Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 5/6/24 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


COL 3 – PIT 5

W: Luis Ortiz (2)

HD: Aroldis Chapman (7)

SV: David Bednar (6)

  • It’s been a weird season for David Bednar. He began the year injured but wasn’t placed on the IL. When he returned, he proceeded to surrender nine runs across his first six frames. Then he looked to be turning it around with a trio of consecutive scoreless appearances before falling apart again, allowing six runs (five earned) across his next three outings. Now, a day after recording his first win of the season, he’s put up back-to-back scoreless appearances. Is he finally back to normal? Bednar has pitched on consecutive days, so expect Aroldis Chapman to get the ninth today.


TOR 8 – WSN 11

W: Hunter Harvey (2)

HD: Jordan Weems (5)

SV: Kyle Finnegan (11)

  • Is Kyle Finnegan actually becoming someone we can trust? He’s been a closer for four straight years now and yet, it still feels like it could fall apart at any moment. With just two pitches, mediocre strikeout rates, and nothing else to make it easier for him to get outs, Finnegan is an incomplete pitcher. He hinted at something new this offseason, experimenting with a sweeper during Spring Training, but that pitch has been thrown less than 3% of the time this year. Yet somehow, Finnegan is finding more success than ever. He’s sporting the second-best strikeout rate of his career (25.9%), is exhibiting more iVB (+1.6 from 2023) on his heater as it now grades out in the 93rd percentile according to PLV, and his splitter is inducing significantly more whiffs (+4.9% SwStr from 2023). However, it’s still not quite enough. His ERA estimators (xERA: 4.98 | xFIP 3.34 | 3.43 SIERA) all agree his 1.88 ERA (14.1 IP) will regress and his walk rate is astronomical at a career-high 13% (+3.3% from his career BB%). I think now is the ideal time to sell high.


DET 2 – NYY 5

W: Victor González (2)

SV: Dennis Santana (2)

  • This was a weird one. No, there’s nothing wrong with Clay Holmes. The Yankees had a one-run lead after seven and a half innings when a rain delay hit and didn’t let up. The umpires called this one final and Dennis Santana was awarded a save for his work in the eighth. Holmes will be back out there tomorrow to protect his pristine ERA and his MLB lead in saves.


LAA 1 – CLE 4

HD: Scott Barlow (8), Tim Herrin (4)

SV: Emmanuel Clase (10)

  • 2023 was a career-worst year for Emmanuel Clase despite his league-leading saves total, so it’s good to see him getting back into peak form. He now owns the third-best ERA (0.52, 17.1 IP) among pitchers with at least 15 innings pitched, trailing only Reed Garrett (0.50, 18 IP) and Clay Holmes (0.00, 16.1 IP), and is sporting the best strikeout rate of his career (29%, 4.1% higher than his career average entering this season). He’s also paired that with the lowest walk rate of his career (1.6%) and is inducing more whiffs than he did last year. All of this is to say that Clase is back and we can trust him as a top-three closer again.


NYM 6 – TBR 7

W: Erasmo Ramírez (1)

L: Jake Diekman (1)

HD: Jorge López (4), Reed Garrett (2), Sean Reid-Foley (1)

  • Edwin Diaz blew his first save of the season and it may be time to discuss whether he’s proven to still be the consensus top closer in MLB. He’s maintained greatness, but he’s not as dominant as he was in 2022. His 39.6% K% is in the top 10 among pitchers with at least 10 IP, but it’s not the overwhelming, league-leading mark from 2022. He’s sitting two ticks slower on his fastball as well, and that has affected his slider, leading to fewer whiffs on both pitches. I think Díaz is still a top-tier reliever, but I think he’s not far-and-away the best closer in baseball anymore.


