Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 5/20/23 Depth Chart

Find breakdowns of key bullpen usages 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


  • All 30 teams were in action Friday night, kicking off their weekend matchups. Fifteen more games are on tap for Saturday, starting at 2:10 ET.
  • Atlanta placed Dylan Lee on the 15-day IL with shoulder inflammation, and activated Lucas Luetge in a corresponding move. Luetge holds an unseemly 8.10 ERA in five appearances this year, but the lefty has shown he has quality stuff in the past and he could get into the club’s holds mix quickly now that he’s healthy.
  • Zach Jackson is the latest A’s reliever to walk out the revolving door of closers, hitting the 15-day IL Friday due to a flexor strain. Saves options in Oakland could include Sam Moll, Austin Pruitt, and Richard Lovelady, if you’re really that desperate.


Bullpens to Stream Today

Mets and Guardians

  • The Mets’ busy week continued on Friday with another narrow win, this time a 10-9 extra innings affair vs. the Guardians. David Robertson pitched for the third consecutive day, and you know what that means — yesterday’s streaming choice, Adam Ottavino, is now an even better bet. Ottavino did pitch on Friday, but he threw just 16 pitches, while Robertson has totalled 37 since Tuesday. Ottavino has 37 career saves, including four this season, and he should be the obvious choice if the Mets hold a late lead today.
  • On the other side, Guardians’ closer Emmanuel Clase has thrown consecutive days as well. This could open up a save chance for James Karinchak, but considering he threw 20+ high-stress pitches on Friday, I’m not too bullish on that. Trevor Stephan has also thrown back-to-backs, so Eli Morgan or even Sam Hentges could see higher leverage roles if the next game is close.
  • Save Stream: Adam Ottavino
  • Hold Streams: Eli Morgan, Brooks Raley
Yesterday’s Performances 

NYY 6 – CIN 2

H: Jimmy Cordero (2), Albert Abreu (3), Wandy Peralta (4) 


  • Clarke Schmidt came through in a big way for the Yankees, tossing five shutout frames in Great American Ball Park before the Reds chased him in the sixth. Cordero entered and allowed two inherited runners to score but escaped with the lead intact. From there, Abreu and Peralta took care of business to earn holds before New York broke it open in the ninth. Nick Ramirez closed it out, with the Yanks holding a four-run lead by this point.
  • Cincinnati benefitted from a surprisingly efficient, eight-K outing from Ben Lively, but their bullpen once again failed to keep it close. Ian Gibaut and Silvino Bracho were particularly victimized, allowing four hits and four runs between them.


MIL 0 – TB 1

SV: Pete Fairbanks (4)
W: Jason Adam (1-1)


  • When Shane McClanahan takes the hill, even Tampa Bay’s ever-churning bullpen machine can take it easy. McClanahan breezed through seven shutout IP on just 81 pitches, then gave way to Adam for the eighth and Fairbanks for the ninth. The two relievers allowed one hit apiece but turned in scoreless outings to preserve the slimmest of victories.
  • Milwaukee got a spirited effort out of Adrian Houser, who threw six scoreless innings of his own against the potent Rays offense. The only run of the game was surrendered by Peter Strzelecki on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.


DET 8 – WSH 6

SV: Alex Lange (8)

H: Chasen Shreve (4), Jason Foley (7)


  • Through five innings, Detroit held a comfy 8-0 lead and Matthew Boyd was twirling a no-hit bid. Then the Nats scored three in the sixth, then three more in the seventh, and suddenly that lead got cozy. Thankfully for the Tigers, the bullpen trio of Shreve, Foley and Lange were there to slam the door. They combined for zero hits, one walk and six punchouts in the last three scoreless innings, with Lange striking out two for his first four-out save of the season.
  • The Nationals used four pitchers in this game, and each of them completed two-plus innings. None of them completed three. Andrés Machado was the only one to not allow a run, tossing a scoreless eighth and ninth to keep the Nats in the game.


BAL 6 – TOR 2

H: Yennier Cano (9)


  • Kyle Gibson went seven strong in this one, exiting with a 4-1 lead. The O’s went to their electric setup man, Cano, who had some uncharacteristic struggles in the eighth — he was greeted by back-to-back hits, one of which came home to score. But he managed to retire Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Daulton Varsho to end the threat, and Félix Bautista slammed the door in the ninth with two Ks. No save for Felix, since the Orioles had just pushed their lead to four in the top half.
  • The Blue Jays got scoreless innings from Tim Mayza and Anthony Bass before Erik Swanson allowed a two-run homer to Adam Frazier in the ninth.


