Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/31/23 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


  • Fifteen games were played on Sunday involving all 30 teams. There are ten more games on Monday meaning that ten have the day off. They are: MIN, DET, CHW, KCR, TEX, OAK, NYM, PIT, STL, and LAD.


  • Jordan Hicks was traded to the Blue Jays. While Jordan Romano is out, I’d expect Hicks to be the guy to get the 9th inning opportunities which relegates Yimi García back to 2nd or 3rd in line for holds.
  • Chris Stratton was traded from the Cardinals to the Rangers. If Stratton were still on the Cardinals, he might be in the conversation for saves for a couple weeks, but he’s buried on the depth chart in Texas. The Cardinals used Giovanny Gallegos for 7th and 8th on Sunday with JoJo Romero getting the save. I smell a committee with Gallegos as the main fireman. Ryan Helsley is eligible to return August 12th, though.
  • Calvin Faucher was replaced on the Rays roster by Erasmo Ramírez.


Yesterday’s Performances


LAA 3 – TOR 2 (F/10)

H: None

SV: None

  • Carlos Estévez picked up the win working a clean 9th and allowing only the ghost runner to score in the 10th. In addition to being perfect in save opportunities, Estevez now has five wins on the season as he continues to be one of the best fantasy values of the year. The Angels have done a lot of buying this year, but it would be a major shock to see them bring in a closer that would supplant or share time with Estevez.
  • Yimi García was again used in a spot that would indicate he was the preferred 9th inning option while Jordan Romano is out, but he allowed a two-run homer to Hunter Renfroe which ended up being the winning runs that gave Garcia his fourth loss of the year. He was seemingly the guy for a couple days with Jordan Romano out, but the Blue Jays were clearly not happy with that as they brought in Jordan Hicks who almost certainly steps into the 9th inning to replace Garcia. Garcia likely returns to irrelevance in save-only leagues while Hicks gains a little bit of value going to a better team environment.


PHI 4  – PIT 6 (F/10)

HD: Gregory Soto (16)

SV: None

  • After five hitless innings from starter Cristopher Sánchez, the Phillies’ bullpen did not hold up their end of the deal, allowing six runs (four earned) over their four-plus innings of work and taking two blown saves and a loss as a group. Even  Craig Kimbrel, who had a good inning on paper, looked wild at times and allowed the first two batters of the 9th to reach via a hit and HBP. Burning their top relievers in a loss may come back to bite them as their next scheduled off day is August 14th.
  • David Bednar worked another stellar inning to help get the game into extras and lower his ERA to 1.27. He now has the second-most fWAR among qualified relievers in the league behind only the record-breaking season from Félix Bautista.


MIL 6 – ATL 8

HD: None

SV: Raisel Iglesias (20)

  • Joel Payamps allowed his first home run since June 8th, a stretch of 20 IPs, at a very inopportune moment and took the loss when the Brewers offense was unable to respond in the 9th. The duo of Elvis Peguero and Payamps have been excellent for the past couple months, but even great relievers falter sometimes against really strong offenses who were on a roll like Atlanta.
  • Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in order for his 20th save of the season and has now converted eleven save chances in a row. He particularly enjoyed facing the Brewers over his past few appearances as he faced the minimum across three innings pitched while striking out seven of the nine batters he faced. Iglesias seems poised for a really strong second half, but he may be derailed by Atlanta’s increasing lead in the NL East that may allow them to provide some extra rest for key players down the stretch.


WSN 2 – NYM 5

HD: Adam Ottavino (12)

SV: Brooks Raley (3)

  • Three Nationals relievers combined for four scoreless innings, but the game was already lost. Outside of Kyle Finnegan and potentially Jordan Weems, there isn’t much in terms of fantasy value here.
  • Brooks Raley has now gotten the first two save opportunities for the Mets after the departure of David Robertson. Raley delivered the save striking out three while working around a walk. Adam Ottavino got the final two outs of the 8th inning and earned a hold. Raley’s career numbers against righties aren’t great, so one would think that he would only be a matchup-based closer and, sure enough, he was slated to face two lefties here before Luis Garcia was lifted for a pinch hitter. Even though it seems like Ottavino has been passed over again, I think he’ll eventually pull pretty close to 50/50 in terms of save chances with Raley.


