Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 4/17/23 Depth Chart

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!



Transaction and Schedule Notes

  • 28 teams took the field on Sunday with the Giants- Tigers game being postponed. It’s also a pretty busy Monday with only four teams (BAL, NYY, MIN, and WSN) with scheduled off days.


Yesterday’s Performances


MIN 0 – NYY 2

  • The Twins got scoreless innings from Griffin Jax and Emilio Pagán as they fell to the Yankees. Jax rose to be an important high-leverage reliever for the Twins last season and he seems to be continuing that work this season. Pagan is throwing his cutter more and it’s been about a tick faster on average than last year. There seems to be a bit more movement on it than last year, but it was a pretty bad pitch in 2022 with a .698 slugging against on 38 BBEs. Even if it’s improved, I don’t necessarily buy it as a big enough breakout for him to jump Jax or Jorge López in the race for holds.
  • Gerrit Cole gave us a CGSO and even us folks covering relievers have to just sit back and admire it.


BAL 8 – CHW 4

  • Mike Baumann picked up the win in relief delivering two scoreless innings. Austin Voth added a hold and Félix Bautista received only high fives and handshakes after the Orioles extended their lead to four in the top half of the 9th. A lot of the Orioles’ typical setup men had been used quite a bit already in this series, so I don’t expect Voth will see regular holds opportunities like this. Baumann has started to see some mid-leverage spots, but he’s not a guy I’d chase. He’s likely to move back to low-leverage, longer relief roles once Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate return to the bullpen over the next few weeks. It’s also of note that Bautista has now worked three of the last four days, but with a scheduled off day on Monday, he’s not necessarily unavailable for the team’s next game on Tuesday.
  • The White Sox came into the game with the worst bullpen ERA in baseball and they only made it worse here. Aaron Bummer allowed three runs without recording an out and Jake Diekman also allowed an insurance run in the 9th. There’s quite a bit of talent in this bullpen, so it’s a surprise to see them get off to such a tough collective start, but guys like Bummer and Kendall Graveman have a pretty long track record of success in the majors and should still be decent sources of holds over the full season.


PIT 4 – STL 5 (F/10)

  • The 8/9 duo of Colin Holderman and David Bednar continued to be an effective one as they delivered scoreless innings in the 8th and 9th respectively to send the game into extras. Wil Crowe took over in the 10th but was unable to hold the one-run lead and took the loss. Holderman had allowed just seven baserunners in 7 IPs coming into this outing but had to work himself out of a bases-loaded situation here. He hadn’t previously been much of a strikeout guy, but he showed here that his sweeper has the potential to be a big whiff pitch, generating five whiffs on ten offerings here. Also of note, Bednar sat just 94 mph on his eight fastballs, a full two ticks lower than usual.
  • Giovanny Gallegos worked a scoreless top of the 9th, but it was Drew VerHagen who picked up the win by only allowing the ghost runner to score in the top of the 10th. Ryan Helsley had just thrown 27 pitches the night before and was likely unavailable, leaving Gallegos to take the spot typically occupied by the team’s closer. The Cardinals are allowing Helsley to work some back-to-backs, but note that he was passed over on Friday which indicates that he will typically get two days off after a back-to-back and will only be available for a third day in the row very late in the season in extremely important games.


TBR 8 – TOR 1

  • Working with a big lead, the Rays turned to Colin Poche, Garret Cleavinger, and Jason Adam to work the final three innings of the game. All three will also have their share of high-leverage use in the weeks to come.
  • Toronto used four different relievers to mop up the mess once the team was down seven runs. Trevor Richards continues to be at least slightly intriguing to me as a two-inning guy. He’s cut out his curveball that was knocked around last year and now is throwing his changeup nearly 60 percent of the time. It returned a 26.1% swinging strike rate last year and is doing even better than that this year even with the higher usage. He gets Devin Williams-like numbers on the changeup, but Richards’ fastball is still getting smashed, so he’s likely nothing more than a decent two-inning guy.


