Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 8/14/23 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


  • We saw our regular slate of 15 games on Sunday, but in a slightly unusual configuration. The Reds and Pirates played a double header while the Royals and Cardinals had a rare Sunday off. For Monday, we have nine games on the slate which means twelve teams are scheduled to be at rest. They are: TOR, BOS, MIN, CLE, DET, CHW, PHI, WSN, MIL, CHC, CIN, and LAD.


  • Garrett Whitlock was activated from the IL and figures to slot into the Red Sox bullpen for the time being. He’s been highly effective when used as a reliever over the past couple years, so he figures to retain some fantasy value despite not being a starter for now.
  • Mychal Givens ran out of time in his rehab for the Orioles and was DFA’d. He had been an effective reliever across 2020 to 2022, but struggled to return to form after some injuries this year. I wouldn’t be surprised for another team to try to pick him up and see if he returns to form for a discount.


Yesterday’s Performances

DET 3 – BOS 6

HD: Chris Martin (20)

SV: Kenley Jansen (27)

  • Alex Lange received a maintenance inning in the 8th on Sunday after not having worked since the previous Monday. The Tigers had three save opportunities this week and none of them went to Lange this week despite Jason Foley spending a few days on the bereavement list. Lange has been wild all year, but the lack of command has come to a head recently with nine walks allowed in his past 2.1 IPs before this outing. He only walked one in a scoreless inning here, but he’ll need to do that more consistently if he wants to get back to being the main 9th-inning option.
  • Kenley Jansen worked around a base hit to record his 27th save of the year pushing him to eighteen straight successful save conversions. Personally, I wondered if Jansen would be able to maintain his velocity bump throughout the second half, but he’s proving himself capable of keeping his cutter over 94 mph on average consistently. If he stays at that velocity and stays healthy, he should be able to close out the season strongly.


OAK 7 – WSN 8

HD: Adrián Martínez (1)

SV: None

  • Trevor May had allowed one run in his past 10.2 IPs coming into this game, but he allowed five on Sunday (three earned) to blow a five-run lead. He was removed from the game before the winning run scored, so he was able to avoid both a blown save and a loss. This team doesn’t allow many leads to reach May, so losing this one was especially painful for any desperate fantasy managers who had him on their clubs. The Nationals have been an especially tough team to close out lately, so that’s perhaps worth keeping in mind for pitchers facing them next week.
  • Joe La Sorsa continues to be a boom-or-bust reliever. Out of his seventeen appearances, he has thirteen scoreless ones and three in which he’s allowed four runs. He was on in this one striking out four over two scoreless frames and lucking himself into a win with his team’s miraculous comeback. Neither of these teams’ bullpens offer much in terms of fantasy intrigue.


CIN 2 – PIT 4 (GM1)

HD: Lucas Sims (20), Colin Holderman (18)

SV: David Bednar (24)

  • Alex Young was tagged for a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the 7th which ended up getting him the loss and the blown save. Young had been nearly untouchable through the end of July with a 2.18 ERA over 41.1 IPs through July 31, but the turn to August has been extremely rough on him as he’s allowed seven runs (five earned) over three outings in that stretch, and raised his ERA to 3.09. If the Reds are going to sneak into the playoffs, their bullpen will need to consistently hold late leads like this one.
  • The Pirates took advantage of the Reds’ mistake and shut down the final two frames with their solid 8-9 punch of Colin Holderman and David Bednar. Bednar was coming off a stretch of three straight outings allowing a run and had blown two of his last three save opportunities, but he was able to get back on track with this one. I’m easily convinced to write off his last outing as Atlanta’s offense seems to have the ability to make any pitcher seem mediocre recently.


