Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/3/23 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 15 games were played on Sunday and it’s a somewhat busy Monday in advance of July 4th with 20 out of 30 teams in action. Teams with the day off are: TBR, TOR, BOS, DET, CWS, OAK, PHI, NYM, ARZ, and COL.


  • The Cardinals placed Drew VerHagen on the IL and replaced him on the roster with JoJo Romero. Expect Chris Stratton to step into the few holds opportunities VerHagen may have gotten.
  • George Soriano was optioned to AAA by the Marlins and replaced on the roster by Jeff Lindgren. Lindgren figures to be a low-leverage bulk reliever.
  • The Rockies optioned Peter Lambert to AAA and selected the contract of Fernando Abad. These are low-leverage Rockies relievers, so not really relevant in any fantasy context.
  • The Reds optioned Eduardo Salazar and activated Derek Law from the IL. Law figures to step into middle relief, but won’t be in line for many holds.


Yesterday’s Performances


MIN 1 – BAL 2

H: Griffin Jax (12)

S: Félix Bautista (22)

  • The recent injury to Brock Stewart has left the back of this bullpen a bit thin, so the Twins called on Griffin Jax in the 7th and attempted to have Jhoan Duran go two innings despite throwing an inning on Saturday. His velocity was there, but a couple weakly hit balls fell for hits and he lost control at the end to allow the tying and go-ahead runs to score which eventually saddled him with his third blown save and third loss. I feel like Manager Rocco Baldelli is searching for their new 7-8-9 combination without Stewart and we may see him come back to this despite it not working out here. Duran has recorded several six out saves so far this year and they’re clearly becoming less and less concerned about his workload given the willingness to see if he could go two after throwing an inning on Saturday. After throwing 34 pitches here, Duran will at least be off Monday and might be given Tuesday to recover as well.
  • Félix Bautista struck out the side in order to earn his 22nd save of the season and raise his K% to 51.3% which would be good for second best in MLB history if he were to hold it for the entire season. There’s not much to do as an analyst here besides sit back and enjoy it. His fastball is so overpowering that it’s capable of getting guys out all on its own, but he has been remarkably consistent with his splitter this year, too. We could be witnessing a historic season here.


MIA 3 – ATL 6

H: A.J. Minter (9), Ben Heller (2)

SV: Raisel Iglesias (14)

  • Andrew Nardi had been on an absolute tear coming into July putting up a 0.78 ERA and 32.2% K-BB rate across 23 IPs in May and June, but he started July off on a sour note allowing a couple of insurance runs to score in the bottom of the 8th. I still like Nardi long term as he has less of a history of command issues than teammate Tanner Scott. Scott has been much improved in that respect so far this year, but a regression there could push Nardi into the 8th inning where I think he’d have some success.
  • Raisel Iglesias locked down save number fourteen with a 1-2-3 9th inning to start July off on a positive note. Iglesias has yet to put up a truly dominant month, but he’s done well enough that there aren’t rumblings of the Braves making a move at the deadline to bring in a new closer. I think second half Iglesias will be slightly better than first half Iglesias as I still see a lot of the skills that made him a pretty consistent mid-2s ERA guy for the past six years or so, but projection systems are slotting him closer to the mid-to-low 3s rest of season and that seems more comfortable to me.


WSH 5 – PHI 4

H: Jose Ferrer (1), Mason Thompson (8), Kyle Finnegan (7)

S: Hunter Harvey (8)

  • There’s really no reason to keep the co-closer label on Finnegan now as his last save was May 27th and Harvey has recorded six saves since then including the last couple set up by Finnegan. As I wrote back in April, I don’t think there’s anyone on this team who will imminently supplant Harvey. He’s showing similar skills to his breakout campaign last year and the only thing left to prove is that he can do it across 65 IPs at the major league level, something he’s never done. It is worth noting that Finnegan has been solid since a disastrous April. He’s registered a 1.93 ERA in 23.1 IPs since the beginning of May.
  • Another day of usage with José Alvarado in the 8th and Craig Kimbrel in the 9th as this seems to be the configuration that the Phillies are most comfortable with right now. Kimbrel is on a roll and coming off a dominant June, but we’ve seen over the past few years how that dominance can come and go for him in the blink of an eye. Alvarado’s days as the closer in Philadelphia might not be over yet.


