Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings – 9/3/23 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


  • Every team was in action on Saturday and all 30 teams will play on Sunday.



Yesterday’s Performances


TBR 6 – CLE 7

H: Shawn Armstrong (2), Colin Poche (16)

  • Pete Fairbanks blew a one-run lead in the ninth leading to extra innings. The Rays lost, but Robert Stephenson posted another scoreless appearance with three punchouts. The Rays have turned him into an absolute monster. In 29.2 innings with them, he has a 2.72 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, and a 41.8% strikeout rate. Under the hood, he has an insane 28% swinging strike rate and a 41.6% CSW. Even including his struggles in PIT, he owns the best SwStr% and CSW% in baseball. Only Aroldis Chapman (46.1%) and Félix Bautista (43.8%) have higher strikeout rates since Stephenson joined the Rays (min. 10 IP).
  • Successful pitching in the extras allowed the Guardians to steal the win after the blown save. Emmanuel Clase pitched the 10th without event and Sam Hentges worked around the zombie runner scoring to record his third win. Hentges’ 4.32 ERA (41.2 IP) may be a bit misleading. Since July 29th, he hasn’t allowed a run (15 IP) and has struck out 31.7% of the batters he’s faced. Clase has pitched on consecutive days and in four of the past five, so Trevor Stephan will likely get the ball in the ninth if a save arises.


CHC 1 – CIN 2

  • After eight scoreless innings from the starter, Mark Leiter Jr. blew a save in the ninth with Adbert Alzolay resting. He wound up with his third loss after the Reds walked it off against Jose Cuas. Despite being one of the league leaders in holds (27), Leiter Jr. has fallen off in the second half. The first half saw him pitch to a 3.19 ERA (36.2 IP) with a 34.7% strikeout rate. Since the All-Star break, his 2.91 ERA (21.2 IP) has actually been better, but it comes with just a 25.3% strikeout rate and his xFIP (4.40) has been more than one and a half runs worse than the first half (2.77).
  • Tejay Antone made his first appearance since 2021. A litany of injuries prevented him from pitching for more than two years. With such a long layoff, it’s easy to forget just how good he was in his first two seasons. The righty pitched to a 2.48 ERA (69 IP) while striking out 32.3% of the batters he faced. If he can get back to that level, he’ll be one of the better holds options in 2024.


NYY 5 – HOU 4

H: Wandy Peralta (16)

SV: Clay Holmes (17)

  • August was a rough month for Clay Holmes. He pitched to a 7.84 ERA (10.1 IP) and only recorded a pair of saves. It was likely just a bout of bad luck as he dealt with a .429 BABIP and a 53.8% LOB%. His 3.29 xFIP is more indicative of how he actually pitched and is similar to the 2.90 xFIP he recorded in the four months prior.
  • Hector Neris struck out the side in order in the seventh. He has a shot at leading baseball in holds this year. He didn’t add to that total on Saturday but he currently sits with 26. There are four relievers ahead of him on the leaderboard. Mark Leiter Jr. (27) hasn’t been the same pitcher he was in the first half. Tyler Rogers (27) is beholden to the Giants winning games and hasn’t recorded one since August 27th. Erik Swanson (28) is on the IL with the possibility of not returning during the regular season. The league leader, Yennier Cano (29), is now the closer in Baltimore and will get more save chances than holds opportunities. The path is paved for Neris to finish on top.


MIN 9 – TEX 7

H: Kody Funderburk (1), Josh Winder (1), Griffin Jax (22), Caleb Thielbar (12)

SV: Jhoan Duran (24)

  • Jhoan Duran worked around the zombie runner scoring to record a save in the 10th after Emilio Pagán blew the lead in the eighth. Duran has seen a downturn in performance in the second half. After posting a 2.10 ERA (34.1 IP) with a 22.1% K-BB% in the first half, he has a 3.43 ERA (21 IP) despite a much better 27.2% K-BB%. The extra runs are most likely due to an increase in home runs caused by living in the zone more to avoid walks. Duran will need to strike a balance between living in the zone and avoiding the long ball to remain an elite closer. He has pitched in each of the past two days and in three of the past four, but so have setup men Griffin Jax and Caleb Thielbar. Pagán and Dylan Floro are the most likely replacements, but with Pagán blowing up on Saturday, I’d expect it to be Floro.
  • Both Will Smith and Aroldis Chapman pitched on Saturday. Both held the Twins scoreless across the eighth and ninth. Chapman stayed on for the 10th and that’s when he blew up, giving up three runs (two earned) on his way to his fourth loss. He had a clear opportunity to take over the closer role when Smith struggled in August, but Chapman did just the same, blowing multiple save opportunities. He now has a 7.94 ERA (5.2 IP) in his last six appearances. The culprit is clear as he’s walked seven batters in that time.


TOR 7 – COL 8

H: Gavin Hollowell (2), Matt Koch (5), Justin Lawrence (9)

SV: Tyler Kinley (1)

  • Génesis Cabrera has had an interesting campaign. Entering the year he had a career walk rate north of 12% which held him back from being a standout reliever. He began the year with 7.2 walk-free innings and through his first 9.2 innings he struck out 17 batters to just one walk. He looked like a completely different pitcher. Then, through the rest of his tenure with the Cardinals, he walked batters at a 15.7% rate and was traded to the Blue Jays. He’s rediscovered his early-season form in Toronto. With the Blue Jays he’s not only walked just two batters in 17.2 innings of work, but he’s also only allowed one earned run for a 0.51 ERA. Preventing the free pass is the key to his success.
  • Justin Lawrence failed to nail down the save in this one, unleashing three walks and surrendering two runs. Tyler Kinley was brought on to record the final out and he succeeded in his mission to do so. Lawrence took over the closer role in late June and pitched really well for a month, recording five saves with a 0.79 ERA (11.1 IP). Something has changed since then and his struggles have become increasingly apparent. In his last 13 innings, he has a 9.69 ERA and has lost his ability to punch batters out. The Rockies aren’t known to make quick and drastic changes to the closer role, but at this point, it’s clear he needs a change in role. Kinley just returned from the IL and may be the best bet to take over if they make a switch.


The Best of the Rest…


  • Trevor May recorded his 16th save of the season. Four relievers recorded holds prior to his appearance. Kirby Snead (7th hold), Spencer Patton (3rd hold), Sam Long (5th hold), and Dany Jiménez (3rd hold) held the Angels scoreless across three frames.
  • Nick Pivetta pitched the final three innings of the Red Sox’s game against the Royals on his way to his first save of the season. He surrendered a solo home run and struck out five batters.
  • Adam Ottavino took the mound in the ninth inning of a tie game and proceeded to give up a go-ahead home run to J.P. Crawford. He took his fifth loss. On the other side, Gabe Speier (16th hold) and Matt Brash (19th hold) both recorded holds.
  • David Bednar notched his 31st save with a clean inning in St. Louis. He’s now pitched on back-to-back days and in three of the past four, so Colin Holderman is likely the first man up in his absence.
  • Devin Williams worked around a run on his way to his 32nd save. He has appeared on consecutive days, so Joel Payamps will be the team’s temporary closer on Sunday.
  • Raisel Iglesias saved his 28th game as he worked around the zombie runner scoring in the 10th to close out the win.
  • Evan Phillips covered five outs across the eighth and ninth and didn’t allow a single baserunner.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login