Reliever Ranks – 8/31

Which relievers might be in line to vulture a save or win today?

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 Tuesday and all 30 teams will retake the field today.




Yesterday’s Performances


BAL 1 – CLE 5

  • Milking three innings out of Nick Vespi, Rico Garcia, and Keegan Akin, the Orioles took the loss because of a lack of offense. The latter pitched two innings while the other two covered two outs apiece. Akin has been incredible in his first season of full-time relief work. The left-hander owns a 2.78 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP across the most innings (68) by a devout reliever. The most notable change to his skillset has been a near 4% decrease in his walk rate from 2021 and the biggest change to his repertoire has been an increased emphasis on his slider (+10% from 2021).
  • Honestly, what’s the difference between a four-run and a three-run lead? Obviously, the answer is one run and some decisions, but the game is still tight enough for a team to rely on its most-trusted arms. That’s exactly what the Guardians did, calling upon Trevor Stephan, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase to shut down the Orioles across the final three frames. None of them allowed a hit, with the only baserunner reaching on a walk by Stephan. It may be difficult for Stephan to stand out amongst top-notch relievers like Karinchak (1.17 ERA, 23 IP) and Clase (1.15 ERA, 54.2 IP), but he’s doing about all he can. The 26-year-old right-hander sports a 2.32 ERA (50.1 IP) and a 1.17 WHIP with an impressive 65/13 K/BB ratio and a team-leading 12 holds. Clase tossed 16 pitches and the fastest pitch of the day (a 100.7 mph cutter) but is most definitely available tonight if another lead is in need of protecting.


STL 1 – CIN 5

  • An identical score to the last one, but this time the losing team saved the arm barn by turning to one reliever. The Cardinals had Jake Woodford cover the final 3.1 frames to finish off the game. He did so without surrendering a run, earning five whiffs and a 27% CSW across 49 pitches.
  • The other Ohio-based team followed the Guardians’ lead by disregarding the lack of decision chances and turning to their best relievers. That strategy allowed Derek Law, Joel Kuhnel, Buck Farmer, and Alexis Díaz to appear. Law tossed two scoreless frames while the other three combined for three hitless innings. It was a dominant showing for a bullpen that has struggled mightily all year outside of Díaz. The younger brother of Edwin, Alexis now owns a 1.79 ERA (50.1 IP), a top-10 mark among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. His 19 pitches won’t hold him back from appearing in a save situation today.


TBR 7 – MIA 2

  • With Shane McClanahan being a late scratch due to an injury, the Rays were forced into a bullpen game. Jokes on you! The Rays excel in the bullpen game habitat. They led off with three scoreless frames from Shawn Armstrong to set the tone. The next two innings were pitched scorelessly by JT Chargois and Brooks Raley, with the former vulturing his second win. Garrett Cleavinger was next and was the only Tampa Bay arm to permit a run. He covered four outs before needing Jason Adam’s help to shut down the seventh. Adam struck out both of the batters he faced before making way for Pete Fairbanks and Colin Poche to cover the final two frames flawlessly. The former tossed two of the three fastest pitches of the day, topping out at 100.7 mph with his four-seamer. With seven arms appearing on Tuesday, the team will be counting on the starter to provide bulk today. Regardless, Adam will be available after needing just eight pitches to complete his appearance.
  • Unable to compete with the Rays’ bullpen in the battle of Florida, the Marlins turned to Cole Sulser, Jake Fishman, and Andrew Nardi to keep the game close across the final trio of innings. Only Fishman did his job by holding the opposition off the board in the eighth. In a small sample of 4.1 innings, Fishman owns a 2.08 ERA, but he has only struck out one batter and sports an untenable 1.38 WHIP.


