Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 5/01/23 Depth Chart

Find breakdowns of key bullpen usages from Sunday'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


  • We had 14 games of action on Sunday with ATL and NYM yet again being postponed. Those two teams will play a double header on Monday along with six other games of action. Teams with a scheduled day off are: TBR, BAL, MIN, DET, CWS, TEX, HOU, SEA, LAA, OAK, MIA, PIT, MIL, STL, ARI, and COL.


  • Boston activated Chris Martin from the IL and demoted Kaleb Ort. Martin immediately moves into a high-leverage role with Kenley Jansen reportedly unavailable with a back issue. Boston believes Jansen will be available Monday, but it’s worth monitoring to see if Martin gets another day or two in the closer’s role.
  • The Reds placed Fernando Cruz on the 15-day IL with Casey Legumina staying with the major league club after being called up during Graham Ashcraft’s brief placement on the bereavement list.


  • Calvin Faucher was optioned by the Rays to make room for their re-acquisition of Javy Guerra. The Rays almost always use the options of relievers who have them, so it’s not a surprise to see Faucher be sent down this year. He’ll certainly be back up again soon and continue to play a role in the team’s bullpen. The Rays clearly see something in Guerra as this is the second time they’ve acquired him in as many years, but whatever they see in him is deeply hidden. He had nine walks and five strikeouts in 8.1 IPs with the Brewers and was likely heading toward a DFA if he wasn’t traded.
Yesterday’s Performances

BAL 5 – DET 3

  • Yennier Cano earned his second save by retiring the final four batters of the game for the O’s. He’s now faced 33 batters this year and retired 32 of them with a hit-by-pitch as the only blip on his radar. I get the hype here as this was his second save of the week and he is generating both strikeouts and weak ground balls at elite rates, but Félix Bautista is still here and dominant. He had been used in three of the previous four games including a 31-pitch save on Thursday. Unless something happens to Bautista, there’s not going to be a switch here anytime soon and, along with Bryan BakerBaltimore just seems to have one of the most potent 7-8-9 punches in the league.
  • Detroit used a couple of their top arms for the second straight day in Alex Lange and Jason Foley with the promise of a scheduled off day on Monday. Lange had a weird start to the year and didn’t strike out a single batter in his first four appearances. He seems to have found his rhythm since then and now has fifteen punchouts over 9 IPs in his past nine appearances. The Tigers had sometimes used Lange in non-closer situations in his first few outings, but he seems to be much closer to the true closer recently in terms of his usage. Foley does have a couple of saves on the season, but seems to be a clear backup to Lange now in terms of closing duties.


PIT 2 – WSN 7

  • Pittsburgh went down early in this one and only got seven outs from their starter which forced them to rely a lot on their middle and long relievers. Jose Hernandez delivered two scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 0.77 on the young season. He doesn’t strike me as a shutdown guy, but he is the only lefty currently in this bullpen which could grant him some hold opportunities in the near future.
  • Kyle Finnegan got some low-leverage 9th-inning work with a six-run lead. He looked better in part with his sinker back to sitting 98 mph and going 5/18 on whiffs, but he did also give up a sharp double to Connor Joe who later came around to score. I don’t see how much longer the Nationals can keep trotting Finnegan out there in the 9th especially considering how well guys like Hunter Harvey and Mason Thompson have been pitching.


KCR 4 – MIN 8

  • Kansas City was down eight runs by the end of the third inning, but we got a chance to see a couple of extremely volatile relievers have their best stuff. Josh Staumont and Carlos Hernández each recorded four outs, three by strikeout, and generated six whiffs. These are pitchers number two and three by Stuff+ in the KC bullpen behind Aroldis Chapman, but both have battled major control issues in their careers leading them to volatile outcomes. Despite the impressive numbers here, I wouldn’t trust either of them until I saw prolonged stretches of improved control.
  • Minnesota was up six runs going into the 9th, but Josh Winder struggled to get anyone out and gifted Jhoan Duran the one-out save, his sixth of the year. Duran had thrown 26 pitches on Saturday, so I’m sure the Twins weren’t thrilled to have to throw him here. They’ve been generally avoiding back-to-backs, so don’t be surprised if Duran gets an extra day off in addition to the scheduled one on Monday. He may be passed over for a save chance if one arises on Tuesday in favor of Jorge López.