MIN 3 – PHI 0

HD: Griffin Jax (17), Caleb Thielbar (8), Emilio Pagán (5)

SV: Jhoan Duran (21)

  • The Twins are still searching for some consistency from their bullpen, but they found it on Sunday with three relievers earning holds including Caleb Thielbar who continues to look strong in his return from the IL, but he got some major help from the home plate umpire in this one. Jhoan Duran seems to be showing some signs of settling down after allowing a run in four straight outings from July 23rd to August 3rd. This was his third straight scoreless outing, although he still hasn’t delivered a clean 1-2-3 inning since July 15th, a streak of ten appearances.
  • The Phillies opted to use Seranthony Domínguez to close out the 7th and Craig Kimbrel to work the 8th despite the team’s three-run deficit. Both were coming off a couple days of rest and the team has a scheduled off day on Monday, so their usage wouldn’t have affected their availability for any other game. Kimbrel hasn’t had much high-leverage work recently with just one converted save so far this month. Philadelphia is still fighting for a playoff spot and winning games, so the save chances should come back soon.


CHC 4 – TOR 11

HD: None

SV: None

  • Pre-season breakout candidate Hayden Wesneski delivered a couple of scoreless innings of relief as he continues to try to rediscover the promise he showed at the end of last year. The move to the bullpen has been generally beneficial for Wesneski as his two scoreless innings on Sunday lowered his bullpen ERA to 2.61 in 20.2 IPs compared to a 5.51 ERA in 49 innings as a starter. It’s also delivered the expected bump in pitch velocity that comes with knowing you’re not going to have to go more than 60 pitches or so. But I don’t think it’s enough to get him another crack at the starting rotation for now given that Drew Smyly is likely the next guy up when they need another starter.
  • Toronto didn’t need much from their bullpen as their offense provided plenty of cushion. They decided to give Nate Pearson another go as he attempts to find an MLB-caliber level of command, but he was a bit wild in this one again throwing ten balls along with twelve strikes and walking a batter. Time is running out on Pearson to find a way to stick in the MLB in any role. In addition to the team win, Toronto got more good news when they learned they could expect Jordan Romano can be expected to return to the team and reclaim his closing role for their next matchup on Tuesday.


CLE 9 – TBR 2

HD: None

SV: None

  • Cleveland only needed a couple of low-leverage innings to close out this game and got them from a couple relievers who don’t carry much fantasy value for now.
  • The Rays used five relievers to trudge through six innings in which they never sniffed the lead. Despite their historically hot start, the Rays bullpen is having an uncharacteristically mediocre season with injuries forcing guys to continue to play out of position. The last 30 days have seen the team’s bullpen put up a 4.86 ERA, good for the bottom third of the league. Given Tampa Bay’s dwindling reserves of starting pitching, this is likely an issue that will become magnified in the playoffs, assuming they make it.


NYY 7 – MIA 8

HD: None

SV: None

  • In the day’s second straight 9th inning comeback of at least four runs ending in a score of 8-7, the Yankees’ Clay Holmes had his worst outing of the season allowing five runs (four earned) to earn his third loss of the campaign. His four earned runs here were matched by the amount of earned runs he allowed between May 3rd and August 11th. It was a classic situation of a pitcher having to field their position, making an error, then getting in their own head. I don’t see this as anything but an off night for now, albeit a particularly painful one.
  • Jorge López lucked into a win here, but I’m more interested in A.J. Puk who struck out all four of the batters he faced. Puk had a dreadful July which forced the Marlins to bring in David Robertson to replace him in the 9th, but his past five appearances have been reminiscent of the dominance he showed in April. Over his last five appearances, he’s logged 4.2 IPs with nine punchouts, no walks, and just two hits. Given Tanner Scotts history of wildness, Puk could easily find himself back in a prime role for holds before the end of the month.


LAA 2 – HOU 1

HD: José Soriano (12), Reynaldo López (12), Matt Moore (18)

SV: Carlos Estévez (25)

  • After a couple of huge blowups, Carlos Estévez delivered a clean, efficient inning with a pair of strikeouts on Sunday to secure his 25th save. His first week of August was so bad that fantasy managers may not be ready to forgive him yet, but his ROS projections haven’t changed that much from where they were two weeks ago. He, Matt Moore, and Reynaldo López create a pretty solid 7-8-9 with the ability to extend to the 6th if need be.
  • Five pitchers combined to work four innings of one-run ball for the Astros, but the offense wasn’t able to do enough to tie the game. Every time you think Rafael Montero has regained his form, he goes and throws 11 of 28 pitches for strikes and walks three of five batters he faces without being able to finish the inning. I don’t see how he makes their postseason roster at this pace.