OAK 10 – WSN 6

  • In the highest-scoring game of the day, the A’s felt they couldn’t throw in the towel despite putting up 10 runs. After using Austin Pruitt for a pair of innings, the team utilized two of their top holds options in Kirby Snead and Domingo Acevedo. They were untouched across five outs to secure the victory. Acevedo has been pretty unheralded in 2022 and now owns a 3.20 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 59 innings while tying for the fifth-most holds (19) among active AL relievers.
  • Even with the starter getting crushed for six runs, the Nationals weren’t about to just give up. All of their charted relievers besides the closer and setup man appeared, but they were unable to hold the score. Hunter Harvey secured four outs before Steve Cishek served up a grand slam to Sean Murphy in the fifth to put the team in a five-run hole. Erasmo Ramírez covered the next two frames before Víctor Arano and Jake McGee combined for two hitless innings. McGee is on his third team of the season but is currently producing his best stint – a 4.50 ERA in six innings with an uncharacteristic 34.8% K%.


CHC 3 – TOR 5

  • A solid start was ruined by shoddy bullpen work. In his Major League debut, Brendon Little teed up a three-run shot to Teoscar Hernández to blow the lead he was handed. It didn’t help that, after escaping the sixth, Michael Rucker served up another dinger, this one to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Now in a two-run deficit, the team turned to Jeremiah Estrada for a hitless inning as the 23-year-old right-hander made his Major League debut. He featured an upper-90s fastball and a slider that induced a whiff on the only swing against it.
  • With a newfound lead in the seventh, it was prime time for the high-leverage arms to jump into action. It began with David Phelps and Anthony Bass combining for a one-run seventh, earning their eighth and 20th holds respectively. Trevor Richards followed, sharing the eighth with Jordan Romano and notching his seventh hold. As expected, Romano continued into the ninth, working around a hit-by-pitch to secure his 28th save. The right-hander has now thrown on back-to-back days, combining for 36 pitches in that time, and likely lets Yimi García or Adam Cimber cover the ninth today.


LAD 4 – NYM 3

  • A slim lead was more than enough reason for the Dodgers to turn to their top options. Earning his third win prior to the team jumping ahead in the seventh, Heath Hembree kept the opposition off the board in the sixth. Alex Vesia and Evan Phillips followed with a hitless inning apiece to earn their 14th and 16th holds respectively. With Craig Kimbrel recovering from a 32-pitch appearance, LA turned to Jake Reed for the save chance. The 29-year-old worked around a single to secure the first save of his young career. With Phillips being considered the closer right now, it’s worth noting that he’s tossed a combined 24 pitches on consecutive days, leading Kimbrel or Brusdar Graterol to be the top option for a save today.
  • After Seth Lugo completed the starter’s sixth, a tie game was too much for Joely Rodríguez to handle. The lefty allowed one run and was saddled with his fourth loss as a result. Tommy Hunter cleaned up his mess and was followed by two hitless innings from Mychal Givens. Considering how much he’s been leaned on all season, it’s probably a good thing Edwin Díaz hasn’t pitched since Friday, but he will probably be in need of a maintenance inning sometime soon if a save opportunity doesn’t arise today.


SEA 9 – DET 3

  • To save the arm barn, the Mariners piggybacked two starters to complete the ballgame. Chris Flexen followed five frames from the starter with four of his own. Other than allowing three runs, he was pretty dominant, inducing 11 whiffs and a 33% CSW across 61 pitches with three strikeouts. The four innings of relief work to secure the victory earned Flexen the first save of his career.
  • A disaster outing by the starter forced the Detroit bullpen into action in the third inning. Will Vest was up to the task of putting an end to the seven-run massacre and was followed by a hitless fourth from José Cisnero. In order to eat some of the innings left by the starter, Daniel Norris was called upon for three frames. Other than a two-run shot from Carlos Santana, it was a relatively successful outing. Pitching the final two frames without event, Jason Foley and Kody Clemens finish out the game. Yes, Kody is the son of Roger, and yes, he is, in fact, a position player with four appearances on the mound in 2022. Watch out Shohei!