SEA 10 – TOR 8 (F/10)

  • Six Mariners relievers combined for seven scoreless innings to allow the offense to claw back and eventually pick up the win. The highest leverage innings belonged to Paul Sewald who worked a scoreless 9th and picked up his second win and Matt Brash who delivered his first save of the season. Brash’s high walk, high-strikeout approach is a good fit for extra innings where walking the first batter isn’t a big deal given there’s already a runner on second and Seattle has used Brash in many high-leverage situations in extra innings. Andrés Muñoz is slowly inching back, but Brash likely keeps a high-leverage role if he keeps his walks down like he has. His K:BB now sits at an elite 26:5 in 13 IPs of work.
  • While Seattle’s bullpen had an excellent Sunday, Toronto’s tripped up at every opportunity. All four relievers used were scored upon and they combined to allow six runs (four earned) in five innings of work. Yimi García was saddled with a blown save and Zach Pop took the loss. Trevor Richards changeup continues to be one of the most effective whiff pitches in the game as it went 6/19 today bringing his swinging strike rate on the pitch to 30.6% on the season.


CHC 3 – MIA 4

  • Michael Fulmer was used in the 7th inning of a tie game here for his third day of work in the past four days. Given the team wasn’t trying to save him for later in the game and, instead, opted to use him here without the benefit of an off day on Monday, I’d say it can be all but confirmed that Fulmer has lost most of his share of the upcoming saves for the Cubs. Brad Boxberger seems to be the immediate beneficiary, but the team has a couple of high-upside arms who could take the job later in the year including Adbert Alzolay who worked for the fourth time of the week on Sunday. Alzolay had been being used earlier in the season as a multi-inning reliever but has now logged three outs or fewer in each of his past seven appearances which included three holds. He seems to be working his way into higher-leverage roles and should be a decent source of holds the rest of the way.
  • Tanner Scott worked around a couple of hits to log a scoreless 8th and lucked into his second win of the year when the offense put up the game-winning run in the bottom of the 8th. A.J. Puk shut things down in the 9th for his fifth save of the year. Puk has stayed healthy and in the zone so far this year and, with that, has looked the part of a solid closer. He’s not been showing lights out, swing-and-miss stuff, so his K-rate isn’t likely to climb over 30% and he’ll likely have a stretch or two of struggles, but all signs are pointing to Puk being able to hold on to this job this year and deliver 25-30 saves.


CIN 4 – OAK 5

  • The Reds bullpen has been one of the bigger surprises to me this April as they’ve been a decent group so far after being one of the worst in the league last year. The breakout of Alex Young is one that I’ve particularly enjoyed watching. Unfortunately, they ended April on a bad note with Buck Farmer taking a blown save and Derek Law dropping the game and taking the loss. Alexis Díaz was brought in to try to salvage a two-on, no-out situation, but a wild pitch and a single quickly ended the game. Lucas Sims also worked a scoreless inning in this one and he looks like he could also contribute to the emergence of this bullpen.
  • Domingo Acevedo blew a lead in the 6th and took a blown save, but the bullpen held on for the final three innings and Zach Jackson fell into his second win of the year despite a shaky scoreless top of the 9th. Oakland has one of the worst bullpens in recent memory, so I wouldn’t expect this sort of success to continue.


CLE 1 – BOS 7

  • The Guardians were down big by the late innings, so the only relevant takeaway is that Peyton Battenfield logged the final two innings in relief meaning that he is likely not lined up to start next week. This means both Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee should stay in the rotation for the time being.
  • The Red Sox ended up winning big, but John Schreiber was able to snag his sixth hold before the lead ballooned too much. It should be noted that Kenley Jansen was unavailable for this game and Chris Martin would have been used had a save opportunity come along.


SFG 4 – SDP 6

  • Scott Alexander and John Brebbia held down the fort for saves in the Mexico City launching pad game, but Tyler Rogers struggled and took his second loss of the year. Camilo Doval was brought out with one out in the 8th to try to stem the tide, but he gave up the game-tying single and a poorly placed two-out bloop double to give the Padres the lead. Doval was throwing absolute gas in this one and touched 103 mph. I don’t doubt the stuff and chalk this one up to a tough park and some rough luck.
  • Luis Garcia pitched two clean innings, an extremely difficult feat given how other pitchers fared in the Mexico City series and earned a win when his team took the lead in the bottom of the 8th. Josh Hader came on and threw ten straight sinkers to generate three weak ground balls and earn his tenth save of the season in as many opportunities. Hader has almost completely shelved his slider so far this year as his usage of it has now fallen below 10% after hovering around 30% each of the past few years. This has caused his swinging strike rate to fall, but his rate of weak contact to shoot up as his hard hit rate now sits at just 19.2% through his first 13 IPs of the year. This is a different Josh Hader from years past but, so far, this version is just as effective.


