Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 8/21/23 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 had off Sunday due to Hurricane Hillary. Ten more games are scheduled for Monday which means ten teams are scheduled to be off. They are: BAL, TBR, TOR, NYY, MIN, CLE, WSN, MIL, LAD and COL.


  • Mason Thompson was activated from the IL by the Nationals and took Cory Abbott’s place on the roster. Thompson will likely get some 7th inning work in hold situations.
  • Dany Jiménez replaced Austin Pruitt on the Athletics’ roster on Sunday. Trevor May is firmly entrenched in the 9th for the few opportunities that come his way, so Jimenez is unlikely to have much of an impact in SVHD leagues.


Yesterday’s Performances

SEA 7 – HOU 6

HD: Trent Thornton (2), Isaiah Campbell (1), Justin Topa (20), Andrés Muñoz (13)

SV: Gabe Speier (1)

  • Some strange circumstances led to Andrés Muñoz receiving only one of the five saves the Mariners snagged this week, but also, this was certainly a choice to use him in the 8th today rather than the 9th. They also used Matt Brash, who recorded two saves this week, across the 4th and 5th innings, so Seattle seems to be leaning pretty strongly into a committee approach which will limit the value of their relievers in save-only leagues.
  • In addition to maintenance innings from Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly, neither of whom had pitched since Tuesday, we saw four more relievers come out of the Houston bullpen to keep the game close, allowing only one run across 6.1 IPs of work. Given the amount of relievers used here, three of them for the second straight day, there’s a little pressure on Cristian Javier to deliver a strong start on Monday to avoid getting the bullpen to a point that some roster moves need to be made to bring fresh arms in.


SFG 4 – ATL 3

HD: Tristan Beck (3), Luke Jackson (2), Taylor Rogers (8)

SV: None

  • Camilo Doval was called upon with one out and two on in the bottom of the 8th to try to protect a one-run lead. He was charged with a blown save even though the run who scored wasn’t his and the throwing error that allowed the run to score wasn’t committed by him. Regardless, the rules say he gets a blown save even though he had very little to do with it. Looking past the intentional walk, Doval sat down all five batters he faced and was able to essentially save his own win when the Giants scored in the top of the 9th.
  • What a find Michael Tonkin has been as a guy able to just eat innings at a decent ERA at the back of the bullpen. He went through stints in Japan, Mexico, and independent leagues before finally landing back with Atlanta and making the club. He’s recorded five wins and a save on the season with a 3.43 ERA across 63 innings.


BOS 6 – NYY 5

HD: None

SV: Kenley Jansen (29)

  • Chris Martin also picked up his fourth win of the campaign here working around two hits to lower his ERA to 1.29 across 42 frames on the season. Kenley Jansen takes one step closer to his ninth straight 30-save season (excluding the shortened 2020 season) and he’s looked as dominant as ever at times in his age-35 season. He hasn’t blown a save since May 13th, a streak of 20 opportunities.
  • I’m not sure if we’re actually going to see Michael King stretched out to be a starter this year, but this seemed to be a step back in that process. He went for only 28 pitches after tossing 41 and 44 in his previous two outings. If he had been pitching well, perhaps the plan was for him to finish the game and take the final ten outs, but he fell six outs short of that. Clay Holmes was saddled with a loss for the second straight Sunday, although in a more reasonable fashion than last week’s meltdown. Sundays have not been fundays for Holmes in August.


DET 4 – CLE 1

HD: Tyler Holton (9)

SV: Alex Lange (18)

  • Tyler Holton has been on fire in August allowing one hit, two walks, and no runs across eleven innings with thirteen Ks. In addition to his third hold of the month, which he picked up here, Holton has earned a pair of wins and a save in August. Alex Lange’s save here, his first since July 23rd, was somewhat promising as he allowed no walks for just the second time in his past six outings and delivered a generally efficient performance. The same chance seemed to be, at least in part, situational given Jason Foley’s lack of availability after having worked three of the previous four days.
  • With the way Cleveland’s offense has been performing this month, a three run deficit in the 8th inning was essentially garbage time, so the Guardians threw out a couple of struggling relievers, Eli Morgan and Sam Hentges, that they were hoping could start to right the ship. Both delivered scoreless, efficient innings.


TOR 10 – CIN 3

HD: None

SV: Bowden Francis (1)

  • Happy first career save to Bowden Francis who earned it via the three inning rule when he allowed one run in the final three frames of this blowout.
  • This game was pretty much over after three innings, but the Reds aren’t really carrying a true long man on the roster, so they still had to use four relievers to get through the final six frames rather than having a bulk reliever take three or four. The Reds had a five-game week and have been slipping in the standings a bit lately and that led to a quiet week for their top bullpen arms, Alexis Díaz and Lucas Sims, who have only had one inning of work each over the past week.


