Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 9/28/23 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


  • Wednesday’s slate was a 16-gamer, with the Mets and Marlins playing a twinbill to make up for Tuesday’s rainout. Thursday is busier than usual, with just eight teams taking the day off, and the Royals and Tigers playing a game and a half (thanks to a 5th-inning weather suspension yesterday). Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s breakdown to get the inside scoop on who’s fresh for the final weekend of the regular season.
  • The Rangers got one of their top setup men back for the final push, as Josh Sborz was activated from the IL ahead of Wednesday’s contest. Sborz should jump right back into the mix for middle-innings holds as Texas closes in on the A.L. West crown.
  • The Rockies placed Daniel Bard and Ryan Feltner on the IL, ending their respective seasons. Karl Kauffman and Tommy Doyle were recalled.


Yesterday’s Performances


ARI 3 – CWS 0

HD: Luis Frías (14), Andrew Saalfrank (3), Ryan Thompson (8)

SV: Paul Sewald (34)

  • The D-Backs needed a win and they got one, thanks in large part to the best performance of rookie Brandon Pfaadt’s young career. Pfaadt struck out eight and left with two outs in the 6th, giving way to Luis Frías, who picked up a nice one-out hold. Andrew Saalfrank, Ryan Thompson and Paul Sewald followed, with that trio combining to strike out six without allowing a run. That’s called taking care of business.
  • The Sox pitched a bullpen game after 2.1 innings by Luis Patiño. Deivi García followed with 2.2 innings of his own, then four different relievers managed to keep Arizona off the board for the remaining innings, including a hitless frame from Bryan Shaw in the 9th.


CIN 3 – CLE 4

HD: Reynaldo López (21), Trevor Stephan (28)

SV: Emmanuel Clase (43)

  • The Reds needed a win even worse, and they did not get it. Andrew Abbott’s short start made it a tall task from the outset, as the rookie clearly did not have it, and he was lifted in the 3rd as a result. To their credit, the maligned Cincy pen did step up; from the 5th inning on, Alex Young, Buck Farmer, Ben Lively and Ian Gibaut allowed just one hit collectively. Alexis Díaz got a much-needed day off only because there was no bottom of the 9th.
  • Cleveland’s plan was simpler and more effective, as Shane Bieber shoved for six innings. Trevor Stephan ran into some trouble, allowing back-to-back doubles to lead off the 8th, but he escaped with the lead and the hold. Emmanuel Clase allowed a one-out hit down the right field line that could have made things even more interesting, but he was bailed out by a bang-bang putout at second. His 43 saves (and counting) are all but guaranteed to lead the league for the second straight year.


 PIT 6 – PHI 7  

HD: Dylan Covey (1)

SV: Gregory Soto (3)

  • Despite solid work from Hunter Stratton and Colin Selby in the 6th and 8th, respectively, the Pirates lost a close one late. José Hernandez was on the mound in the 7th when Bryce Harper parked a ball in the center field bullpen to give Philly the winning margin. It’s okay, José, you’re not alone in that club.
  • Wednesday’s win was the first in what looks like a promising career for 22-year-old Orion Kerkering, who struck out two and stranded a pair of baserunners in the 7th, just before the Harper bomb. Granted, the Phillies had already clinched their playoff spot, but it’s nice to see the rookie being trusted with high-leverage spots so quickly. With Gregory Soto nailing down the save, the Phils rested their top two relievers.


CHC 5 – ATL 6 (10)  

HD: Drew Smyly

SV: None

  • In a hilarious contrast of performance vs. pressure, the Cubs lost a nutty one in extra innings despite some clutch (and some not-so-clutch) moments from their bullpen to make it that far. After Drew Smyly pitched a perfect 7th, Julian Merryweather was brought in in the 8th to face the top of the fierce Atlanta order. He allowed a one-out single to Ronald Acuña Jr., and you know how that goes … before long, the game was tied. The Cubs punched back with a go-ahead run in the 9th, only for Mark Leiter Jr. to blow another save in the bottom half on Marcell Ozuna’s home run. Leiter Jr. was lifted with two outs for Jose Cuas, who sent the potential winning run to third base with one out on a wild pitch, but managed to induce a pair of groundouts to send the game to extras. It was Daniel Palencia who blew the third save in the 10th by allowing a few hits (guess who, Acuña) and ultimately lost the game.
  • Atlanta sat their studs and went with Michael Tonkin for two innings, before turning to Kirby Yates, who allowed the go-ahead run in the 9th but was bailed out. Jesse Chavez allowed the zombie runner to score in the 10th but was otherwise efficient, picking up the win for his efforts.


SDP 5 – SFG 2 (10)

HD: None

SV: Tom Cosgrove (1)

  • San Diego rode Matt Waldron for six innings (plus one ill-fated AB in the 7th), then went with their usual trio of Scott Barlow, Robert Suarez and Josh Hader for the late innings. Hader allowed a leadoff walk in the 9th, but worked around by striking out the next two batters and inducing a force out to send it to extras. After the Padres took the lead in the 10th, Tom Cosgrove entered and retired the side on 13 pitches to earn the first save of his career. Hader pitched Tuesday as well, but San Diego is off today, so he should be well enough rested for the weekend.
  • The Giants went with a typical close-game approach as well, using Ryan Walker in the 7th followed by Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval. Doval allowed a one-out double in the 9th, but he worked around it as well. John Brebbia took the loss in the 10th, as several unearned runs scored after a critical error by Marco Luciano. The Giants are also off Thursday, but they’ll be welcoming the Dodgers to town on Friday.


Best of the Rest

  • The Rays used a number of key relievers in their 5-0 win over the Red Sox, but notably not Pete Fairbanks. Expect Fairbanks and the rest of the versatile Tampa ‘pen to be very busy this weekend as they travel to Toronto for the final series of the season, hoping for a last-ditch division title push.
  • Speaking of that particular race, the Orioles also managed to rest their closer, Yennier Cano, in a 5-1 win over the Nationals Wednesday. Setup man Danny Coulombe threw 17 pitches and earned a hold, his 22nd.
  • The Yankees didn’t need any help from their bullpen, as Gerrit Cole completed a shutout of the Blue Jays to polish off his Cy Young campaign. With the score 6-0, Toronto was able to rest all their key relievers as well.
  • Devin Williams picked up his 36th save of the year, polishing off Milwaukee’s 3-2 win over the Cardinals. With the NL Central wrapped up, we probably won’t see too much of Williams this weekend. Joel Payamps could jump in for a save, if the Brewers opt to save their closer’s energy for the postseason.
  • Aroldis Chapman and Jose Leclerc, in that order, finished Texas’ 5-0 win over the Angels. The plan for the Rangers’ postseason relief corps appears to be getting clearer.
  • The Astros used each of their top four relievers (Pressly, Abreu, Neris and Graveman) to close out a significant 8-3 victory in Seattle. The ‘Stros don’t play Thursday, so they’ll have a day of recuperation before traveling to Arizona for a final playoff push against the equally-hungry Diamondbacks.
  • Andrew Nardi picked up a save for Miami in the second game of their double-header, after Adam Ottavino blew the tie for New York in the 9th. Waiver acquisition Matt Moore earned his first win since joining the Fish.
  • Griffin Jax earned his fourth save for the Twins in a 6-4 win over Oakland. Jhoan Duran struck out the side in the 7th, with the score tied at the time; Dallas Keuchel, in the Year of Our Lord, 2023, earned the win in this game out of the bullpen. Ain’t baseball grand?


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

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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