LAA 3 – MIL 0

  • Carlos Estévez pitched a clean 9th to lower his ERA to 1.32 and earn his sixth save of the season. Matt Moore also picked up his team-leading eighth hold. After some major problems with walks in Spring Training and to start the year, that makes five straight outings without a walk for Estevez, and he’s retired seventeen of eighteen batters faced over that stretch. I still don’t quite trust his stuff over the full season, but I have to admit that Estevez is performing right now and is the clear closer for the Angels.
  • With their top two arms coming off back-to-backs, the Brewers tried to use their middle and long relievers to get through the middle and late innings in which they trailed. With an off day coming on Monday, they should have their full complement of high-leverage guys available in Colorado on Tuesday.


STL 3 – LAD 6

  • Coming off four straight days of rest and going into a scheduled off day, both Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos got some maintenance work in this one. The results weren’t great, but everything under the hood looks good and these two look ready for the Cardinals’ next save opportunity.
  • Four relievers earned holds for Los Angeles in this one including Brusdar Graterol, the closer from Saturday. Evan Phillips, who earned a hold on Saturday, this time came on for the 9th and earned his third save. There has been some weird usage over the past week or so with many Dodgers going on paternity leave, so the situation has been clouded a bit. From my eyes, when everyone is available, Phillips seems to be the guy most of the time. Graterol, yes, did get the save on Saturday, but the count is three-to-one in favor of Phillips when both players are available. We aren’t quite to a Rays West situation here, but I certainly wouldn’t put it past the Dodgers especially if they get guys like Daniel Hudson and Blake Treinen back from injury at some point over the summer.


PHI 3 – HOU 4

  • Gregory SotoConnor Brogdon, and Luis F. Ortiz combined for 4.2 scoreless IPs Sunday night, but no holds were given out as the Phillies were down for the majority of the game. The Phillies bullpen has had its share of difficulties this year, but Brogdon and Soto have each pretty much met expectations and Soto leads the team with six holds.
  • The Astros sent their A-squad to close out the game with Hector NerisRafael Montero, and Bryan Abreu earning holds with Ryan Pressly notching his third save of the season. Pressly has had some struggles and injury concerns to start the year, but it appears that he’s still not on the hot seat despite the continued dominance of Abreu and Montero. If he does leave the door open with continued struggles, though, Abreu would immediately become a potentially top-tier closer with his elite skills.


TBR 9 – CWS 12

  • A rare implosion for the normally solid Rays bullpen as Jalen Beeks and Garrett Cleavinger combined to allow seven runs in the bottom of the 9th. Jason Adam was used in the 8th and picked up his fourth hold, but it would seem that Pete Fairbanks was unavailable due to the cold weather causing him some numbness as a result of Raynaud’s Syndrome. The condition seems to affect Fairbanks in the cold weather and the Rays wouldn’t confirm that he was unavailable, but it was mid-40s and rainy for this game, so the conditions were likely too bad to risk it. Keep an eye on Fairbanks’ status going into the next week.
  • It’s rare that a bullpen allows seven runs across the final two innings of the game and still picks up a win, but such is the state of the White Sox bullpen. Reynaldo López was pulled with an injury in this one which the team later called a biceps issue. Aaron Bummer allowed two runs to raise his season ERA to 9.64 but still walked away with his first victory of the season. If Lopez does go on the shelf, it appears that Kendall Graveman would be next in line for a save chance, but this whole bullpen has been so bad so far this year that it’s hard to recommend a pickup unless you’re extremely desperate for saves.


NYY 2 – TEX 15

  • The Yankees were smacked around from the beginning in this one and kind of left Albert Abreu and Nick Ramirez out to dry in order to get through the game without using too many arms.
  • Good to see Cole Ragans put in a good inning in a low-leverage situation. He showed some interesting stuff as a starter in Spring Training, but he unraveled pretty badly in his last appearance in Cincinnati. Hopefully, he finds a consistent role and is able to display the skills he showed in March.


ARI 4 – COL 12

  • He has yet to record a hold, but this now makes nine straight scoreless outings for Kyle Nelson whose peripherals have looked stellar so far. He could certainly find himself getting plenty of holds opportunities soon if he replaces Joe Mantiply as the team’s preferred situational lefty option.
  • Brent Suter just can’t stop putting up scoreless innings. He logged his eleventh appearance already this year and now has allowed just two earned runs on eight hits in 17.1 IPs for an ERA of 1.04. All the numbers under the hood say that this is pretty much the same guy as last year, so I would just call this a hot streak for now, but any semblance of mediocrity from a Rockies reliever could quickly send them into high-leverage situations.


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)

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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