CIN 6 – PIT 5 (F/10) (GM2)

HD: Cody Bolton (1), Thomas Hatch (1)

SV: Daniel Duarte (1)

  • After the bullpen cost them the game in the opener, it arguably won them the game in the nightcap as six pitchers combined to allow one earned run in 6.1 IPs to buy the offense enough time to tie the game and, eventually, take the lead. Alexis Díaz took his fourth win of the season while Daniel Duarte earned his first career save with a scoreless 10th inning. Duarte isn’t likely to see another ancillary save chance as he only got this one because pretty much everyone else had been used at some point in the day. Diaz did well here but has generally been looking more vulnerable after lighting the world on fire for the first two months. Through May 31st, he put up a 36.9 K-BB%, but since June 1st, that has dropped to 14.4% which has contributed to a 4.65 FIP in that time frame. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more regression from Diaz over the season’s final six weeks.
  • The Pirates used their top relievers in the first game of this doubleheader and their second string was unable to hold the lead. Thomas Hatch was charged with the tying earned runs, but Jose Hernandez was given the blown save for allowing the hit that allowed the second of those two runs. Osvaldo Bido was given the tough-luck loss as he only allowed the ghost runner to score in the top of the 10th, but that proved to be enough.


MIL 7 – CWS 3

HD: Abner Uribe (3)

SV: None

  • Abner Uribe’s breakout this year is the latest from a Brewers organization that has had a lot of success developing big relievers over the past few years to the point that they’ve felt comfortable shipping some of them off to fill other roles on the team (e.g. the Willy Adames trade). Uribe, who earned his first save earlier this week, has quickly climbed up the leverage ladder with his excellent performance and seems to have the stuff to be a closer in this league one day. There’s no path to him supplanting Devin Williams right now, but I imagine he’s knocking on the door of closing for some team by 2025.
  • Like for several White Sox, 2023 has just been a lost year for Aaron Bummer who allowed three more runs on Sunday raising his season ERA to 6.70 and allowing the Brewers to run away with the game. Despite that gaudy number, the three-run shot Bummer allowed was his first all year and his peripheral numbers all still look OK (K-BB 16%, FIP 2.87, etc.). There’s reason to hope for a bounce back next year as the core skills still appear to be there, but I still wouldn’t bet on a strong finish to the season.


TEX 2 – SFG 3 (F/10)

HD: None

SV: None

  • Will Smith suffered his third blown save of the season allowing a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning. When the Rangers brought in Aroldis Chapman, it was initially thought he’d split closing duties with Smith, but Smith has held on to a full share of the 9th inning the past couple weeks. That may be changing soon as the Rangers start to gear up for the playoffs. In August, Chapman, who struck out the side again on Sunday, has logged six innings allowing six hits, no runs, two walks, and recording fifteen punchouts. 22 of the last 27 outs he’s recorded have been on strikes. Smith, on the other hand, has recorded 5.2 IPs and allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks and piling up just five strikeouts. Smith had been five for five in save opportunities in August, so Sunday was the first time this performance cost the Rangers a game, but that may be all it takes given how dominant Chapman has been recently and how the Rangers, now just 2.5 games ahead of the Astros for the division, still need to fight for every game.
  • Camilo Doval was tagged with an unforgiving blown save as an infield hit allowed the tying run to score from second in the 9th inning. He was able to limit the Rangers to one run in the top of the 10th and that proved to be enough to earn him the win as the Giants walked it off in the bottom of the frame. Doval wasn’t at his sharpest here, but he still delivered plenty as he has all season for fantasy managers. He has a good shot at recording his first career 40 save season.