DET 6 – MIA 8

HD: Tanner Scott (21)

SV: David Robertson (15)

  • Tyler Holton allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the 7th and took the blown save, his first, and loss, his second. Holton had previously been nearly untouchable since the beginning of June putting up a 0.72 ERA across 25 IPs since June 1st. This performance won’t affect his status as one of the first two in line for holds in the Tigers’ pen.
  • The new look Marlins bullpen paid dividends on Sunday as Jorge López picked up the win and David Robertson picked up the save. A.J. Puk continued to struggle allowing two runs in the 7th to take his fourth blown save in his past five chances. With the success of Tanner Scott and Steven Okert as lefties out of the pen and the arrival of two new righties, Puk may quickly find himself on the outside looking in on the holds conversation with his recent performance.


TBR 8 – HOU 2

HD: Erasmo Ramírez (2)

SV: None

  • The Rays offense gave the pitching staff quite a bit of cushion from the early going here, so Erasmo Ramírez, fresh up from AAA, took three of the four innings in relief while Jason Adam got a maintenance inning after four days off.
  • Kendall Graveman officially made his return to Houston on Sunday with his first appearance since getting traded to Houston for the second time in his career. He was a bit sloppy, tossing just five of eleven pitches for strikes and working around a base hit and a walk, but managed to escape with no runs allowed. Graveman figures to be more of an ancillary holds option in Houston given the dominance of Bryan Abreu and Hector Neris so far.


MIN 1 – KCR 2

HD: Dylan Coleman (3)

SV: Carlos Hernández (1)

  • Dylan FloroEmilio Pagán, and Griffin Jax all delivered scoreless innings to give the Twins more chances to tie the game up, but the offense was never able to come through. These are the guys who I expect to be the main contenders for holds along with the recently reinstated Caleb Thielbar.
  • The Royals only needed two innings of relief on Sunday and they couldn’t have provided much more given the workload the back of the bullpen had to take on across Friday and Saturday. Both Scott Barlow and Carlos Hernández had worked the previous two games of the series, but the team opted to send Hernandez out there for a third straight day to earn his first career save. While Barlow has a longer track record in the 9th, Hernandez has been the more dynamic arm this year, especially over the past month in which he’s put up a 1.35 ERA with fifteen punchouts in 13.1 IPs. Barlow may have tanked his trade value with his performance this July, but there’s a chance that the Royals put Hernandez in the 9th anyway given his three years of remaining team control to Barlow’s one and recent performance.


CLE 5 – CHW 0

HD: None

SV: None

  • Both Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase hadn’t worked in the series yet, so the Guardians opted to use them despite the five-run cushion in the 8th and 9th. Both delivered clean, quick innings and should be available if needed again on Monday.
  • All three of the relievers the White Sox used were in AAA on Wednesday as they engage in full rebuilding mode to see if they have any pieces they’d like to keep around for next year. None of them look particularly exciting to me so far, and I’ll likely be avoiding this bullpen down the stretch.


CHC 0 – STL 3

HD: Giovanny Gallegos (15)

SV: JoJo Romero (1)

  • The Cubs only needed one low-leverage inning from Michael Fulmer to get through this game. After a brief time where we thought he might get a share of the 9th, the emergence of Adbert Alzolay and Mark Leiter Jr. has forced Fulmer into more of an ancillary holds role that isn’t extremely valuable even in deeper SVHD leagues.
  • Both Jordan Hicks and Chris Stratton were traded away from the Cardinals bullpen today, leaving them with a bit of a skeleton crew. Giovanny Gallegos got a two-inning hold and paved the way for JoJo Romero’s first career save. Most of the money and bids will likely be on Gallegos to take over the 9th, but the Cardinals may prefer to keep him in his more familiar fireman role. Ryan Helsley is also making progress in his recovery and is eligible to return on August 12th, so, even if Romero is the 9th inning guy, it may only last for a couple weeks.


