Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/20/23 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


  • All 30 teams were in action on Wednesday and 20/30 are scheduled to take the field again Thursday. Teams with a scheduled day off are: BOS, NYY, CLE, TEX, LAA, MIA, WSN, PIT, LAD, and COL.


  • The Blue Jays activated Adam Cimber from the IL. He’s not likely to take on too many high-leverage innings.
  • The Rockies activated Brent Suter from the IL. He’s been, shockingly, one of the most valuable relievers in baseball this year, but it’s tough to predict if the Rockies have plans to trade him.
  • The Orioles traded for Shintaro Fujinami and will add him to their bullpen. Fujinami has pretty terrible numbers on the year, but he seemed to have turned a corner as a reliever over the past few weeks. This could be a sneaky good real-life move as Fujinami has some pretty good-looking stuff.
  • Look for the Pirates to activate Wil Crowe and the Padres to activate Robert Suarez on Thursday in moves that will significantly help the bullpen depth of both teams.


Yesterday’s Performances


CLE 5 – PIT 7

HD: Nick Sandlin (4), Colin Holderman (14)

SV: David Bednar (18)

  • Cleveland came into July with the second-best bullpen ERA in the majors, but this rough day, capped off by Sam Hentges‘ four-run meltdown pushes their relief ERA over five for the month. Hentges in particular has really lost his way allowing multiple runs in four of his last six appearances. His lack of options is the only thing keeping him on the roster right now.
  • The Pirates were able to take advantage of another Guardians bullpen meltdown and pick up the win with David Bednar earning his 18th save of the year in 19 opportunities. This was only Bednar’s second save opportunity of the month as Pittsburgh’s deep slump has caused the save opportunities to dry up as well. He needed just seven pitches to complete the inning in this one and he hasn’t allowed an earned run since June 9th, so he’s staying fresh despite the lack of chances. He also still has three years of team control, so I wouldn’t expect him to be moved at the deadline with the Pirates trying to line up the arrival of their young core of prospects like Oneil CruzHenry Davis, and Endy Rodríguez with the established veterans like Bednar, Mitch Keller, and Bryan Reynolds.


LAD 5 – BAL 8

HD: Yennier Cano (20)

SV: Félix Bautista (26)

  • I’ve been talking all year about how it seemed like the Dodgers bullpen had the pieces to perform better than they did in the first half where they had a bottom-10 bullpen ERA. It seems like they’re starting to figure out roles now as they’ve come out hot in July with the league’s best bullpen ERA and second-best FIP during that time. Phil Bickford in particular, who really struggled to the point of losing his roster spot earlier in the season, seems to have turned a corner and is poised for a solid second half.
  • We are witnessing a historic stretch from Félix Bautista whose season will, hopefully, be brought into the spotlight when the Orioles return to the playoffs and he can show off his stuff on the biggest stage. He only needed 12 pitches in this one after needing just 10 pitches for his previous save opportunity and 11 for the one before that. Baltimore made an interesting move acquiring Shintaro Fujinami who, I think, had potentially started to turn a corner in Oakland as a reliever with a 1.64 ERA, 12 strikeouts, and no walks in his previous 11 IPs before coming over. He could strengthen his already excellent bullpen.


TBR 1 – TEX 5

HD: Alex Speas  (1)

SV: None

  • Shawn Armstrong has been excellent as an opener and long reliever for the Rays since coming off the IL in early June. He has a 0.79 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 22.2 IPS in that span with a 23:4 K:BB ratio. One of my preseason favorites, Calvin Faucher, is back on the roster, but his new slider hasn’t shown the same horizontal movement it did in Spring Training, so he’s no longer a very exciting option.
  • What an exciting MLB debut for Alex Speas as he was able to secure a hold and strike out three of the best hitters in one of the best lineups in the league. Speas battled severe control issues on his road through the minor league system to the point of being out of the league in 2022. He came back with much-improved command in Double-A this year but has very little experience above that level. It’s still a big question to me if his cutter is enough for him to consistently get outs at this level and that’s not even mentioning the possibility of control issues popping back up. For now, it’s a feel-good story in real life and not much of a story for fantasy.


MIA 4 – STL 6

HD: Andre Pallante (9), Ryan Tepera (4)

SV: Chris Stratton (1)

  • Not much going on for the Marlins bullpen today as they needed only two innings of work and got them from Huascar Brazoban and Bryan Hoeing neither of whom carry much relevance in fantasy circles.
  • With both Jordan Hicks and Giovanny Gallegos having worked two days in a row, the Cardinals opted to give Chris Stratton a shot instead of throwing out one of their top arms for the third consecutive day. It worked out, but only because the offense was able to tack on a couple of insurance runs, and both Stratton and newly acquired Ryan Tepera allowed runs. Tepera was released by the Angels earlier this year and signed on Monday by the Cardinals. It was his second appearance with the club and neither went particularly smoothly. I’d stay away until he shows he’s regained his form.