PIT 0 – MIN 2

HD: Griffin Jax (19), Caleb Thielbar (10)

SV: Jhoan Duran (23)

  • Chalk this performance up more to the strikeout happy Twins as the bullpen, including opener Ryan Borucki and bulk reliever Osvaldo Bidocombined to strike out sixteen across eight innings. Dauri Moreta has looked dominant at times and Colin Selby has struck out twelve in his first 6.2 IPs of Major League work, but Selby has also allowed six runs in that time frame and Moreta has struggled mightily in the second half.
  • Jhoan Duran was dominant again on Sunday, recording two strikeouts and hitting 103 mph on the gun, but he also managed to allow a base hit for the thirteenth straight appearance. His last appearance in which he didn’t allow a hit was July 15th in Oakland. The strikeout numbers continue to be excellent and his walk rate has been excellent lately, but, despite this and the insane velocity, there seems to be something somewhat hittable here that has contributed to his WHIP increasing from 0.98 last year to 1.15 this year.


NYM 3 – STL 7

HD: John King (5), Andre Pallante (10)

SV: None

  • The Mets gave work to a couple of veteran reclamation projects in Adam Kolarek and Sam Coonrod on Sunday as they try to get some value out of this lost season. Kolarek, who came over on waivers from the Dodgers, made his first appearance with the Mets while Coonrod, who came over with from the Phillies before the season, made his third after being activated from the 60-day IL last Monday. The two veterans will likely be eased back into high-leverage work but could wind up in a few holds situations if they perform well.
  • Giovanny Gallegos was brought on to keep things from getting too close in the 8th while JoJo Romero worked the 9th in a non-save situation. We don’t have a lot of data to say if Gallegos or Romero has the upper hand for save opportunities as the Cardinals only have two team saves this month with one going to each, but Ryan Helsley could be back very soon to make the debate meaningless, although he did have a bit of a setback in rehab that has pushed his return date back a bit.


KCR 3 – CHC 4 

HD: Mark Leiter Jr. (23), Julian Merryweather (13)

SV: Adbert Alzolay (18)

  • No Royals relievers saw action in this one as Jordan Lyles went all eight innings.
  • Adbert Alzolay improved to 18/19 in save chances this year, but this was a rocky one as he allowed a pair of runs on two hits and a hit batsman. Alzolay’s ERA hasn’t been as dominant since taking over as closer, but he’s been efficient at closing out opportunities and sports a 23:2 strikeout to walk ratio over the past two months across 21.2 IPs. If he keeps avoiding walks at an elite rate, he’ll limit the damage caused by the hits he does allow and he can keep up this performance even without an elite K-rate.


MIL 6 – TEX 2

HD: Trevor Megill (1), Elvis Peguero (17)

SV: Devin Williams (30)

  • Three pitches and one out are about as easy a save as Devin Williams will get all year. It was 6-1 going into the 9th, but when Bryse Wilson allowed a couple baserunneers and the defense surrendered another due to an error, the Brewers opted not to mess around with the Rangers’ high-powered offense and deploy Williams for the last out who had only tossed nine pitches in one appearance that week.
  • Will Smith needed some maintenance work after five straight off days and he gave up three runs on four hits to allow the Brewers to run away with the game. In his four appearances in August, he’s allowed runs in half of them and carries a 9.45 ERA on the month. He’s only blown the one save in August, but it might not take much more for Aroldis Chapman to be brought back into the 9th inning mix.


CHW 10 – COL 5

HD: Jake Bird (8)

SV: None

  • Aaron Bummer lucked into his fourth victory of the season when the White Sox bats erupted for seven runs in the top of the 8th inning to take a five-run lead. Despite the non-save situation, the team still elected to use Gregory Santos to close things out since he hadn’t worked in a game since Wednesday and since Coors can make a five-run lead easily feel like a two-run lead. Santos is certainly having a great year, but his lower than average strikeout rate for a closer and recent mediocre performance raise some questions about his ability to stick in the 9th inning beyond this rebuilding season.
  • It was an 8th inning to forget for the Rockies bullpen as three pitchers combined to allow seven runs and turn a 5-3 lead into a t0-5 deficit. Colorado had a surprisingly good bullpen for a while in the first half, but they’ve fallen back to being one of the worst in the league recently.


BAL 12 – OAK 1

HD: None

SV: None

  • This game was pretty much over by the fourth inning and we only saw garbage time work from both bullpens. I’m still waiting for Shintaro Fujinami to break out as a dominant reliever. Maybe it takes a year or two for him to find that consistency, but I still think it’s in there somewhere.
  • I’m happy for Zach Neal that he was able to find his way back into the bigs, but Oakland is the only organization in the league in which that happens.


PHI 3 – WSN 4

HD: None

SV: Kyle Finnegan (21)

  • Luis F. Ortiz got the call for the only inning of relief for the Phillies. He surrendered two hits, but escaped the inning without a run on the board.
  • The Nationals have been doing their best to make each game exciting recently and they had to rely on their bullpen to make that happen on Sunday. The team entered with a four-run lead going into the 9th inning and they called upon Mason Thompson recently activated from the IL Thompson allowed a couple of hits and one run to score before being lifted for Kyle Finnegan who was tasked with recording the final out. He allowed a two-run homer to reduce the lead down to one run, but he managed to strike out the next batter, J.T. Realmuto, to secure the save. I would never have predicted Finnegan to be potentially pushing for a 25-save season, but he’s been quite dominant in the second half and the Nationals have been a competitive team. His ten saves since the All-Star Break are second in the league to Adbert Alzolays eleven and he sports a 1.20 ERA in that time.


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.

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