Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/16/23 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


  • There were 18 games on Saturday as the Rays and Royals as well as the Padres and Phillies took part in doubleheaders. The Cardinals and Nationals also resumed a suspended game and played their regularly scheduled Saturday matchup. We’ll have a full slate of 15 games on Sunday.



Yesterday’s Performances


SDP 4 – PHI 6 (Game 1)

H: Steven Wilson (17)

SV: Craig Kimbrel (15)

  • The back end of the Padres bullpen faltered dramatically. Steven Wilson, Nick Martinez, and Tim Hill combined to allow six runs across 2.1 innings to create a deficit the offense was unable to overcome. It was Wilson’s first appearance since returning from the IL and, despite the hold, he wasn’t at his best. In a bullpen already impacted by injuries on a team fighting tooth and nail to remain relevant in a Wild Card chase that is quickly slipping away, Wilson will be a key factor in leading the setup crew to success in the second half.
  • Craig Kimbrel continued his resurgence with his 15th save on Saturday. Since taking over the closer role on May 9th, he has looked like vintage Kimbrel with a 1.04 ERA (26 IP), a 0.65 WHIP, 12 saves, and a 42.7% K rate. Those are extremely elite numbers, making him a top-three reliever the rest of the way.


TBR 4 – KCR 2 (Game 2)

H: Jose Cuas (3), Kevin Kelly (9)

SV: Pete Fairbanks (10)

  • The performance of the Royals’ bullpen may be decided by Carlos Hernández in the second half. The right-hander took his fifth loss on Saturday after surrendering a run in the eighth inning of a tie game. It feels like he’s continuing to underperform his full capabilities. A previously intriguing starter, Hernández has added more than two mph to his heater in the bullpen. The fastball is one of the best in baseball with a 96th-percentile PLV. Without a dominant secondary, Hernández may never truly take off, but he will be the top setup option the rest of the way and is a trade away from becoming the closer.
  • I led the hype train on Pete Fairbanks entering this year, and while he hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations, he’s still been pretty frickin’ good. The swinging strikes and punchouts haven’t been there, but his results (1.47 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) have been wonderful and his underlying metrics still look great. He’s in the 80th percentile or better in overall CSW (33.7%, 90th percentile), overall PLV (5.36, 92nd percentile), hard contact rate (17.8%, 88th percentile), and ground ball rate (56.5%, 84th percentile). Just wait until he starts inducing whiffs.


WSN 7 – STL 5 (Resumed Game)

SV: Hunter Harvey (9)

  • Kyle Finnegan attempted to blow the victory but Hunter Harvey wasn’t having it. He worked around the zombie runner to lock down his ninth save. The Nationals will be sellers, but both Harvey and Finnegan have two more years of control remaining, so they’re not guaranteed to be dealt. If I had to choose between the two, I think Finnegan is more likely to be traded because of his age. He’s 31, three years older than Harvey, meaning he doesn’t fit their timeline as well as his bullpen mate.
  • Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth and 10th in the game from Friday that was resumed on Saturday. He survived the first frame but couldn’t do the same with the zombie runner on and suffered his sixth loss. Hicks is all but guaranteed to be dealt at the deadline with free agency looming this offseason. The Cardinals have smartly put him on display as the team’s closer with Ryan Helsley on the IL. This may be a situation worth taking advantage of by grabbing Giovanny Gallegos while he’s on the waiver wire before he inevitably becomes the closer in August.


ARI 2 – TOR 5

H: Nate Pearson (2), Erik Swanson (22)

SV: Yimi García (2)

  • Scott McGough pitched the eighth down by one in an attempt to keep things close, but he instead gave up two runs to put the game out of reach. The back end of the Arizona bullpen is lights out with Andrew Chafin having one of the best years of his career, Miguel Castro inducing weak contact, and McGough thriving after a slow start. I don’t see them needing to add any relievers at the deadline.
  • With Jordan Romano still recovering from an injury he sustained during the All-Star Game, the Jays called upon Yimi García to shut things down. This is just the second time in his career that he’s surpassed one save. The other was when he closed 15 games for the Marlins during the first half of 2021. Garcia’s been very unlucky this year with a 4.54 ERA (37.2 IP) backed up by a 2.95 xFIP.


CLE 0 – TEX 2

H: Grant Anderson (3), Will Smith (5)

SV: Aroldis Chapman (3)

  • Xzavion Curry continued his underrated campaign with a scoreless inning and two punchouts one Saturday. He’s been a workhorse this year, tied for eighth among relievers with 47.1 innings pitched, and has paired that with a 3.04 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Unfortunately, outside of throwing a lot of strikes, there’s not much to indicate Curry’s success continuing. His ERA estimators are nearly two full runs higher than his actual mark and his 16.4% strikeout rate is the lowest among relievers with at least 40 innings pitched.
  • Are we witnessing a changing of the guard? Don’t act too fast, but Aroldis Chapman earned his first save since being acquired by Texas while Will Smith set up by securing five outs across the seventh and eighth innings. I doubt they just turn heel and let Chapman take over the rest of the way, but it would make a lot of sense given Chapman’s resurgence. He has the highest strikeout rate (43.2%) among left-handed relievers with at least 10 innings pitched. It’s his best mark in a full season since 2018. He has pitched on back-to-back days, so keep that in consideration when Smith gets the call today.


