Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 4/22/24 Depth Chart

Breakdowns of key bullpen usage from yesterday's slate of games.

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



Yesterday’s Performances

BOS 6 – PIT 1

W: Justin Slaten (1)

H: Greg Weissert (2)

  • The Boston Red Sox struck gold in the Rule 5 draft with Justin Slaten. On the surface, he’s pitched to a 0.63 ERA (14.1 IP) with a 0.56 WHIP and a 22.4% K%. While the strikeouts aren’t there, Slaten has walked just two of the 49 batters he’s faced. They also should start ticking up as he sports a 16.6% SwStr rate, hinting at a K% rate that should be closer to 30%. Without many intriguing options in the Boston bullpen entering 2024, the arrival of Slaten certainly boosts the future outlook of the relief corps.
  • David Bednar received another maintenance outing on Sunday, tossing a perfect ninth with his team trailing by five. It was necessitated after Bednar failed to appear for three days. His last outing was also of the maintenance variety as he hadn’t pitched in five days before the outing. Bednar has struggled to an 11.57 ERA across his first seven innings of work, but his results aren’t the reason for his lack of saves (2). He’s failed to secure three of his five save opportunities, but there are plenty of relievers that have recorded more saves than Bednar’s received opportunities. It looks like the main culprit for his struggles has been his inability to locate his curve down in the zone. The loLoc% of that pitch has fallen more than 15%. He’ll need to recover his control of the breaker if he wants to get back to being the All-Star closer he was in each of the past two seasons.


CHW 2 – PHI 8

  • Michael Kopech pitched a perfect ninth with the White Sox trailing by six. The right-hander had gone four days without pitching and required a maintenance outing to stay game-ready. Kopech will need to stay vigilant in non-save opportunities to make himself fantasy viable as the last-place White Sox won’t be providing him many save opportunities. Since his last save on April 9th, Kopech has tossed four innings while allowing two runs and striking out five batters. I wouldn’t say he’s a must-roster in standard 12-team leagues, but he’s better than a lot of other options who have no path to saves.


TBR 4 – NYY 5

H: Luke Weaver (1)

SV: Victor González (2)

  • With Clay Holmes having pitched on back-to-back days and in three of the past four, the Yankees allowed Victor González to close out their victory after Dennis Santana made things close with a three-run eighth. It was an interesting move to go with González given he faced four righties and Ian Hamilton was available. González has been spectacular thus far with a 1.08 ERA (8.1 IP), though he’s sporting a K% below 10% which makes him an option difficult to consider despite his position as one of the go-to holds options in New York. I’d expect that number to bump up closer to 20%, but the lefty’s career 22.1% K% and 8.5% SwStr on the year suggest he won’t be finding another gear in the K department.


LAA 0 – CIN 3

W: Emilio Pagán (2)

H: Fernando Cruz (5), Lucas Sims (5)

SV: Alexis Díaz (4)

  • Can we trust Alexis Díaz? So far, he’s recorded four saves with a 3.86 ERA (9.1 IP) and has blown just one save. However, his underlying metrics are uninspiring and speak to Díaz being out of his element as the closer for the Reds. Last year’s heavy workload took a toll on him as he spiraled in the second half. Díaz has done nothing to ease the concerns inspired by last year’s turmoil. He’s sitting a tick slower on his heater, is sporting a career-high 15% BB% (career entering 2024: 12.8%), and has watched his SwStr% plummet while his ICR continues to climb. On top of all of that, he has to compete with his home ballpark. He’s been lucky up to this point to avoid the long ball, but plenty of those will be on the horizon if he continues to sport middling ICR rates with worse stuff inside of Great American Smallpark. Those home runs will hurt especially bad if the boatload of batters he walks wind up on base when the ball lands in the stands. Now might be a good time to sell high on Díaz. Target Fernando Cruz as his replacement. Díaz has pitched on consecutive days, so we may get confirmation of Cruz as the #2 option on Monday.