HOU 4 – COL 1

HD: Phil Maton (7)

SV: None

  • A late run from Colorado pushed this game into save/hold territory at the last minute, so there was only one hold awarded here. Houston went with their B-team setup crew before turning it over to Ryan Pressly in a non-save situation. Rafael Montero’s ERA for July looks better, but he’s still struggling to find the strike zone and miss bats often enough for me to believe he’s going to work his way back into a high-leverage role. He has five strikeouts to four walks and a HBP in July and needed 24 pitches to get through his inning on Wednesday.
  • Brent Suter returned from the IL and picked up where he left off with a scoreless inning and two punchouts. He’s been probably the best free agent acquisition for the Rockies this year and on another team, he’d be a clear trade candidate, but you never quite know what the Rockies have in mind.


BOS 5 – OAK 6

HD: Sam Long (4)

SV: Trevor May (8)

  • Kenley Jansen got a maintenance inning here as he had had four straight days off and a three-pitch outing before that. Systems all seemed fine for him.
  • A rare two-save series for the A’s as Trevor May delivered again for his eighth save of the year and second in two days. He’s an OK pitcher and opportunities are rare in Oakland, but you never know when a string of luck might come along and allow him to get four or five saves over a two-week stretch. May still has some fantasy value for that possibility, but isn’t a guy I’m betting on lighting it up down the stretch.


MIL 5 – PHI 3

HD: Elvis Peguero (14), Joel Payamps (19)

SV: Devin Williams (24)

  • It took a while for the saves to come around as Devin Williams was sitting with just nine saves on June 1st, but the performance was there and I was pretty confident the saves would come around eventually. They certainly have as this was his 15th save since June 1st, good for second in the league, and already his eighth in the month of July. Joel Payamps has been nearly unhittable this month with eight nearly perfect innings allowing just one hit and striking out 12 with a win and two saves to boot. They’ve been the most productive one-two bullpen punch in the league over the past few weeks.
  • Not much to say about what’s left of this Phillies’ bullpen except that it looks pretty messy. Craig Kimbrel has been pretty good recently, but everyone beyond him is either extremely volatile or extremely unproven. With José Alvarado back on the IL again, maybe Philadelphia is a buyer of arms at the deadline.


SDP 2 – TOR 0

HD: Steven Wilson (18), Nick Martinez (12)

SV: Josh Hader (23)

  • Josh Hader keeps his redemption tour rolling with another scoreless inning with two punchouts to bring his streak of innings without an earned run to 13.2 IPs. This is Hader’s highest walk rate of his career by a slight margin, but, other than that, he looks like he’s making a strong case for 2022 to be considered a strange fluke in his overall dominant career.
  • The Blue Jays keep changing Trevor Richards‘ role and he just keeps getting outs. He’s been a long-reliever, setup man, and spot starter this year and his excellent changeup leads him to success every time. I’d argue that he’s up there with Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson as far as relievers that have been most valuable to this team so far.


NYY 3  – LAA 7

HD: None

SV: None

  • With everyone now healthythis Yankees bullpen is arguably the deepest in the league given the emergence of Ian Hamilton and Tommy Kahnle looking like his old self. The team still holds the best bullpen ERA in baseball on the year and has upwards of five relievers who should garner consideration in SV+HD leagues.
  • The return of Matt Moore last week should do a lot to help extend this Angels bullpen in the long run and give some help to guys like Jacob Webb who have been doing their best to fill in the gaps with all the recent injuries. Moore was still working back into form, but I think this outing was a very good sign. He got whiffs on all three of his pitches and was generally staying out of the middle of the zone with his fastball. Despite allowing another homer, I think Moore will be a good setup man for the Angels the rest of the way.


SFG 2  – CIN 3

HD: Ian Gibaut (11), Lucas Sims (14)

SV: Alexis Díaz (27)

  • The Giants needed just two innings in relief here and got them both from Ryan Walker. He has decent numbers overall, but not a huge amount of upside given that his role with the team is unlikely to yield many holds.
  • If the Reds are going to make a playoff push, they’re going to need their bullpen to consistently hold leads like this one. Lucas Sims, after a stretch of injuries, seems like a solid eighth-inning guy and setup man to Alexis Díaz who continues to defy the odds with no home runs in 23 IPs in the GABP. I’ve been worried about homers with Díaz since the beginning of the year, but he’s made me eat those words so far and there’s no reason to think that will change now.