COL 3 – ATL 2

  • We don’t usually get to see it because they pitch in Coors, but the Colorado bullpen can be pretty solid from time to time. Tuesday was one of those times as the team received four scoreless innings from the arm barn. Half of them were pitched by Justin Lawrence, as the 27-year-old right-hander notched his third hold. Also earning a hold, his ninth, was Carlos Estévez as he tossed a hitless eighth. Finally, up by just a sole run in the ninth, Daniel Bard set down the side in order with two strikeouts to secure his 28th save. Now tied for second in the NL in that category, the veteran reliever has a shot at leading his league in saves. I don’t think anyone had that as a bold prediction in the preseason. His eight pitches won’t be enough to keep him out of action if he’s needed today.
  • Lights-out relief work wasn’t enough for Atlanta to pull off a win with the offense scuffling. The team used four relievers for one inning apiece and none of them were scored upon. Jay Jackson and Tyler Matzek pitched the sixth and seventh respectively while Kirby Yates and Dylan Lee covered the final two frames. I’ve had my eye on Lee for a few weeks now not only because the 28-year-old lefty owns a 2.61 ERA (38 IP) and a 1.11 WHIP, but mostly because he touts a 44/7 K/BB ratio for the season and a 40.1% CSW curveball he turns to 45% of the time. Atlanta has an unfair amount of talent in their relief corps.


BOS 5 – MIN 10

  • It wasn’t the greatest showing on the mound for the entire Boston pitching staff. The starter surrendered five runs and the bullpen permitted five more. The first three were given up by Ryan Brasier, finishing the starter’s fifth, and Jeurys Familia, pitching the sixth. The seventh was the only scoreless inning pitched by the bullpen, as Zack Kelly put up a perfect outing in just his second Major League appearance. Matt Barnes returned everything to normal by allowing two more runs in the eighth. The active team leader in saves, Garrett Whitlock, hasn’t thrown since Friday and could see some maintenance work today.
  • While the Minnesota starter didn’t fare too well either, the bullpen made up for it. Three pitchers were needed to pitch the fifth: the starter, Caleb Thielbar, and Michael Fulmer. The latter went on to complete the sixth as well, earning his fifth win in the process. The only run surrendered by the bullpen came against Trevor Megill but he showed a silver lining by unleashing the fourth-fastest pitch of the day – a 100.3 mph four-seam fastball. Griffin Jax jumped into action in the eighth, putting up a flawless frame to secure his 16th hold. With the game clearly in the bag, the team turned to Emilio Pagán for a hitless ninth. Remember when he was the closer? Good times, good times.


HOU 4 – TEX 2

  • Eight frames by the starter left just one for the bullpen. That singular frame was pitched flawlessly with two Ks by Héctor Neris. With the team up by two, Neris was also credited with his third save. It’s hard to tell who the closer is in Houston with Pressly on the IL because Rafael Montero nabbed the first two saves earlier this week before Neris secured one on Tuesday. Let’s hope we are given more clarity today.
  • The battle of Texas was decided by the starters, but a battle of the bullpens would be fun to watch as well with the talent in each of these pens. The Rangers turned to Taylor Hearn for a one-run sixth before José Leclerc and Matt Moore pitched the final three frames. Leclerc did the majority of the work and has been pretty solid in his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 3.25 ERA (36 IP), although his strikeout rate is down 6.8% from prior to the injury.


KCR 9 – CHW 7

  • Rarely do you see such a high-scoring game produce such a tight score. Unfortunately for the Royals relief corps, it didn’t produce any decisions. That’s not entirely true as Jose Cuas vultured a win by completing the starter’s fifth and pitching a clean sixth. Carlos Hernández then served up a bomb to Eloy Jiménez in the seventh before Dylan Coleman pitched a perfect eighth. It’s hard not to like what Coleman has been doing this year. The 6’5″ 25-year-old rookie right-hander is likely the closer of the future and has given credence to that notion by pitching to a 2.65 ERA (54.1 IP), featuring a 97.7 mph four-seamer 60% of the time in dominant closer fashion. Speaking of closers, the current one, Scott Barlow, gave up a two-run shot to Gavin Sheets in the ninth but was able to escape with the lead. He fired 22 bullets but will likely still be available again today.
  • With the back-end of the arm barn taking the night off, the White Sox struggled to minimize the deficit. Three runs crossed home under the watch of the first two arms out of the pen, Tanner Banks and Jimmy Lambert. Two scoreless outs from Jake Diekman halted the onslaught for a short time before Joe Kelly served up a Michael A. Taylor long ball in the eighth. Ending the night on a high note, José Ruiz carved out a scoreless ninth with two punchouts. Closer Liam Hendriks hasn’t seen a mound since last Thursday and, for the sake of all fantasy managers, could use a maintenance appearance ASAP.