CLE 6 – WSN 7

  • It was a rare rough day for the Guardians’ pen as Tim Herrin and Nick Sandlin allowed two runs each with the latter taking a loss. Both Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak had worked the previous two games of the series, so some guys had to temporarily step into higher leverage roles and it just didn’t work this time.
  • Mason Thompson was rewarded with a win for his scoreless 8th inning and Kyle Finnegan closed out the 9th for his third save. Thompson has had a really impressive start to the season and seems to be a core member of this bullpen going forward. Finnegan did record his second save in his past two appearances, but it again wasn’t extremely impressive. He generated no swinging strikes on 20 pitches thrown and his season K:BB ratio now sits at 4:4 in 6.1 IPs. I do recognize that it is three straight scoreless appearances for Finnegan now after really getting roughed up in two of his first three outings, but I still don’t buy that this works as a closer for the whole season.


MIL 1 – SDP 0

  • Peter Strzelecki worked a quick and scoreless 8th and set things up for Devin Williams. Williams brought the game to the very brink, loading the bases and nearly giving up a walk-off double, but he closed things out in the end with his third strikeout and second save of the year. Control for Williams is going to be something that pops up every now and again, but his overall numbers should come out to be among the league’s best. These were his first two walks allowed of the year and he’s now walked two and struck out eight in his first five innings of work.
  • The Padres sent out arguably their two most trusted relievers in a one-run game to keep the game close: Steven Wilson and Josh Hader. Going into the season, it seemed like Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez were the main handcuffs in case Josh Hader continued to unravel, but with the latter suffering a setback in injury recovery and the former struggling to begin the year, Wilson seems to be next in line for saves and first in line for holds right now. Hader, however, has given no indication that he will continue his struggles from last year as he’s now struck out 48% of the batters he’s faced over his first seven appearances.


NYM 4 – OAK 3 (F/10)

  • After a day where all of the Mets’ high-leverage relievers worked, they tried to mix things up and throw John Curtiss in the 8th, but he allowed a two-run double and got tagged with a blown save. Jimmy Yacabonis worked a tied bottom of the 9th in his first appearance of the year and earned a win when the Mets scored in the top of the 10th and were held scoreless by David Robertson who earned his fourth save in the bottom of the 10th. That’s two straight days of work for Robertson and, although he threw only 23 pitches across both outings, expect Adam Ottavino to get the call in a save situation on Monday.
  • Dany Jiménez was called upon to close out a one-run lead, but he surrendered a solo bomb to Pete Alonso to blow the lead. He then proceeded to walk three straight batters and had to be bailed out by Sam Moll. Moll ended up getting a tough-luck loss after Zach Jackson had a similar meltdown, walking three straight batters with two out while allowing the ultimately game-winning run to score on a wild pitch. While other teams have had worse ERAs, Oakland’s bullpen carried the worst FIP in the league going into play today and by far the worst K-BB% at just 2.1%. Both Trevor May and Jimenez have, at times, flashed the potential of being a good closer, but there’s simply nothing good worth chasing right now in the A’s pen.


LAA 1 – BOS 2

  • Andrew Wantz was the only Angels reliever to work on Sunday and he extended his scoreless innings streak to 6.2 IPs to start the year. He was previously optioned to AAA and only returned to take the roster spot of Ryan Tepera who was injured on Saturday, so he’s not likely to see much high-leverage work in the immediate future.
  • Securing their third save in as many days, the Red Sox turned to Kaleb Ort for the hold and Ryan Brasier for the save. Kenley Jansen and John Schreiber had both worked Friday and Saturday and were likely unavailable for this one, so this is likely a rare opportunity for Brasier to pick up an ancillary save.


PHI 14 – CIN 3

  • The Phillies took a nine-run lead in the first and never looked back, but they did get some maintenance work for Craig Kimbrel. He had struggled mightily with command in his first few outings of the season, but now has back-to-back appearances with no walks. Now we wait for a high-leverage situation and see if it sticks.
  • The Reds scrambled to get outs here and ended up throwing position player Jason Vosler out there for the 9th. He didn’t do much worse than their professional relievers.