SFG 3 – PIT 1

H: Scott Alexander (5)

SV: Camilo Doval (28)

  • Camilo Doval has already set a new career high in saves and there are still more than two months to go in the season. His 28 saves also currently lead the Major Leagues. His slider/cutter/sinker combination is deadly because of its mix of deception and velocity. The slider is in the 95th percentile with a 25% swinging strike rate. The cutter is the fastest in baseball, averaging 100.2 mph. The sinker comes in hot at 98 mph and actually grades out the best according to PLV with a 74th percentile, 5.15 mark. The Rogers twins will be called upon for a save today after Doval pitched in each of the past two games.
  • David Bednar was called upon in the eighth in a tie game with inherited runners on base and was tasked with holding the score. Unfortunately for the Pirates, he wasn’t able to get the job done and allowed both runners to score. Bednar was still able to lower his ERA to 1.25 (36 IP), the fourth-lowest mark among relievers with at least 30 innings pitched. He shouldn’t be worried about a trade given his status as a fan-favorite hometown kid with contractual control coinciding with the Pirates’ competitive window.


MIN 10 – OAK 7

H: Griffin Jax (13), Oliver Ortega (1)

SV: Jhoan Duran (14)

  • Jhoan Duran did it again, closing out his 14th save on Saturday. Since his debut last year, few relievers have been better. Among relievers with at least 100 innings pitched, Duran’s 1.99 ERA trails only Félix Bautista and Alexis Díaz. If the Twins can go on a second-half run to secure the division, Duran could climb the saves leaderboard rapidly. If red is your favorite color, go check out his player page. He’ll need a breather after pitching on consecutive days. It’d normally be Griffin Jax, but he’s pitched on the same schedule, meaning Jorge López is the likeliest candidate to close out a tight win on Sunday.
  • Trevor May pitched the ninth down by two and surrendered a run in the process. I thought he was one of the clearest trade candidates for the A’s entering the season, but they’d be lucky to get a bag of chips in return for him. Not only have the results been bad (5.32 ERA, 23.2 IP), but the underlying metrics are even worse. He has more walks (20) than strikeouts (19) and his 6.90 xFIP is the worst among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched by more than a full run.


HOU 12 – LAA 13

H: Hector Neris (19)

  • Entering Saturday, Ryan Pressly was the eighth pitcher ever with 11 consecutive hitless outings of at least one inning. During that time he lowered his ERA and WHIP from 3.49 and 1.02 respectively, to 2.45 and 0.82. He reset all of that hard work with a big blown save on Saturday in which he surrendered three runs on five hits. His ERA and WHIP now sit at 2.83 and 0.92 respectively. Those are still respectable numbers and are indicative of a pitcher still on top of his game even at the age of 34. Pressly, Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu, and Phil Maton have all pitched on consecutive days, so Rafael Montero could get a shot at a save on Sunday.
  • Carlos Estévez took advantage of Pressly’s blunder. He tossed a hitless 10th and earned his third win after the offense walked it off in the bottom half. His first season outside of Coors has been going swimmingly, but an xFIP more than 2.50 runs north of his ERA suggests rough waters ahead. Now might be an ideal time to sell high, especially because of the possibility he’s traded to a team where he doesn’t end up closing.


Best of the Rest


  • Félix Bautista recorded save number 25 after Yennier Cano set up to earn his 21st hold. The All-Stars have the top two ERA marks among relievers with at least 40 innings pitched. Both have pitched on consecutive days, so depending on matchups, Danny Coulombe or Bryan Baker could be the temporary closer today.
  • Devin Williams secured his 22nd save with a perfect frame following Joel Payamps‘ identical eighth in which he recorded his 18th hold. Both of them and Elvis Peguero have pitched in each of the past two days, so Bryse Wilson will likely see a save chance if one arises on Sunday.


  • Evan Phillips had a save taken away from him after his offense tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth. He still pitched and escaped his appearance unscathed.
  • Kendall Graveman worked around three hits and a run to lock down his eighth save. He’s one of the clearer trade candidates on a White Sox team ready to sell.
  • Clay Holmes was successful in earning his 11th save of the season in Colorado. He’ll have a hard time reaching 20 saves this year, but he’ll be the go-to option in the majority of high-leverage situations.


Bullpen Depth Charts

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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