Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 8/20/23 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


  • SDP, ARI, MIA, LAD, TBR, and LAA all participated in doubleheaders as there was a packed slate of 18 games on Saturday as southern California prepares for Hurricane Hilary. That means there will be only 12 games on Sunday as all of those teams take the day off.



Yesterday’s Performances

MIA 1 – LAD 3 (Game 1)

H: Andrew Nardi (10)

SV: Evan Phillips (19)

  • The Marlins turned to David Robertson for a two-inning save, but he immediately blew it, surrendering three runs in the eighth and was tagged with his fourth loss and fifth blown save. Donning a new jersey since the deadline, Robertson has struggled with his new ballclub. He’s pitched to a 7.88 ERA (8 IP) while recording just three saves in eight appearances. He’ll need to turn things around soon or risk losing the closer job as the Marlins fight for a playoff spot in September. Tanner Scott and A.J. Puk are the likeliest options to take over if that ends up being the case.
  • Evan Phillips took advantage of Robertson’s blowup to secure his 19th save in the first half of the doubleheader. More notably, Ryan Yarbrough pitched two perfect innings across the seventh and eighth to give the Dodgers’ offense the opportunity to come back. The Dodgers have once again worked their magic on a pitcher, transforming Yarbrough from a 4.24 ERA (51 IP) pitcher with a 9.4% K-BB% into an elite bulk reliever. Since landing in Hollywood, Yarbrough owns a 1.46 ERA (12.1 IP) and has struck out 10 batters while walking none (24.4% K-BB%). If you’re in a league where multi-inning relievers are valuable, Yarbrough is an under-the-radar option that has discovered a new level.


TBR 6 – LAA 7 (Game 1)

H: Matt Moore (19)

SV: Reynaldo López (6)

  • Jake Diekman tossed two scoreless innings for the Rays in the loss. It’s widely understood that the Rays are bullpen whisperers, but that doesn’t make the magic they’ve worked on Diekman any less impressive. He pitched to a 7.94 ERA (11.1 IP) with 11 strikeouts to 13 walks on the South Side of Chicago. However, with Tampa Bay, he owns a 3.23 ERA with 35 strikeouts to just 19 walks. He has just five holds with the Rays so he hasn’t really been fantasy-relevant, but you can always expect the Rays to turn a misfit reliever into an effective arm.
  • With Carlos Estévez resting after a heavy workload on Friday, Reynaldo López got the call in the ninth in the first half of the doubleheader versus the Rays. He struck out two on his way to his sixth save after Matt Moore set López up with his 19th hold. Estévez has struggled mightily with a 7.80 ERA (15 IP) since the All-Star break. López may have only pitched in the ninth because of much-needed rest for Estévez, but this may be the start of more saves for López going forward as the Angels work to build back Estévez’s confidence.


TOR 4 – CIN 3

H: Trevor Richards (9), Tim Mayza (20), Jordan Hicks (8)

SV: Jordan Romano (30)

  • Jordan Romano reached the 30-save threshold for the second consecutive year with his scoreless outing on Saturday. He took over the closer role part way through 2021 and has since been one of the best closers in baseball. Since the start of 2021, only three relievers have recorded more than Romano’s 89 saves. Those three pitchers are Josh Hader (97), Emmanuel Clase (99), and Kenley Jansen (107), so Romano is in pretty good company.
  • Derek Law recorded all three of his outs via the strikeout in a clean ninth. When he first came up with the Giants in 2016, it looked like he had a bright future ahead of him. He pitched to a 2.13 ERA (55 IP) with a 19.2% K-BB%. In the years between then and now, Law has been an afterthought. From 2017 to 2022, he recorded a 4.99 ERA (146 IP) with a 9.9% K-BB%. At 32 years old, Law is having a renaissance campaign in 2023 with a 2.70 ERA (40 IP). However, it comes with just a 7.1% K-BB% and a 4.84 xFIP so it may be too good to be true.


DET 4 – CLE 3

H: Will Vest (7), Alex Lange (5), Andrew Vasquez (2)

SV: Jason Foley (7)

  • It looks as if Jason Foley has officially taken over the closer role in Detroit. He’s gotten the team’s past three saves and pitched the ninth in favor of former closer Alex Lange on Saturday. He won’t be an elite closer given the lack of opportunities provided by the Tigers and his underwhelming 22.3% K%, but he’s still a decent option as a clear-cut closer with great control (5.9% BB%) and one of the best ground ball rates (55.4%) in baseball. He’s a must-roster in leagues with 12 teams or deeper. Foley has pitched on consecutive days and in three of the past four, so Lange may temporarily get his job back on Sunday.
  • James Karinchak finally returned to the Majors on Friday after a surprise demotion to the minors back in June. He struggled during his time at Triple-A with a 5.12 ERA (19.1 IP) but it came with a 3.60 xFIP and a 42% strikeout rate. Karinchak has been one of the league’s best holds options since his first full season in 2021 because of his insane strikeout rates. He’s struck out 36.9% of the batters he’s faced in his career. As long as he keeps the walks down, he should quickly climb the pecking order in Cleveland and once again be a pitcher who should be rostered in the majority of holds leagues.


BAL 7 – OAK 2

  • Félix Bautista pitched the top of the ninth in a tie game and walked away with his eighth win after his offense took the lead in the top of the 10th. Jacob Webb was the one to finish off the victory in the 10th, and since being acquired from the Angels after the trade deadline, he’s been lights out. He’s been unscored upon in seven innings of work while punching out 41.7% of the batters he’s faced. That is elite production and the Orioles are starting to get the reputation of being a team you can trust to manufacture relief pitching talent.
  • Trevor May pitched the bottom of the ninth in a tie game but wasn’t as fortunate as Bautista. He was unscored upon but his team lost the game in extras. Kirby Snead had another successful outing, tossing a scoreless eighth. He missed most of the year on the IL and in the minors, but since being recalled at the outset of August, he’s been pretty trustworthy. His 17.9% K% is lackluster, but it comes with a 2.84 ERA (6.1 IP) and a highly impressive 61.9% ground ball rate that’ll play regardless of strikeout rate. He won’t have many opportunities to hold leads, but he’s already got two holds and could be an option in super deep leagues.


Best of the Rest


  • Adbert Alzolay recorded his 17th save with a clean ninth against the Royals. Michael Fulmer (11th hold) and Mark Leiter Jr. (22nd hold) set Alzolay up for the save.
  • With Evan Phillips having pitched the first half of the doubleheader, the Dodgers turned to Brusdar Graterol for the save in the nightcap. He got the job done to notch his sixth save after Ryan Brasier set up with his fifth hold in the eighth.
  • Paul Sewald got save number 26 after pitching around two walks in the ninth to secure a win against the Padres in the matinee of the doubleheader. Kevin Ginkel and Kyle Nelson pitched before him, collecting their fourth and ninth holds respectively in the process.
  • David Bednar got the final four outs of the game, working around a run, to record his 26th save. Colin Holderman (20th hold), and Thomas Hatch (2nd hold) successfully set up Bednar for the ninth.
  • Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth while fanning two to notch his 24th save. He’s now pitched on consecutive days and in three of the past four, but A.J. Minter has also gone on back-to-back days, so Kirby Yates and Joe Jiménez will be the top options to take over if a save arises on Sunday.


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)

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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