SEA 5 – HOU 4

W: Andrés Muñoz (2)

L: Josh Hader (3)

  • Andrés Muñoz recorded the final four outs of the game and came away with the win when the offense took the lead during his outing. With Matt Brash and Gregory Santos delayed in their returns from the IL and Ryne Stanek slowing down (4.82 ERA in his last 9.1 IP), Muñoz’s job will be safe for quite a while. I expect fewer shenanigans from Scott Servais in Muñoz’s usage as he finds he doesn’t have enough trustworthy options for the ninth to use Muñoz in high-leverage situations.
  • On the other side, Josh Hader continues to struggle in his first year in Houston. He surrendered the game-deciding run in the top of the ninth and now sports a 6.14 ERA. I have to say that Rick Graham warned us all offseason long on the In The Pen podcast that Hader may be regressing with age and will be entering a home ballpark unfit for his style of pitching. Hader has been both unlucky and lucky on two fronts. On one hand, his ERA estimators suggest he’s the same pitcher he’s always been. On top of that, he’s significantly increased his ground ball rate in what seems to be a conscious effort to avoid the long balls that have plagued him in the past. However, he’s been lucky to have both Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu underperforming. If this keeps up for another week, Hader may be out of a job, though one of the two setup men will need to prove trustworthy ahead of that drastic move.


TEX 3 – KCR 2

W: Kirby Yates (3)

L: James McArthur (1)

HD: Angel Zerpa (4), John Schreiber (8)

SV: David Robertson (1)

  • Don’t get too worried, Kirby Yates is still the closer. He pitched the eighth and ninth while the Texas offense mounted a comeback. That allowed David Robertson to record his first save with a scoreless 10th. Both Yates and Robertson have been unflappable this year, a welcome sign given José Leclerc’s struggles. Yates sports a pristine ERA through 14 frames while Robertson’s ERA sits at 1.02 (17.2 IP). Both pitchers are getting up there in age but have elite underlying metrics supporting their performances.
  • The Royals pushed James McArthur a little too hard in this one. He blew a save in the ninth and then they sent him back out for the tenth where he lost the game. That’ll happen when you’re working with a bullpen with little depth. McArthur will be fine, but the Royals will need a couple more relievers to step up to prevent this from happening in the future.


BOS 9 – MIN 2

W: Brennan Bernardino (1)

HD: Zack Kelly (1), Cam Booser (1)

  • With an off day today and having not pitched all week, Kenley Jansen got a maintenance outing in the ninth up by seven. Jansen’s pitched sparingly this year (10.2 IP) but has looked pretty solid outside of an inflated walk rate (17%). It’s also concerning that his cutter is sitting a full two ticks slower and averaged sub-92 mph on Sunday. I don’t think Jansen is going to be someone fantasy managers get excited about rostering, but his position as the locked-in closer while finding a way to produce good ratios and solid strikeout numbers will make him someone who’s never dropped. If you’re concerned about his velo or inevitable regression, I’d suggest finding a trade partner.


BAL 11 – CIN 1

  • Alexis Díaz required a maintenance outing after sitting on the bench for the last five days. He did not take kindly to the non-save situation, surrendering four runs while recording just one out. If you weren’t concerned about him before, his 6.57 ERA (12.1 IP) following that disastrous outing might change your mind. Díaz is looking a lot like his 2023 second-half self when he was fatigued and didn’t perform well. We’ve now seen three months of solid pitching and four months of the opposite. I think it’s safe to say Díaz isn’t someone we can trust in the ninth, and I’d be adding Fernando Cruz everywhere in preparation for the Reds switching things up in the ninth.


SDP 4 – ARI 11

  • Paul Sewald is expected to return from the IL tomorrow, so the Diamondbacks took the opportunity to spread their bullpen thin knowing reinforcements are on the way. Kevin Ginkel pitched a scoreless ninth up by seven as he prepares to return to a setup role. He also needed a maintenance outing, having not appeared for the past four days. He was great in his stint as the team’s closer, compiling five saves and a 2.57 ERA (14 IP), so if Sewald struggles at all, Ginkel could be implemented back into the ninth because the DBacks know he’s someone they can trust.


SFG 4 – PHI 5

HD: Gregory Soto (4), Jeff Hoffman (5)

SV: José Alvarado (7)

  • Something’s up with José Alvarado. He surrendered another run but survived to secure the save. His ERA now sits at 4.30 (14.2 IP) and he seems to be reverting to the pitcher he was in 2021 when he had a 4.20 ERA (55.2 IP). Mainly, we’ve seen his strikeout rate drop and his walk rate rise. Hitters are making a lot more contact against his sinker (+14% from 2023) yet he’s throwing the pitch more often rather than relying on his cutter which continues to give hitters fits. With Jeff Hoffman pitching exceptionally, I could see him beginning to mix into the ninth with the possibility of taking things over outright because Alvarado is not the dominant arm he was in each of the past two seasons.


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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