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

Find breakdowns of key bullpen usages from Thursday'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


  • There were 10 games total on Thursday and today all 30 MLB teams will be back in action.
  • The Marlins designated Devin Smeltzer for assignment. He had actually bounced back in his previous two outings in late April after a rough start to the season but then gave up three earned runs in an appearance on Wednesday.
  • The A’s made some transactions hoping to strengthen their weak bullpen on Thursday, selecting the contracts of RHPs Spencer PattonAustin Pruitt, and Rico Garcia from Triple-A and designating Domingo Acevedo and Jeurys Familia for assignment. As a team, Oakland has a league-worst three saves on the season. Familia had captured two of those saves, but struggled to a 2.05 WHIP, while Acevedo has two blown saves on the year and an ERA over 10.
  • Zach Jackson seems next in line to receive the A’s save chances and has better overall numbers this season. However, he can struggle with walks as well (1.50 WHIP this season) and blew his first save opportunity on Wednesday. Generally speaking, I would stay clear of this bullpen for fantasy purposes unless you are very desperate for a closer. If that’s you, keep an eye on Jackson moving forward.


Bullpen to Stream

Washington Nationals

  • This is covered in more detail below, but the Nationals have had both Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey pitch in three straight games so they are likely bets to be resting on Friday.
  • If you’re looking to stream for a save chance, take a look at Mason Thompson. Thompson last pitched on Tuesday and did blow a save chance, but is having a solid season for the Nats’ bullpen with a 2-1 record, a save, a hold, and a 2.18 ERA. Carl Edwards Jr./strong>. (he always makes me think of Carl’s Jr. restaurants) would be another potential option, but he would be on shorter rest than Thompson, having last pitched two games in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Yesterday’s Performances

NYM 0 – DET 2

SV: Alex Lange (5)


  • The big story in this game was Justin Verlander making his Mets debut. He gave up two solo home runs early but otherwise was his typical ace self. However, he was outshined by Eduardo Rodriguez, who went eight innings and gave up only two hits and one walk to go with nine strikeouts. Alex Lange pitched the ninth inning after Rodriguez departed and picked up his second save in two days. He is now up to five saves on the year. If you’re in a deep league and happen to have Jason Foley on your roster, roll him out on Friday as he would be the most likely save candidate.
  • On the Mets side, Jeff Brigham, Drew Smith, and newly acquired Dominic Leone each pitched identical lines: 1 IP, no hits, no runs, and one strikeout.


PIT 2 – TB 3

SV: Jason Adam (2)
H: Ryan Thompson (2)


  • With yesterday’s news that Tampa Bay placed Pete Fairbanks on the 15-day IL with forearm inflammation, people expected Jason Adam to be the main beneficiary and indeed Adam captured the save on Thursday. He gave up one hit and struck out three in the ninth inning. He was preceded by Ryan Thompson who pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his second hold of the year.
  • Vince Velasquez only lasted three innings so the Pirates had four relievers appear in the game. Jose Hernandez and Robert Stephenson gave up an earned run in their individual inning pitched, while Duane Underwood Jr. and Colin Holderman pitched three scoreless innings.


CHC 3 – WSH 4

BS: Hunter Harvey (1)
W: Kyle Finnegan (1-1)
L: Brad Boxberger (0-1)


  • The Cubs activated Jameson Taillon from the IL on Thursday and he took the mound in a start against the Nationals. As expected after returning from an injury, Taillon’s outing was a short one and he departed after three innings and 43 pitches. Javier Assad ended up pitching the majority of the game for Chicago, going five scoreless innings and allowing two hits, no walks, and one strikeout. Brad Boxberger was tagged with the loss after allowing a walk-off home run to Alex Call in the ninth.
  • Washington probably hoped to avoid having to roll out Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey for the third straight day, but that’s what happened versus the Cubs, with mixed success. Patrick Corbin pitched seven scoreless innings before surrendering two hits to start the eighth. Harvey then entered the game and blew the save opportunity before Kyle Finnegan closed out the game in the ninth, earning the win. Over the past three days, Finnegan has two saves and a win, so expect him to rest on Friday. Mason Thompson would likely be on the mound if a save opportunity arises.


ATL 6 – MIA 3 

SV: A.J. Minter (7)
H: Michael Tonkin (1), Nick Anderson (5)


  • The Marlins deployed both Dylan Floro and A.J. Puk in non-save situations against the Braves. Floro gave up no runs lowering his ERA on the season below 2.00 (1.98). Puk is having a terrific season with five saves and a 3-0 record, but gave up two earned runs in this game – his first earned runs since March 31.
  • A.J. Minter secured another much-needed save (seventh of the year) as he works back his confidence following a series of subpar outings in late April. His ERA is still at a number that would be good for an NBA point guard’s assists per game: 7.98. Michael Tonkin and Nick Anderson each pitched shutout innings for holds before Minter appeared in the ninth.


BAL 13 – KC 10

H: Bryan Baker (7)
BS: Danny Coulombe (1)
BS/L: Aroldis Chapman (1/2)
W: Yennier Cano (1-0)


  • Aroldis Chapman was hit with the blown save and the loss after he walked the first two batters he faced and then proceeded to give up two runs in the top of the eighth. Despite pitching on Thursday after capturing his third hold the previous day, it seems fatigue wasn’t the issue as Chapman only threw six pitches in Wednesday’s game. Chapman will continue to pitch in high-leverage spots alongside Scott Barlow, who has been receiving the primary save share.
  • For the Orioles, Danny Coulombe blew his first save opportunity before Baltimore’s other relievers swooped in to save the day. Yennier Cano got his first win of the season after twirling two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Bryan Baker continued his strong year, picking up his seventh hold, and lowering his ERA to 1.72 and WHIP to 0.89.


SEA 5 – OAK 3

SV: Paul Sewald (9)
H: Justin Topa (7)



Best of the Rest


  • The Twins and White Sox battled it out in extras until Minnesota prevailed in the 12th. Reynaldo López blew his fourth save of the year and Alex Colomé was tagged with the loss in his second appearance with the Sox. He has given up earned runs in each of his first two appearances.
  • Brad Hand got his first win of the year for the Rockies after pitching a scoreless eighth inning with one hit and one strikeout. Peter Strzelecki had his worst outing of the season and fell to 2-2 on the year after surrendering five earned runs in 0.1 innings. Strzelecki gave up only one earned run in 13 appearances in April, racking up eight holds and a 2-0 record. Things have changed as the calendar flipped to May and he has given up earned runs in back-to-back appearances.
  • The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays in a game featuring many relief pitchers. Kevin Gausman gave up eight earned runs in only 3.1 innings so a series of five Toronto relievers made appearances, including Erik Swanson. Swanson pitched for the second time in three days so will likely be off on Friday. Jordan Romano didn’t pitch in this one so he will be ready to go if a save opportunity proceeds on Friday. For the Red Sox, Brennan Bernardino and John Schreiber kept runs off the board for Boston before Ryan Brasier gave up the final run to extend the Blue Jays’ lead.


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


Nate Kosher

Nate Kosher is based in the Twin Cities and is a staff writer for Pitcher List. He grew up watching low-budget Twins teams at the Metrodome before eventually converting to the Arizona Diamondbacks (the power of teal and purple in the 1990s). His goal is to someday visit all 30 MLB ballparks and he believes Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. You can read more of Nate's writing in his newsletter, The Relief Pickle.

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