will be many situations where teams opt not to use their closers despite a save opportunity as they rest for the playoffs. Conversely, some teams have a bye week and will look to keep their closers fresh by giving them some work despite the lack of a save opportunity. On top of those two situations, many teams are out of it and will save their high-leverage arms the risk of getting injured before the offseason. Keep this in mind, as it’s a coin flip whether any important relievers pitch on Sunday.
- With the game tied in the eighth, Pete Fairbanks tossed a scoreless inning to move things along. Following last year’s second-half success, he took the same path, finishing off his season on a high note. His ERA wasn’t overly impressive at 3.21 (28 IP), but it came with an xFIP that was at 1.89 entering Saturday and an impressive 44.3% strikeout rate. Despite a couple of injuries, this was a successful fantasy season for Fairbanks as the Rays parted with tradition by using him as the closer all year. He should be a highly-coveted arm in fantasy drafts this offseason.
- Jordan Romano also pitched the eighth when the game was tied, but Jordan Hicks was unable to maintain the score in extras. This wasn’t Romano’s best season, but he was still worthy of his top 100 ADP. He tied his career high with 36 saves and still posted an ERA below 3.00 and a strikeout rate above 29%. With the success the Blue Jays are bound to have next season and with Romano’s status as the clear-cut closer with multiple years of success, he will once again be drafted in the top 100.
PHI 4 – NYM 11 (Game 2)
- With a big deficit, the Phillies took the opportunity to give their two most important relievers some work before the Wild Card series this week. José Alvarado pitched a scoreless seventh while Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth. Kimbrel pitched to a 3.43 ERA (32 IP) in the second half, but he struggled with his command at times, leading to an xFIP that was at 4.43 entering play on Saturday. The Phillies removed him from the closer role in the season’s final week as they worked to help him get his confidence back. It didn’t seem like it was working until Thursday. In his past two outings, he’s struck out five of the six batters he’s faced. If Kimbrel is locked in this postseason, the Phillies tout the best arm barn in the playoff field.
- Phil Bickford struck out the side in order in the fifth with his team up by six. He was traded to the Mets from the Dodgers at the deadline but didn’t really live up to the potential that the Mets thought they were acquiring. In 25.1 innings, he posted a 4.62 ERA alongside worse ERA estimators. The right-hander still has potential, but leaving a team that’s exceptional at pitching development and losing a mile-per-hour on his heater in the process doesn’t bode well for his future prospects.
NYY 5 – KCR 2
SV: Clay Holmes (24)
- We witnessed the return of Frankie Montas just in time for him to hit free agency this winter. He’ll likely go for a one-year deal to rebuild his value, but a pillow contract is also a possibility. The right-hander sat 94 with his sinker which is a bit concerning when you factor in that he was averaging 96 prior to undergoing shoulder surgery. That should make teams wary of signing him this offseason and he’ll need to build back that velocity if he wants to recover the form he had with the A’s in 2021 and 2022.
- The Royals utilized two bulk relievers as they crawled to the finish line of a disappointing campaign. Alec Marsh was first, eating 4.1 innings starting in the second frame. He allowed three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out six. He induced eight whiffs with 25% CSW and was likely pushed one inning too long as he allowed a run in the sixth and took his ninth loss. Angel Zerpa covered the final 10 outs of the game, going unscored upon while punching out five. He did much better with seven whiffs and a 36% CSW as his heater did the most work inducing five swings and misses and going for 43% CSW.
CHC 10 – MIL 6
H: Javier Assad (3)
SV: Jameson Taillon (1)
- No, that is not a typo. Not only did Jameson Taillon make the first relief appearance of his career, but he was able to cover the final four frames of the ballgame to earn his first career save. He permitted just four baserunners and did not allow a run while fanning three batters. He signed a four-year, $68 million deal last offseason to be a starter, so I don’t think this is the start of a trend that will bleed into next year, but it was interesting nonetheless.