COL 3 – LAD 8

HD: None

SV: None

  • Tyler Kinley had a setback in his quest to return to dominance as he allowed three runs on three hits and one walk while recording just two outs. This type of volatility is normal and expected after a major injury and coming back in the middle of the season. His velocity is even better than last season, so there’s hope he can return to form and be a valuable reliever soon. Daniel Bard walked two but still escaped with a scoreless performance. His decent ERA hides the fact that he’s nowhere near the pitcher he was in 2022 right now and is a blowup waiting to happen.
  • The Dodgers just needed two low-leverage innings after a dominant start from Julio Urías and one of them went to Victor González who recently returned from AAA. The Dodgers as a bullpen have completely turned things around recently after a rough first half and Gonzalez is another guy who could return to being a valuable piece of the bullpen after a rough start.


SDP 4 – ARZ 5

HD: None

SV: Paul Sewald (23)

  • The Padres continued to struggle to generate chances for Josh Hader this week as Nick Martinez allowed a pair of runs to get the blown save in this one while Robert Suarez allowed the finishing blow in the bottom of the 8th to earn the loss. Hader has just one appearance since August 1st and two saves since July 21st, a pace which if kept up across a full season of play would get him sixteen saves for the whole season. Statistically, the save opportunities will come back soon, but right now, the Padres need to worry about keeping Hader fresh with at least one maintenance inning soon.
  • It wasn’t the cleanest save, but Paul Sewald earned his second save for the Diamondbacks working around a two-out walk and some deep counts. The home ballpark is much less friendly at Chase Field, so ERA expectations for Sewald should be tempered as he adjusts to his new home. Projection systems are generally in the high-3s with around a 3.8-3.9 being the middle ground and that seems about right to me. He’ll be a decent reliever down the stretch, but don’t be surprised if we see another blowup or two that make his overall ERA and WHIP numbers somewhat unattractive.


BAL 5 – SEA 3 (F/10)

HD: None

SV: Shintaro Fujinami (1)

  • After throwing 28 pitches on Saturday and 23 on Thursday, the Orioles opted to not use Félix Bautista at the end of the game on Sunday. They instead tried Mike Baumann to protect a one-run lead in the bottom of the 9th, which he was unable to do and lucky to escape with a tie game thanks to the heroics of Cedric Mullins, and, when the team secured another lead in the 10th, they sent out Shintaro Fujinami who was able to shut down the Mariners and earn his first career save. I wouldn’t expect Fujinami to continue to get ancillary save chances, but this is a result of the strides he’s made to be an effective reliever since July 1st. He has nasty, closer-like stuff at times and could rise to that level with more consistent command.
  • Andres Muñoz allowed a run for the third time in his past four appearances and was saved from his second loss in as many days when the offense tied the game in the bottom of the 9th. It’s just a little mini-slump for Munoz who now has a clear hold on the 9th inning with Paul Sewald out of the picture. All the numbers point to a highly capable closer who will get plenty of opportunities even if it’s been a bit rocky lately.


ATL 6 – NYM 7

HD: Brooks Raley (20), Drew Smith (10)

SV: Adam Ottavino (7)

  • Collin McHugh took some bulk relief here recording seven outs to save another arm or two and keep the bullpen fresher. We also saw Kirby Yates for a scoreless inning here whose comeback has been quite remarkable. After missing throwing just over eleven innings across the three seasons from 2020 to 2022, Yates has again become a valuable reliever on a winning team at 36 and has possibly done enough for Atlanta to pick up his 2024 team option.
  • The Mets avoided the sweep and Adam Ottavino secured his seventh save of the year on just eight pitches which was his first save since July 1st. The general consensus was that Ottavino would start getting the vast majority of 9th-inning opportunities with the departure of David Robertson, but that hasn’t quite happened yet. He seems to be, at best, the head of a committee and, at worst, a part of a completely fluid bullpen. The team hasn’t been providing many high-leverage opportunities recently for us to get tons of data on who is playing what role in this new iteration of the bullpen.


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.

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