PIT 4 – MIL 2

  • A late-inning comeback afforded the overworked Pittsburgh pen a save chance. After the starter struck out ten in six innings, the two relievers failed to strike out anyone, but they got the job done nonetheless. Manny Bañuelos vultured his first win by locking down four outs across the seventh and eighth, sharing the latter frame with Chase De Jong. He went on to complete the ninth as well to earn his first career save. While he doesn’t own the lowest ERA among pitchers with at least 55 innings pitched, he does own the least talked about campaign by a pitcher with a sub-2.00 ERA. A 6.52 ERA in 98 innings from 2017-21 is likely the main culprit for him not being mentioned, but he’s improved to a 1.95 ERA (55.1 IP) and a 0.96 WHIP in a breakout season.
  •  On the other side, things started off well as Hoby Milner earned his eighth hold with a hitless sixth. Then, a run in three straight frames led to a Milwaukee loss. Matt Bush was tagged with his seventh blown save, Brad Boxberger saddled with his third loss, and Peter Strzelecki jumped on for a run. Is this the curse of Josh Hader?


NYY 7 – LAA 2

  • After the starter was struck by a comebacker and forced to leave the game after just two innings, the depleted Bronx bullpen jumped into action like firefighters at the scene of a blaze. Six relievers were needed, with Greg Weissert completing the most work with a two-inning outing to earn his first career win. Lucas Luetge surrendered a homer to former teammate Mike Ford in the fifth, but that would be the only damage for a while as Lou Trivino, Ron Marinaccio, and Jonathan Loáisiga held the opposition scoreless until the ninth. There, Wandy Peralta allowed a run but was able to calm things down to close out the game.
  • Piggybacking an unsuccessful start with a bulk appearance from a former starter was not the ideal game plan for the Angels. In fact, they should have just stuck with their second option. Touki Toussaint went five innings in relief, allowing just two baserunners while inducing six whiffs and earning a 28% CSW across 61 pitches. It was basically the exact opposite bullpen usage from their opponent.


PHI 3 – ARI 12

  • A blowout didn’t necessitate high-leverage bullpen work, but the Phillies turned to a few top arms anyway in order to keep them fresh. Sam Coonrod, Connor Brogdon, and David Robertson each pitched clean innings (at least from an earned runs perspective, as Coonrod surrendered an unearned run). It’s surprising to see Robertson used in this situation, but the man hadn’t pitched since Friday and needed to stay fresh. His 19 pitches won’t be enough to keep him out of action today. Wait! Can’t forget about a position player pitching. Infielder Nick Maton allowed three runs on four hits in the eighth.
  • With such a massive lead the Diamondbacks…did exactly what the Phillies did and used high-leverage arms. What’s going on here?? Noé Ramirez allowed three runs via a Brandon Marsh homer and Mark Melancon pitched a flawless ninth. I seriously don’t get it, just put a position player out there! You’re up by nine!


SDP 4 – SFG 3

  • The final game nearly saw a late-inning comeback. Tim Hill and Luis García combined for a scoreless seventh. The latter continued into the eighth, and surrendered an unearned run, cutting the lead to just three. With a save situation in sight, Nick Martinez was called upon, although it wasn’t smooth. He got the first two outs before issuing a walk and then a splash hit to Joc Pederson to cut the lead to one. Luckily for him, he was able to force a pop-out to end the game. Martinez has pitched on consecutive days combining for 44 pitches in that time and will cede ninth-inning duties to García, Robert Suarez, or even Josh Hader today.
  • If not for Tyler Rogers permitting three runs (one earned) in the seventh, this game might’ve gone much differently for the Giants. Prior to that disaster frame, Alex Young escaped the starter’s sixth. Don’t be fooled by Young’s 3.09 ERA, his 1.89 WHIP and 5.5% K-BB% are more indicative of his true talent. After the ugly inning, Scott Alexander secured four outs. Finally, Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless ninth.


Bullpen Depth Charts



Also, if you’re looking for a detailed list or ranking of RPs, check out Rick Graham’s weekly pieces:

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.

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