- The Brewers turned to Devin Williams in the ninth down by four as they keep him warm for the Wild Card series. It wrapped up another incredible season from the right-hander. He pitched to a 1.53 ERA (58.2 IP) and struck out at least 37% of the batters he faced for the fourth consecutive season. He has a decent shot at winning his second NL Reliever of the Year Award with his main competition being former teammate Josh Hader.
TEX 6 – SEA 1
- Despite a five-run lead, the Rangers allowed José Leclerc to clinch their postseason berth by securing the final four outs of the game. As Will Smith and Aroldis Chapman struggled in the second half, Leclerc took his game to another level. After the All-Star break, he pitched to a 2.35 ERA (30.2 IP) while striking out 31% of the batters he faced. It’s my belief that he’ll be the closer in the postseason.
- Clinging on to their last breaths of the season, the Mariners turned to Andrés Muñoz in the eighth inning down by five. Instead of keeping the score where it was, he allowed a run, but it didn’t make much of a difference as the offense was unable to mount a season-saving comeback. Muñoz should have free rein over the ninth next year and will likely go inside the top 100. I’m still undecided about whether that’ll be a price I’m willing to pay.
Best of the Rest
- Alex Lange finished off the 8th in a game in which the Tigers were up by three, earning him his sixth hold. Tyler Holton got three outs on his way to his 14th hold. The offense added five runs in the eighth, taking away the chance for a save in the ninth.
- In the matinee matchup of Saturday’s doubleheader, Adam Ottavino surrendered two runs but hung on to record his 12th save. Brooks Raley set up with his 25th hold, the most by a left-handed reliever this season.
- Tanner Scott recorded the final four outs of the team’s Wild Card-clinching run in order to record his 12th save. He struck out three of the four batters he faced and has now pitched on consecutive days. With A.J. Puk pitching two innings, David Robertson pitching the sixth for his 10th hold, Matt Moore pitching the seventh for his 22nd hold, and Andrew Nardi allowing a run in the eighth, the Marlins are likely to rest their high-leverage arms now that they’ve secured their spot in October. My best bet for a save vulture is on Huascar Brazoban, but Moore is also an option considering he won’t be eligible for the postseason roster.
- Bryan Shaw pitched for an unprecedented fourth consecutive day. He’s been a workhorse all year for the White Sox, but it’s inconceivable that he’d pitch again on Sunday. Garrett Crochet and Aaron Bummer have to be the top options if a save situation arises.
- Alexis Díaz came on to attempt to close out the eighth with a big deficit in a losing effort but failed to record an out. He finished the second half with a 4.61 ERA (27.1 IP) and a 20.3% strikeout rate.
- Raisel Iglesias secured his 33rd save of the season with a scoreless ninth in the Braves’ 104th win of the season. Pierce Johnson (12th hold), Kirby Yates (9th hold), and A.J. Minter (21st hold) set up for Iglesias with three scoreless innings of work.
- Bryan Abreu helped the Astros secure their seventh consecutive postseason birth by locking down his fifth save of the season. Phil Maton (10th hold), Kendall Graveman (13th hold), and Hector Neris (31st hold) pitched before him. Neris tied for the Major League lead in holds with Yennier Cano. It’ll be interesting to see if either team lets their relief ace pitch to claim the holds crown.
- Jhoan Duran pitched the sixth in a game in which the Twins were leading by 11. He’ll wrap up his second season with a 2.45 ERA (62.1 IP) and a 32.9% strikeout rate.
- Camilo Doval worked around a hit to record his National League-leading 39th save. Another NL stat leader pitched on Saturday as well, as Tyler Rogers recorded his 30th hold, securing his sole leadership of that category in the Senior Circuit.
- Trevor May pitched the ninth up by four after his offense took away his save chance with an insurance run in the top half. Dany Jiménez had the benefit of a three-run lead and set up for May with his seventh hold.
Bullpen Depth Charts