OAK 2 – CLE 6

H: Tim Herrin (3), Nick Sandlin (2)

  • Three insurance runs in the seventh put the Guardians up by four, but they still turned to Emmanuel Clase in the ninth. He’s been lights out this year and looks to be putting 2023’s down year behind him. In 11 innings, the righty owns a 0.82 ERA as he’s returned to locating his cutter on the glove side of the zone. When Clase was at his best in 2021 and ’22, he located his primary pitch glove side around 45% of the time. We saw that rate fall to 35.4% last year when he wasn’t at his best. He’s now back up to 45% and thriving. A pitcher’s cutter needs to land glove side because it leans into the natural glove side movement of the pitch. It elicits whiffs from right-handed hitters and bores in on the hands of lefties, inducing weak contact. Clase with glove-side cutters is at his best. He’s now pitched on back-to-back days, but the Guardians have Monday off, so he’ll be ready to go for the next save opportunity.


MIL 2 – STL 0

W: Bryan Hudson (1)

H: Elvis Peguero (3)

SV: Joel Payamps (3)

  • Joel Payamps has now collected three of the last five Brewers’ saves. It’s still a closer committee in Milwaukee, but Payamps has proven to be the preferred option. Abner Uribe has fallen off after a hot first week, seeing his usage skew earlier in games, while Trevor Megill just recently returned from a lengthy concussion-related absence. I think the battle has shifted from Uribe vs Paymps to Megill vs Payamps. Payamps has the worst stuff of the late-inning trio but has been trusted more often in the ninth. Ultimately, I feel Megill will warm up and settle in after his awkward kick-off to the season, displaying his elite stuff on his way to securing the closer role. For now, both Payamps and Megill should be rostered everywhere.


MIA 6 – CHC 3

H: Bryan Hoeing (1), Andrew Nardi (4), Calvin Faucher (2)

SV: Tanner Scott (4)

  • Tanner Scott has now gone consecutive outings without a walk for the first time all year. I don’t think this means he’s fixed, but it’s a good sign. Less than half of his pitches landed in the zone on Sunday and he’ll need to live closer to 50% if he wants to have success like he did last year. Teams have the book on Scott now and the strategy is for batters to be ultra patient. It’s worked thus far as batters have offered at just 38.1% of his pitches after swinging more than half the time last year. If Scott locates his incredible stuff in the zone, batters will be forced to swing, and he should see his performance improve. With no real competition for the ninth, Scott will have plenty of time to figure things out. He’s now pitched in each of the past two days, but it’s anyone’s guess who in that bullpen will be called upon if a save arises.
  • The Cubs turned to Adbert Alzolay in the eighth with the team trailing by three. It’s the result of his having blown four of his first seven save opportunities. Manager Craig Counsell suggested that Alzolay has been removed from the closer role and that the ninth inning will be “a day-to-day thing”. It sounds like a closer committee to me. One that will likely feature Héctor Neris and Mark Leiter Jr. more often than Alzolay until he gets right. Both Neris and Leiter should be picked up as speculative save options. Neris has more experience in the role and is the only reliever outside of Alzolay to record a save this year. Meanwhile, Leiter has a pristine ERA (10.2 IP) and has sported better skills than his competition. Pick up Leiter or Neris if they’re on your wire as we wait to see who gets the ninth on Tuesday.


SEA 1 – COL 2 (F/10, Game 1)

W: Justin Lawrence (1)

L: Andrés Muñoz (2)