MIL 6 – PIT 3

H: Hoby Milner (9), Elvis Peguero (9)

S: Devin Williams (17)

  • Saves were scarce in April and May for Williams, but he still showed the skills of a dominant closer and we knew the Brewers would eventually give him opportunities. Over the past couple of weeks, they have and Williams has converted as he logged his seventh save since June 16th on Sunday which leads the majors over that time period. There remain a couple of questions regarding how long he’ll be able to keep going with this walk rate (14%) that is causing many of his indicators like FIP and SIERA to balloon into the mid-3s and whether setup men Joel Payamps and Elvis Peguero will be able to continue to keep up their career-best paces over the second half. However, these questions aren’t enough to consider trading Williams or moving on from him in really any format.
  • It continues to be a rough stretcch for pretty much everyone in the Pirates bullpen except for David Bednar. The good news is they did get Colin Holderman back from the IL this week and if they can combine that with either Dauri Moreta righting the ship or a continued breakout from Angel Perdomo, they may get their 7-8-9 progression figured out enough to help the rest of the bullpen find their roles and fall into a groove.


BOS 5 – TOR 4

H: Tim Mayza (10), Yimi García (9)

S: Joe Jacques (1)

  • Kenley Jansen threw 22 pitches on Saturday and was selected as Boston’s lone All-Star on Sunday, so I’m guessing that was enough for the team to want to give him a day off. I haven’t seen any announcement of an injury, so that’s the story we’re going with for now. The bullpen had a lot of unexpected work to do after starter Garrett Whitlock left after one inning with an elbow injury. Nick Pivetta picked up the slack and continues to dominate as a reliever with four innings of one-run ball and six strikeouts. As a reliever on the year, he now sports a 2.63 ERA with 31 Ks in 23 IPs. Chris Martin continues his excellent season and it’s arguable that he’s actually the best reliever in Boston and deserved the ASG nod. The save for Jacques seems to be one of complete circumstance for now and I wouldn’t expect to see another one very soon.
  • It’s not often that Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano allow runs in the same game, but here we are. Swanson gave up two in the top of the 7th and earned his first blown save of the season while Romano surrendered the go-ahead homer in the 9th and took his fourth loss. Romano still hasn’t allowed multiple runs in an outing since April 9th, but he’s had enough slightly shaky outings to keep his ERA and WHIP slightly elevated in comparison to last year. Swanson started out the year on a tear, but has seen his ERA jump by nearly a run over his past four appearances in which his given up five runs on seven hits. Look for the league leader in holds to break out of this slump soon.


SDP 3 – CIN 4

H: None

S: Alexis Díaz (23)

  • Tom Cosgrove pitched for the second straight day after being activated from the IL and this time in a tie game in the 8th inning. He allowed two runs and was eventually tagged with his first loss of the year. It was a pretty high leverage situation for a guy still looking for his first career hold and I think this is a strong indication that one is coming soon especially given the problems the Padres have been having providing a bridge to Josh Hader.
  • After a masterful start from Andrew AbbottLucas Sims was brought on to protect a 2-1 lead in the 8th, but gave up the tying homer and took his second blown save of the season. The offense bailed him out though, and he left with his second win with Alexis Díaz pitching a dirty inning for his 23rd save. Diaz sat with a 44% K-rate on June 22nd, but has struck out just three of his past 26 batters faced (11.5%). Diaz relies a lot on strikeouts to cover up his 14% walk rate and take the bite off his career 49% fly ball rate, so Diaz may be in line for a couple more unclean outings if he can’t find the strikeouts again soon.