CWS 1 – NYM 5

HD: None

SV: None

  • We only saw four total pitchers in this game as each team used one reliever. Jesse Scholtens cleaned up for the White Sox after starter Touki Toussaint in what was a largely inconsequential pair of innings.
  • Adam Ottavino finished things out for the Mets in a non-save situation. Ottavino is still described as the “co-closer” on FanGraphs but has one save since June 1st. Despite his good performance, he’s clearly second in line to David Robertson.


ARZ 5 – ATL 3

HD: Kyle Nelson (7)

SV: Kevin Ginkel (2)

  • For the second straight day, the Diamondbacks passed over a rested Scott McGough for Kevin Ginkel who converted the save. Arizona has had a pretty quick hook for their closer role so far this year and this could be the beginning of another change or a full committee situation for a while. I can’t imagine a team like this trying to make a playoff push is going to be happy with where their bullpen is at even with Andrew Chafin set to return from the paternity list soon. For my money, this is one of the most likely landing spots for Scott Barlow. I don’t think he solves their problems, for what it’s worth, but it seems like the type of move they’d do.
  • Atlanta was playing from behind for the late innings and was coming off a rough game in which they used their top three arms in a loss, so they opted to let Collin McHugh get some bulk work in here. After losing both Nick Anderson and A.J. Minter from their bullpen over the past week, Atlanta is going to have to do some shuffling and load management like this until they can get everyone established in new roles.


WSN 3  – CHC 8

HD: Mark Leiter Jr. (14)

SV: None

  • A very rough game for Mason Thompson who allowed four runs in the bottom of the eighth to turn a 3-3 tie to a 7-3 deficit. With Hunter Harvey now on the IL, Washington is going to be counting on Thompson to take on a higher leverage role, but this isn’t a good sign. Fortunately for him, there aren’t many Nationals relievers breaking down the door to get into the eighth inning, so he likely still has a decent amount of rope.
  • Mark Leiter Jr. recorded a couple of outs in the top of the seventh and then gave way to Julian Merryweather who, despite allowing a couple runs, was picked up by his offense to secure his third win of the year. When Leiter came on, it was a 3-1 lead and the usage points to the plan being to set up Adbert Alzolay for the ninth. Alzolay hasn’t been perfect in the role, but he seems to be the clear top reliever for the Cubs right now.


DET 3 – KCR 2

HD: Jason Foley (16)

SV: Alex Lange (17)

  • While Jason Foley has largely been the more consistent pitcher on the year, the Tigers keep going back to using Alex Lange in the ninth and he seems to be finding his footing again at least a little bit after an extremely rough June. Lange still threw just seven of 14 pitches for strikes in this one, walked a batter, and hit a batter, so his control issues are far from over. I would be nervous to start Lange in fantasy circles right now.
  • Max Castillo took on three innings of bulk relief to save an otherwise fairly taxed bullpen. The Royals did use Carlos Hernández in a jam in the sixth inning to try to keep the game tied, but he allowed a go-ahead single. It was the fourth time in the past five days that Hernández was called upon. With Scott Barlow a potential trade piece, Hernández may find himself at the top of the bullpen by the end of the month, but the Royals aren’t likely to provide that many save opportunities down the stretch.


MIN 6 – SEA 3

HD: None

SV: Jhoan Duran (16)

  • If you follow baseball Twitter at all, you know that the baseball world was blowing up over this performance from Jhoan Duran who threw four pitches at 104.0 mph or greater. He topped out at 104.8, a pitch that was grounded to short by Eugenio Suárez. Despite his insane velocity, Duran has been slightly hittable recently with nine hits allowed in 7.1 IPs in July. He’s coming off a stretch of allowing an earned run in three straight outings, but he’s still converted seven of his past eight save chances.
  • Andrés Muñoz allowed the go-ahead run and took the loss on Wednesday falling to 2-3 on the year. His lengthy absence to start the year caused him to miss a chance at securing a share of saves for the Mariners, but, since his return, he’s been himself by and large. This is just one of those few days where he couldn’t place his fastball (3/8 in the zone) and batters didn’t chase his slider as a result (13% O-Swing).


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

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.

2 responses to “Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/20/23 Depth Chart”

  1. NJ Snider says:

    What does Kevin Ginkel have to do to make your reliever rankings for Arizona?

  2. Babbo B says:

    Wil Crowe was DFA’d yesterday.

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