Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 8/31/23 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


  • All 30 teams were in action on Wednesday, including several extra-inning affairs. There are just four games on Thursday, so most of the league should still be well-rested going into the weekend.
  • The Padres placed setup man Steven Wilson on the 15-day IL with a hip injury, retroactive to Monday. LHP Ray Kerr was recalled.
  • The Tigers recalled lefty Joey Wentz from Triple-A, with Garrett Hill going down in the corresponding move. Wentz served as the bulk reliever in Wednesday’s game.


Yesterday’s Performances

LAA 10 – PHI 8

HD: Aaron Loup (9), Matt Strahm (7), Gregory Soto (18)

SV: Carlos Estévez (29)

  • The Angels and Phillies traded leads all afternoon, with two players from each team earning a blown save. The freshly-waived Matt Moore and Reynaldo López combined to allow three runs, including a massive Bryce Harper home run off Moore that put Philly on top in the 8th. However, the Halos struck back in the ninth and handed a 10-8 lead to closer Carlos Estévez. Estévez was more effective, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts to pick up his 29th save.
  • On the other side, Matt Strahm was the only Phillies reliever to pitch a clean inning. A pair of eighth-inning walks by Gregory Soto preceded Seranthony Domínguez allowing a two-run single to give L.A. the lead. Then, after the Harper homer, Craig Kimbrel came in for the ninth and made a mess of things all over again; a Brandon Drury two-out, two-run bomb proved the difference in the game. That homer was the eighth surrendered by Kimbrel this season, one shy of his career-high (or low) with the Cubs in 2019, the worst year of his career.


CLE 5 – MIN 2 (10)

HD: Griffin Jax (20), Caleb Thielbar (11)

SV: Emmanuel Clase (36)

  • Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but the Cleveland bullpen kept them in it long enough to come back against their division rivals. James Karinchak threw a scoreless sixth, Cody Morris covered two clean frames, and Trevor Stephan struck out the side in order in the ninth. In the bottom of the 10th, Emmanuel Clase did what he does so well — slamming the door in just 11 pitches. He has pitched back-to-back days, but has Thursday to recover.
  • Caleb Thielbar allowed a run to cross in the eighth, but the critical blow came off Jhoan Duran in the ninth. After a walk and a single, the game-tying run scored on a wild pitch by Duran with two outs. It only got worse from there, as Emilio Pagán served up a game-winning three-run bomb to Kole Calhoun in the 10th. Does anyone want to win this division?


CIN 4 – SFG 1

HD: Ian Gibaut (20), Fernando Cruz (5), Lucas Sims (21)

SV: Alexis Díaz (35)

  • Cincinnati needed a win in a big way, and they got one thanks to a strong performance from their ailing bullpen. Ian Gibaut, Fernando Cruz, Lucas Sims, and Alexis Díaz combined to throw three and two-thirds shutout innings, with Díaz working around a leadoff walk in the ninth to earn the save. The Reds will rest up today before starting another critical series against the Cubs on Friday.
  • The Giants used a number of key relievers in the losing effort, including Tyler Rogers, who served up a critical two-run bomb to Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the eighth. Unlike the Reds, San Francisco doesn’t have an off day on Thursday; closer Camilo Doval is the only well-rested stalwart in the SF ‘pen, and he has pitched twice this week.


HOU 7 – BOS 4

HD: Kendall Graveman (11), Hector Neris (26)

SV: Ryan Pressly (29)

  • Houston got a bit of a scare in the seventh when Kendall Graveman exited with two outs due to lower back discomfort. He’s listed as day-to-day, but an IL stint probably isn’t out of the question. Regardless, Hector Neris was able to come in and record four outs to pick him up and earn his 26th hold. In the ninth, Ryan Pressly allowed a two-out single but no other damage as he secured the save. It was a nice bounce-back for Pressly, in his first appearance since melting down in Detroit on Friday night.
  • Despite trailing for just about the entire game, Boston emptied the tank with their bullpen, presumably with the off day in mind. After Garrett Whitlock was knocked around in long relief, John Schreiber, Chris Martin, and Kenley Jansen each turned in a perfect inning to keep it close.


TBR 3 – MIA 0 (10)

HD: None

SV: Pete Fairbanks (18)

  • Zach Eflin and Jesús Luzardo duelled for six scoreless innings, then turned it over to their bullpens, which did more of the same for three more innings. Tampa got quality work from Colin Poche and Shawn Armstrong before Pete Fairbanks slammed the door in the 10th, needing just 10 pitches to earn the save.
  • Things nearly got ugly for Miami in the 7th, when A.J. Puk walked three of the first four batters he faced. It took an escaping act by Andrew Nardi to keep the score knotted at zero, and Tanner Scott held it right there through the ninth. Recently deposed closer David Robertson was deployed in the 10th. He quickly reminded us why he no longer carries that title by allowing hits to three of the first four batters he faced. There was no recovering from this one, as the damage (three runs) had been done.


PIT 4 – KCR 1

HD: Ryan Borucki (4), Thomas Hatch (3), Colin Holderman (23)

SV: David Bednar (29)

  • It’s been an uneven season for Pittsburgh to say the least, but the late-innings duo of David Bednar and Colin Holderman have been rock-solid. They had little trouble putting away the Royals on Wednesday, combining with Thomas Hatch to close out the game with three shutout innings. It’s the sixth straight converted save for Bednar, who lowered his season ERA back down to 2.13 (this would be a career-best if the season ended today).
  • The Royals got two good innings from Taylor Clarke and Jackson Kowar, the former of which was just activated from family medical leave on Wednesday morning. Clarke should slot back in as one of the top setup options in Kansas City’s mess of a bullpen.


The Best of the Rest…

  • Josh Hader committed his fifth blown save of the year in dramatic fashion, serving up a shocking walk-off home run to Tommy Edman with two out in the ninth. It’s the second walk-off hit allowed by Hader to Edman in as many days. However, Tuesday’s extra-innings run was technically unearned — this was the first ER allowed by Hader in three full months. Sometimes a guy’s just got your number.
  • Speaking of walk-offs, Adbert Alzolay was rewarded with a win in Chicago’s 3-2 victory despite hitting a batter with the bases loaded to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Cody Bellinger picked him up with a game-winning hit in the bottom half off Joel Payamps.
  • The Mariners rallied late to take the series in Oakland, and Andrés Muñoz took advantage, nailing down his 11th save with a perfect ninth inning. Matt Brash earned his 18th hold in the eighth.
  • After a quality inning and two-thirds from Will Smith, Aroldis Chapman had an ugly line in the bottom of the 10th against the Mets. Chapman started by intentionally walking Pete Alonso, then unintentionally walked Francisco Alvarez to load the bases, before beaning DJ Stewart to end the game. Walk-offs truly come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Ian Hamilton picked up an unlikely three-inning save in New York’s 6-2 win over the Tigers. That’s not to say he wasn’t impressive, allowing one walk and zero hits in those three innings while striking out five. Gerrit Cole who??


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).

Wynn McDonald

Born a Kentuckian, much like Dan Uggla. Braves fan by choice, unlike Dan Uggla. I enjoy long walks on the Brandon Beachy. @twynstagram

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