CLE 9 – NYM 10 (10)

W: Drew Smith (3-1)
H: Sam Hentges (3)
BSV: James Karinchak (2), Emmanuel Clase (5)
L: Clase (1-4)


  • The wildest game of the night went down in Queens, where the Guardians and Mets traded shots for 10 innings. Cleveland took control with a 7-3 lead in the seventh until they gave it right back when Pete Alonso stroked a grand slam off Karinchak in the bottom half of the inning. In fairness, it was Karinchak’s first batter of the night, and he recovered to strike out three of the next four batters. Enyel De Los Santos and Trevor Stephan followed, mowing through the Mets lineup with ease in the eighth and ninth, respectively. The Guardians then took the lead back in the top of the 10th, but Clase was unable to hold it; four well-placed singles, the last a Francisco Lindor walk-off, spelled doom for MLB’s saves leader (and blown saves leader, after collecting his fifth on Friday).
  • On the Mets side, Carlos Carrasco was blown up by his former team — as was Dominic Leone, who allowed two runs in the sixth. But things settled down after that, with Stephen Nogosek, Tommy Hunter, Adam Ottavino, and David Robertson covering the next three-plus innings beautifully. Smith entered in the 10th and allowed a two-run homer to rookie Gabriel Arias, though only one of those runs was earned. He earned his third win as a result of the ensuing rally.
  • Both Clase and Robertson have now pitched back-to-backs, and Karinchak threw 22 pitches in this game. Ottavino is probably in the best position on either team to earn a save Saturday, should the opportunity present itself.


SEA 2 – ATL 6

W: Collin McHugh (2-0)
H: Nick Anderson (7)


  • Much like the Toronto-Baltimore game, this game was tight until the final innings. The two Bryces — Elder and Miller — each cruised through six, only to run into trouble in the seventh. Elder allowed the game-tying run and was lifted for McHugh, who allowed the go-ahead knock shortly after. But Atlanta surged back in front with two runs off Miller in the bottom half, setting McHugh up for the W. Anderson pitched a perfect eighth for his seventh hold, and Raisel Iglesias was typically dominant in the ninth, though he didn’t earn a save for it.
  • After the younger Bryce exited (I know, there’s an “elder” joke here, I’m so close to it), Trevor Gott entered and handed the lead right back. Luckily for him, his work was overshadowed by Justin Topa, who served up three runs in the eighth (including a two-run bomb by Matt Olson). Only Tayler Saucedo, who followed Topa, recorded three outs with no runs in his name.
  • UPDATE: upon further research, I’m devastated to learn that Bryce Elder is in fact younger than Bryce Miller (by nearly eight months). Please respect my privacy during this difficult time.


KCR 0 – CWS 2

SV: Kendall Graveman (3)

  • The White Sox’ bullpen only needed to cover one inning in this one, since Michael Kopech dominated for eight one-hit frames. Graveman needed just 13 pitches to retire the side in the ninth, recording his third save of the season.
  • The Royals also used just two pitchers, with Zack Greinke pitching into the sixth and Jackson Kowar taking it the rest of the way. Kowar struck out three batters and didn’t allow a hit in his 2.1 innings, though he did surrender two walks.


MIN 4 – LAA 5

SV: Carlos Estévez (11)
H: Matt Moore (10)
BSV: Jimmy Herget (2), Griffin Jax (4)
W: Zack Weiss (1-0)


  • These two pitching staffs combined for a whopping 27 strikeouts on the night, most of which were racked up by Reid Detmers (12) and Joe Ryan (9). Detmers had a no-hitter going to boot, up until Byron Buxton and Kyle Farmer chased him with back-to-back singles in the sixth. The Twins would go on to tie the game at three that inning, with Herget earning the first blown save; he was followed by Tucker Davidson, who allowed a go-ahead bomb to Willi Castro and nearly served up another (a great catch by Mickey Moniak kept them within a run). Moore allowed a run in the eighth, but he preserved what was now a 5-4 Angels lead. Estevez set down the side with ease in the ninth, striking out Joey Gallo to end the game.
  • For Minnesota, it was Jax who allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh. Brock Stewart replaced him and retired all four batters he faced.


MIA 3 – SFG 4

SV: Tyler Rogers (2)
H: Taylor Rogers (3), John Brebbia (7)
W: Scott Alexander (4-0)


  • Camilo Doval was unavailable on Friday after pitching three of the previous four days. In his place, San Francisco went with Brebbia, Rogers, and Rogers to close it out after taking the lead in the sixth. Taylor Rogers drew the weightier assignment from a situational perspective, tackling the middle of Miami’s order in the eighth (and allowing a home run) before giving way to his twin brother. Isn’t this bullpen fun?
  • The Marlins suffered from another uneven Sandy Alcantara start and found themselves trailing 4-2 after six. Andrew Nardi and Bryan Hoeing each turned in scoreless innings in relief, but it wasn’t quite enough.


Best of the Rest

  • The Rangers used José Leclerc in the ninth inning of their 7-2 win over the Rockies on Friday. It was obviously a non-save situation, but it’s encouraging to see him put together back-to-back scoreless outings. If and when Will Smith falters, Jose will surely be (Lec)lurking.
  • Phil Maton (2), Rafael Montero (3), and Bryan Abreu (8) each earned holds in Houston’s 5-1 win over the A’s. Ryan Pressly pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.
  • Brusdar Graterol (8) and Shelby Miller (5) each earned holds in the Dodgers’ 5-0 win over the Cardinals. Miller lowered his season ERA to 2.57 in 21 IP. Don’t look now, but that would be a career low (min. 20 IP) for the 32-year-old. Oh screw it, look anyway, this is too much fun.
  • Josh Winckowski earned a three-inning save in Boston’s 6-1 win over the Padres. Those are always fun.


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)

Wynn McDonald

Born a Kentuckian, much like Dan Uggla. Braves fan by choice, unlike Dan Uggla. I enjoy long walks on the Brandon Beachy. @twynstagram

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