LAD 1 – KCR 9

H: None

S: None

  • Yonny Hernández pitched the cleanest inning of any Dodgers reliever on Sunday despite the fact that he typically plays third base. It’s been par for the course this year, but a complete departure from the Dodgers bullpens we’ve come to know over the last year as they’ve let another game get away from them in the middle innings. I feel like there have to be a couple of moves coming at the deadline here.
  • The Royals only needed a couple innings of relief and they were way up, but Amir Garrett impressed again in his second outing after returning from the IL. With Aroldis Chapman already gone and Scott Barlow likely on his way out, too, this bullpen is going to have opportunities for guys to step up into high leverage situations and Garrett is certainly one who is likely to get a look. Given the state of the Royals as a team, though, I wouldn’t expect there to be too many opportunities to go around.


NYY 1 – STL 5

H: Giovanny Gallegos (10)

S: None

  • The Yankees only used one reliever here after a game on Saturday in which they used eight. The need to give the entire bullpen a rest may have cost them the game as Jimmy Cordero gave up three insurance runs and effectively put the game out of reach.
  • After a string of six straight appearances without issuing a walk, Jordan Hicks finally gave one on Sunday, but he was able to work around it and finish out the game. He’s dropped his walk rate 2.5% since June 13th, although it still sits at a questionable 14.2%. This newfound control would be a gamechanger for Hicks who always the power to generate awkward contact even if it hasn’t yet turned into swing-and-miss stuff. An improved ability to locate his sinker may not lead to more strikeouts, but could bring him back to the days of 60+% ground ball rates that he had before his 2019 TJS. For now, he’s a decent closer, but still carries with him some blowup risk until he proves this improved command is here to stay.


HOU 5 – TEX 3

H: Bryan Abreu (14)

S: Ryan Pressly (17)

  • With Framber Valdez being scratched from his start, it was no surprise to see all of Houston’s top bullpen arms back out there to protect this lead as Phil MatonHector NerisBryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressly all worked an inning here to secure this win. Abreu has the most dynamic strikeout stuff out of the bunch, but he allowed multiple runs for the second time in his past five appearances which raised his ERA to 3.00 for the first time since April 3rd. Neris and Maton have arguably been even more effective and, in the playoffs, this foursome could make games five inning affairs with how dominant they’ve been as a group in the first half.
  • The first appearance for Aroldis Chapman in a Rangers uniform was pretty much as advertised as he struck out two in a scoreless 7th. Around him, though, other high-leverage Texas arms, Grant AndersonJosh Sborz, and Brock Burke all gave up runs to spoil an excellent start from Andrew Heaney. Both Sborz and Chapman represent considerably more dynamic arms than current closer Will Smith with much more strikeout upside, but Smith’s veteran presence and decent performance thus far may allow him to hold on to the closer’s role through the trade deadline.


DET 14 – COL 9

H: Chasen Shreve (10)

S: None

  • I was shocked this game got close enough for a moment for a pitcher to record a hold. This was a typical Coors barnburner from the beginning and both teams ended up hanging crooked numbers on the scoreboard four times each. Sometimes, in a game this high scoring, managers treat five-run leads like save situations and bring in their closer, so in a different context, the choice to bring on Jason Foley in the 9th, given Alex Lange’s recent struggles, could have meant something, but Lange threw 31 pitches on Saturday rendering the usage today pretty meaningless.
  • There’s not much to say here except I’m sorry if you have to follow the Rockies bullpen this closely that you’re reading my analysis of it.


ARZ 2 – LAA 5

H: José Soriano (7), Jacob Webb (6)

S: Carlos Estévez (21)

  • The Diamondbacks only needed one inning from Kyle Nelson in relief here after getting seven from starter Zac Gallen. Nelson remains probably third in line for holds in Arizona making him only a minimally attractive option in the deepest of leagues.
  • After a string of injuries to Angels 8th inning options like Matt MooreJosé Quijada, and Ben Joyce, there was a time when there were some major questions about who was going to be the bridge to Carlos Estévez, but José Soriano and Jacob Webb have stepped up to the plate beautifully. Both put together strong Junes and seem to be key members of the high-leverage part of this bullpen now. Estevez could easily have been selected an All-Star, but it seems that he was a casualty of the rule dictating that all teams have a representative.