  • In the first half of Sunday’s doubleheader in Colorado, Andrés Muñoz blew a one-run lead in the 10th frame. I think it’s fair to say he hasn’t quite lived up to fantasy managers’ expectations this year. He’s striking out more than 32% of the batters he faces, however, his ERA now sits at 3.68 (7.1 IP) and his WHIP at 1.64. The right-hander also shares the team saves lead with Ryne Stanek at just two. We knew entering the year that manager Scott Servais likes to occasionally deploy Munoz as the high-leverage arm, but I don’t think anyone expected it to affect his fantasy value as dramatically as it has. Things will get murkier when Matt Brash and Gregory Santos return from the IL. At that point, the Mariners will either lock Muñoz into the ninth or continue to use him as the high-leverage arm. Once we see how that works out, we should have a better idea of what to expect from Muñoz.
  • It’s smart to keep a safe distance from the Rockies arm barn. I pegged Justin Lawrence as a saves option in 15-team leagues where fantasy managers feel confident in the ratios from the rest of their staff. So far, all Lawrence has done is drag down ratios as he has yet to record a save. The Rockies are partly to blame as they’ve won just five of their first 22 games and have provided Lawrence with zero save opportunities. Though Lawrence’s 7.04 ERA (7.2 IP) and 1.83 WHIP haven’t warranted any ninth-inning consideration. I think it’s time to move on from Lawrence and the Rockies pen altogether. There aren’t enough enticing options, saves to go around, or road games to keep the opposing bats at bay.


ARI 5 – SFG 3

L: Erik Miller (1)

H: Bryce Jarvis (2), Ryan Thompson (4)

SV: Kevin Ginkel (4)

  • While everyone is well aware of Kevin Ginkel shifting into the closer role in Paul Sewald’s absence, few people have realized the success Ryan Thompson has had filling in for Ginkel as the top setup option. His ERA sits at 1.04 (8.2 IP) following a clean inning on Sunday. He’s a weak contact machine with an 80th percentile ICR on a sinker that he throws 60% of the time. The righty has also incorporated his four-seamer more often, taking 10% of the usage from his slider. Neither pitch has allowed a hit thus far and Thompson has walked just one of the 32 batters he’s faced. He’s not a flashy option, with a career K% of 21.6%, but his ability to induce soft contact while limiting free passes and earning the lion’s share of holds in Arizona makes him a must-roster in SV+HLD leagues.


TOR 3 – SDP 6

H: Wandy Peralta (4)

SV: Robert Suarez (7)

  • Robert Suarez continues to keep the ninth locked down and is now tied for the National League lead in saves alongside Kyle Finnegan and Ryan Helsley. Meanwhile, Wandy Peralta continues to confound batters and analysts alike. The southpaw has posted a 0.82 ERA (11 IP) and a 0.64 WHIP despite a sub-10% K%. Peralta has consistently performed exceptionally despite sub-par stuff and strikeout numbers. From 2020-2023, Peralta produced a 3.01 ERA (188.2 IP) while averaging more than eight holds a year despite rocking an 11.1% K-BB%. His consistency comes from his ability to avoid mistakes in the zone and punishment when batters make contact. Peralta should once again be a reliable source for holds in San Diego this year.


TEX 6 – ATL 4

H: David Robertson (7)

SV: Kirby Yates (3)

  • It’s Kirby Yates comeback szn! One of the best closers in baseball in 2019, Yates sat through three wasted seasons as he underwent surgery and recovery. 2023 was the first time since that 2019 campaign in which he tossed more than seven innings. Yates was solid in his first full year back, posting a 3.28 ERA while striking out 31.5% of the batters he faced. However, it came with a walk rate north of 14%, hinting at a pitcher past his prime. Yates has flipped the script with two full years separating him from surgery. He’s paired his pristine ERA this year with similarly spectacular strikeout numbers (32.4% K%) but has most notably cut his walk rate in half (5.8% BB%). That should go a long way towards staving off the inevitable age-related regression Yates is sure to face in his age-37 campaign. Yates has proven to be durable so far, recording the final four outs in each of his last three appearances. He’s the closer in Texas until something changes. David Robertson has also been pretty dang good with a 1.46 ERA (12.1 IP) and seven holds, which ties him for the MLB lead. If Yates were to falter, I suspect the Rangers would turn to Robertson before José Leclerc.


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

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List, is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub, and does playing time analysis at BaseballHQ. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic.

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