ATL 5 – KCR 4

  • Nick Anderson earned a win for his scoreless 8th inning of relief and A.J. Minter delivered a shutdown 9th for his third save of the season. With a couple of injuries to key relievers in Atlanta, Nick Anderson has slowly crept up to be one of the key set-up guys to Minter in this early season. Even when Raisel Iglesias gets back, I think Anderson is currently in a position to still get a good amount of holds.
  • Aroldis Chapman continued to throw gas and worked around a hit and a walk to deliver a scoreless 8th by striking out the side. Scott Barlows fastball continued to get rocked as one of the four he threw was laced for a double by Ozzie Albies, who eventually came around to score the winning run. Barlow’s average velocity on his four fastballs was just 91.1 mph in this one. He was at 92.2 mph so far this year coming into this game, 93.6 in 2022, and 95.3 in 2023. At the velocity he’s had so far this year, I don’t think he has enough life to keep the hitters swinging at his two good breaking balls.


ARI 5 – MIA 0

  • Kevin Ginkel and Kyle Nelson logged the final seven outs of the game for the Diamondbacks to secure their five-run lead. The two have just one hold between them this year, so they aren’t at the top of Arizona’s leverage ladder for now, but if Andrew Chafin is really the team’s 9th-inning reliever, Nelson would be the next-best lefty out of the pen and could see some holds going forward.
  • The Marlins got three solid innings from George Soriano to save the rest of their bullpen. Their relievers weren’t particularly gassed, but I suppose Miami just wanted to see what Soriano could do in his MLB debut.


TEX 9 – HOU 1

  • Brock Burke picked up the win in relief after the Rangers’ offense exploded across the 7th and 8th innings. Will Smith came on in a tight spot in the 7th and squeezed a hold, his 4th, out of the deal. Smith seems to be used in a variety of roles in this pen but mainly seems destined for the opposing team’s toughest left-handed bat. Sometimes, that comes up in the 9th and he’ll get a save, but I feel like more often than not, that situation will come in the 7th or 8th.
  • The Astros quickly fell out of contention in this one and Ronel Blanco mopped up the last couple innings of garbage time. The Astros will have their full complement of arms available to them on Monday.


CHC 3 – LAD 2

  • Michael Fulmer worked a scoreless 8th and was sent out for the 9th, but was called back without throwing a pitch when David Peralta was announced as a pinch-hitter. Brad Boxberger then came on and recorded one of the more controversial saves of the year so far as he generated all three outs via called strikeouts that were outside of the zone. It was Boxberger’s first save of the season. It’s unclear exactly why Fulmer was used for the 8th here, but sending him out in the 9th seemed to be a ploy to get Peralta confirmed as the pinch hitter, although why that strategy was used wasn’t apparent either. Either way, it’s a good indication that Boxberger still does have a save share with this team even though Brandon Hughes, their closer in the second half last year, was activated on Saturday.
  • Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson, and Evan Phillips each worked around their share of trouble to record ten outs without allowing a run. It’s been a surprisingly rough start for this Dodgers pen who entered play with a 5.10 ERA, 3rd worst in the NL. It’s a very talented group, so I would expect the scoreless innings, holds, and saves to start flowing soon.


COL 0 – SEA 1

  • Brad Hand allowed an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th and that’s all that was required to saddle Dinelson Lamet, who had walked two earlier in the inning, with the loss.  The more intriguing news is that Daniel Bard began a rehab assignment in AAA.
  • Justin Topa took the 8th for his second hold and Paul Sewald worked a dominant 9th, striking out the side for his fourth save. With Andrés Muñoz on the shelf, Sewald is the clear top option in Seattle and he’s always had the skills to excel in the role. It was pretty interesting to see Topa used in the 8th here when Matt Brash hadn’t pitched on Saturday and was likely available.


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

Eric Dadmun

Eric is a Core Fantasy contributor on Pitcher List and a former contributor on Hashtag Basketball. He strives to help fantasy baseball players make data-driven and logic-driven decisions. Mideast Chapter President of the Willians Astudillo Unironic Fan Club.

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