Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 9/2/23 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


  • After Thursday’s tiny four-game slate, most teams entered Friday’s matchups with well-rested ‘pens. Every team will be back in action Saturday night.
  • Former Cardinals’ closer Ryan Helsley was activated off the 60-day IL yesterday. He hasn’t pitched since suffering a forearm injury in mid-June and certainly shouldn’t be expected to regain his closing duties immediately. However, manager Oliver Marmol did say that he’ll see some use in “leverage” spots. Prior to his injury, Helsley had been good but not quite 2022-level dominant prior to his injury, posting a 3.12 ERA in 23 games with 34 strikeouts and seven saves.
  • The Rays activated Kevin Kelly from the IL. Kelly has been a strong supplemental piece for the Rays ‘pen, appearing in 48 games with a 3.48 ERA and 3.24 FIP.
  • Longtime Yankees reliever Chad Green was activated from the IL for the first time by his new team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Green underwent Tommy John surgery last season.


Yesterday’s Performances

TB 2 – CLE 3

HD: Trevor Stephan (23)
SV: Emmanuel Clase (37)

  • Clase recorded his league-leading 37th save of the season last night in a tight win over the Rays. He didn’t allow a baserunner or strike a batter out in his inning of work. Despite all the April hype over his diminished velocity and reduced strikeout numbers, Clase has once again put together a top-tier season. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a bit of a roller coaster; after all, while the velocity has returned (he topped out at 100.6 mph in this one), the strikeouts have not. His K/9 is down to 8.3 from last year’s 9.5 and his overall K% has fallen further as his BB% and HR% have slightly trended up. Despite all of that, his ERA is down to 2.90, he’s struck out 57 hitters in 62 innings, and – again – he leads the league in saves.
  • The Rays only needed Jalen Beeks to get three outs after Tyler Glasnow took the hard-luck loss after seven strong innings.


SEA 1 – NYM 2

HD: None
SV: Drew Smith (3)

  • The Mariners’ closer situation grows murkier. Andrés Muñoz was the story here, taking the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up two hits, walked one, struck out one, and allowed a wild pitch en route to his earned run. Muñoz had been pitching well – one run allowed in his past eight appearances – and had been used exclusively in save situations (with a single exception). Matt Brash, while also receiving some of the save shares, has seen more varied usage. But here, with both pitchers equally available, we saw Muñoz come out for the eighth in a tie game. The caveat, of course, is that he faced the heart of the Mets lineup, signalling that he’s the preferred option in the highest leverage spot. However, that might not be so positive for fantasy owners who have enjoyed consistent save opportunities in recent weeks. Keep an eye on this.
  • Smith recorded his third save of the year, allowing two baserunners while striking out one in the top of the ninth. Phil Bickford pitched a clean eighth. Of the Mets’ three closing options (Smith, Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley), Smith was the most rested. I’d look for the other two to see work tonight.


ATL 6 – LAD 3

HD: Michael Tonkin (2)
SV: Kirby Yates (3)

  • Yates recorded just his third save of the year as the Braves beat the Dodgers for the second day in a row. Yates’ one-strikeout one-walk inning followed a single out from Tonkin, who cleaned up the eighth after Pierce Johnson allowed a three-run homer. Yates’ usage here was fairly predictable – closer Raisel Iglesias had thrown three days in a row, and both set-up men (A.J. Minter and Joe Jiménez) threw over 17 pitches yesterday. Still, it’s a bit revealing of manager Brian Snitker’s trust for Yates that he’s willing to go to him and give the better arms the night off. I suppose a three-run lead makes that trust a little easier…regardless, having four arms to go to in leverage spots is an unbelievable luxury, and one that will absolutely be relevant come October.
  • For the Dodgers, Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Brasier, and Gus Varland saw work, with Varland leading the way with two innings and three strikeouts. LA’s high-power arms will be well rested should they be called upon Saturday. Most notably, closer Evan Phillips hasn’t thrown in a week.

PIT 4 – STL 2

HD: None
SV: David Bednar (30)

  • Bednar locked up his 30th save of the season, giving up one unearned run in the 10th. Colin Selby got his second win, after pitching a clean ninth, and Colin Holderman and Carmen Mlodzinski also saw work.
  • JoJo Romero took the loss after giving up three runs in the top of the 10th. He’d thrown a scoreless ninth around a walk and a hit, but infield singled, free passes, and wild pitched did him in the following inning. Romero followed a scoreless inning from Ryan Helsley in his first game back from a long stint on the IL. He sat a tick and a half below his season average velocity on the fastball and failed to get a whiff on the pitch, but didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out one. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly he takes over closing duties from Romero.

The Best of the Rest…

  • Jhoan Duran bounced back from a blown save in his last appearance to shut the door in a 5-1 win over the Rangers, lighting up the radar guns as per usual – he topped out at 103.3.
  • Devin Williams collected his eighth win despite blowing the save after Jose Alvarado allowed four runs (one earned) to blow the save right back.
  • Paul Sewald recorded his 29th save of the year, striking out two to shut the door on the Orioles.

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).

Ethan McCollister

Diehard Red Sox fan. Vermonter in Philly. Harvard alum. Cat dad. In Chaim we trust...but I miss Mookie.

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