OAK 0 – COL 2

HD: Matt Koch (1), Brent Suter (4), Daniel Bard (5)

SV: Justin Lawrence (8)

  • Angel Felipe continues to eat up innings despite throwing eight of 20 pitches for strikes in this one. Even increasingly strong performance isn’t likely to lead to much value in SVHD leagues due to the team context.
  • It seems as if the Rockies are actually willing to sell this year, so we will see if there are any buyers for Brent Suter and Justin Lawrence who are both having solid seasons. Lawrence does have at least four years of team control left, so he’s unlikely to move while Suter is in a contract year and really should be moved if the Rockies can get any kind of value out of him.


BOS 3 – SFG 4 ( F/11)

HD: Taylor Rogers (6)

SV: None

  • Bullpen games all around here as six Boston relievers combined to work nine innings and give up three runs (one earned). Nick Pivetta didn’t end up getting bulk innings as one reporter expected and now he’s expected to start on Monday. John Schreiber continues to work in a variety of roles and get outs in all of them. The changing roles means he’s not always going to be used in holds situations which limits his value in the vast majority of leagues.
  • The Giants’ bullpen game saw Ross Stripling be used as a bulk reliever along with four other arms to get through the 9.1 IPs that the team asked of their bullpen. Tristan Beck, freshly called up from AAA, continued his excellent rookie year, striking out three across two scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season. He has only seen four appearances in July, but he’s allowed just one run in 9.1 IPs.


CIN 9 – LAD 0

HD: None

SV: None

  • The Reds needed three innings of low-leverage relief and got them from Derek Law and Daniel Duarte. Their top relievers will be entering their matchup on Monday with two days of rest and fully available.
  • This game ended with an inning of relief from Miguel Rojas to give you an idea of how important these relief innings were. The team has a scheduled off day on Monday, so their top arms will all be rested and available for Tuesday.


SEA 4 – ARZ 0

HD: Justin Topa (16), Matt Brash (14)

SV: None

  • The fifth and final shutout of the day was capped off by three scoreless innings from the Mariners that included five punchouts. The use of Justin Topa in the 7th tells me that Andrés Muñoz is still the 8th inning/ancillary saves guy despite his recent struggles.
  • Tyler Gilbert put up an impressive performance striking out five and generating nine swinging strikes across two scoreless innings on Sunday. Gilbert, prior to this year, had struggled to get his K-rate above 15% either in AAA or his brief stints in the majors, so seeing him put up a 27% rate in AAA this year made him worth another look. This is the first time the new swing-and-miss stuff has really translated to the MLB, though. If he can miss bats like he did today, he could prove to be a valuable swingman for the D’backs down the stretch.


TEX 3 – SDP 5

HD: Nick Martinez (14), Steven Wilson (20), Robert Suarez (3)

SV: Josh Hader (25)

  • Will Smith got some maintenance work in the bottom of the 8th after nearly a week off. José Leclerc took the loss, his second of the year as a rough cap to what has been a resurgent July for him. He’s struck out twelve and walked just two on the month in 10.2 IPs as he fights to hold on to holds opportunities with the recent return of Josh Sborz.
  • Josh Hader needed 31 pitches to work through the 9th on Sunday and issued a pair of walks along with a hit, but still managed to hang on to the lead and secure the save. He was a bit shaky in this one, but extended his streak of innings without an earned run to 17.2 IPs. Hader’s ERA of 0.90 is now tied for tops among qualified relievers with Félix Bautista.


NYY 3 – BAL 9

HD: None

SV: None

  • Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu combined to work 4.2 scoreless innings to keep the rest of the bullpen fresh. The Yankees are right back out there on Monday and will have nearly their full complement of high-leverage guys available.
  • The Orioles bullpen recorded ten of the final twelve outs via the strikeout including four from Shintaro Fujinami who continued his excellent July. It was one of the more under-the-radar moves of the trade deadline, but adding Fujinami to this already strong bullpen could be a great move that keeps their high leverage guys fresh for the playoffs.


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


(Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

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.

3 responses to “Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 7/31/23 Depth Chart”

  1. Mike says:

    You sure Scott McGough is still the “primary closer” ?

  2. Jim says:

    Almost asked this last week. Ginkel looks more like the primary closer.

  3. Benjamin Haller says:

    Looks like Sewald is now, haha!

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