CWS 8 – OAK 7

H: None

S: Gregory Santos (1)

  • The White Sox bullpen continues to be a mess. After blowing the save on Saturday, the bullpen gave up four runs across the 8th and 9th to let the A’s get back into this one. Gregory Santos was working the 9th given that many of the other top options had either already been used in the game or were unavailable due to heavy workload. Keynan Middleton seems to be the most consistent arm in this pen right now, but it’s too messy and has too little upside for me to want to chase any of it.
  • Oakland’s bullpen ERA was only 7th worst in the Majors in June, but still ranks dead last on the year as they struggle to find guys who can consistently get outs.


TBR 6 – SEA 7

H: Matt Brash (7)

S: Paul Sewald (16)

  • Jason Adam issued two walks and hit two batters to force the go-ahead run home without allowing a hit. He took his second loss of the season as a result. Adam has been pretty consistent this season and had only allowed one walk in his previous six innings, so this doesn’t look like a trend to monitor for now.
  • Andrés Muñoz bounced back from one of the worst outings of his young career on Friday with a clean inning on Sunday which earned him his first win of the year. Matt Brash continued his hot streak and lowered his ERA to 2.08 since the start of June. In a year where we expected Munoz to split closing duties with Paul Sewald, Munoz’s early injury seems to have derailed his path to the 9th inning and, given Sewald’s success in the role, I don’t think the Mariners would make any changes right now unless they were injury related.


CLE 8 – CHC 6

H: None

S: None

  • Four earned runs for Emmanuel Clase in the 9th inning push his season ERA to 3.40 and WHIP to 1.21. After a middling first couple months of the year, it really seemed like he had turned a corner in June with a 0.77 ERA and, more importantly, sixteen Ks in 11.2 IPs, but his past two appearances have to be leaving some fantasy managers wondering. Here, it seemed to me that the batted balls just couldn’t find Guardians gloves. Clase had his velocity and his strike zone plot doesn’t look too bad in terms of command. The xBA on the four hits he gave up were .100, .110, .230, and .750 and even the .750 was only hit at 77 mph off the bat. The defense certainly didn’t help him out either as especially the Nico Hoerner hit could easily have been ruled an error. Catcher Cam Gallagher was also having trouble catching the ball and had three passed balls in the game including two in the 9th, so that could either have been affecting Clase’s decision-making or was a sign of Clase’s pitches potentially not moving as expected. In any case, I don’t think there’s one major conclusion to draw here and we could very easily see him go on a nice run like he had in June from here.
  • Adbert Alzolay was brought on in the top of the 10th to try to vanquish the ghost runner, but ended up allowing two to score and was handed his fourth loss of the season. This is a situation, top of the 9th or later in a tie game, when you typically go to your closer and Alzolay was brought on here instead of Mark Leiter Jr., so I think it’s another sign that Alzolay is the current favorite to get a save chance on any given night. He wasn’t able to convert it here, but the earned run he allowed was his first run of any kind allowed since May 21st, a stretch of 10.1 IPs, so he earned a little bit of slack.


SFG 4 – NYM 8

H: Dominic Leone (1), Brooks Raley (16), Adam Ottavino (9)

  • Alex Wood piggybacked off Ross Striplingbut Tristan Beck was also forced to work some bulk innings after Wood got knocked around in the 3rd and 4th. Even the ever-consistent Tyler Rogers gave up a run here, so it just wasn’t the Giants’ night.
  • The Mets offense gave plenty of run support here and eventually put the game out of save range for David Robertson who put together a fine performance anyway with a pair of punchouts in a clean inning. Raley is by far the best lefty in that pen and that should continue to get him a primary share of holds even in situations where Adam Ottavino doesn’t get one. For that reason, I’d take Raley over Ottavino in SVHD leagues going forward this year. The back of this bullpen saw heavy usage this weekend, so they’ll make full use of their day off on Monday.


Bullpen Depth Charts

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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.

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