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Bullpen Report: Finding Relievers to Help Your Fantasy Team

Memorial Day Weekend is here! Hopefully, you hit the beach or a BBQ, have a burger or hot dog and an adult beverage of your choosing and just enjoy the three-day weekend. For you baseball fanatics, it’s also a significant date on the baseball calendar. It is typically the time of year where MLB teams really start to look in the mirror and analyze if they are pretenders or contenders and what their biggest needs are for a potential playoff push. 

We are a long way from the end of the season, but being about two months in, it’s time to look at your fantasy baseball team and identify if you are a serious contender or if you need to start to think about mixing things up. This article focuses on bullpens, so in that sense, you should be looking not only at the saves category, but also at your ratios and strikeouts. If you have a good amount of strikeouts but weak ratios, you could use some of the elite non-closer relievers to help fix that. If you are towards the bottom in saves, you may need to look into making a trade. As always, there are speculative adds you can make now on saves and hope to get back into the race. 

If you analyze your team this week and realize that you are in need of some pitching, whether it be saves or just ratios and strikeouts, this article will point you in the right direction! 

Be sure to check all of our preseason fantasy baseball rankings for Roto, Points, H2H, dynasty, best ball, prospects and more:

 

Weekly Bullpen Report

Arizona Diamondbacks 

Last week, I said if Stefan Crichton loses the closer job, he would not be worth rostering in fantasy. Well, on Wednesday night he came into the eighth with a two-run lead. He left with a runner on base that was ultimately driven in as Alex Young allowed a two-run homer. Due to that, we did not get to see who the D-Backs would have turned to in the ninth, but you have to feel good if you have stashed Joakim Soria. If you are in need of saves, check the waiver wire for Soria, or attempt to acquire him for cheap.

You can also try to sell high now on Crichton, as the fact that there was no save opportunity in this game could make him being used in the eighth go unnoticed by league-mates. For ratios, the only arm to really like in this pen is Caleb Smith, who has already thrown 27.2 innings. He has pitched to a 2.93 ERA, 3.98 SIERA, with a 1.30 WHIP and 26 percent strikeout rate. 

Atlanta Braves 

Despite a bump or two in the road this season, Will Smith is the unquestioned closer here for the Braves. He is a must-start option in fantasy. Next in line would be Chris Martin, and ultimately Shane Greene. It is hard to stash Greene while he is not pitching, but Martin could be stashed, as he has pitched well in his limited action this season (1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP). The best arm for ratios here is Tyler Matzek, who has pitched to a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, a Braves bullpen low 3.10 SIERA and a whopping 36 percent strikeout rate. 

Baltimore Orioles 

Cesar Valdez has had a rough month of May with a 9.53 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP to go with two saves and two blown opportunities. Still, he is the closer, at least for now. If you have him on your roster and are in good standing in the saves category, you could shop him in case these struggles linger. If he loses the gig, Paul Fry is likely next in line. He can also provide ratios as he’s pitched to a 2.50 ERA, 2.66 SIERA, 1.06 WHIP and a very high 37 percent strikeout rate. He is a great stash now as he provides strikeouts and ratios and could soon start providing saves if a change is made. 

Boston Red Sox

Matt Barnes is both the best pitcher in this bullpen and the clear-cut closer. He is rostered everywhere, as he should be. However, there are two other arms worth taking notice of in this bullpen. They are Adam Ottavino and Garrett Whitlock, who are pitching in setup roles right now. It would take an injury for either to get save chances, but they do provide ratios for the time being. If there was an injury, Ottavino likely gets the first crack at saves since he has closing experience. Both should be added in AL-only formats if they have not been already, with Ottavino having the edge. 

Chicago Cubs

Craig Kimbrel remains the undisputed closer and an elite one at that. He will remain the closer unless he is injured or traded. There are two pitchers to take notice pf here though, even though it's unlikely they see any saves anytime soon. The first is Andrew Chafin, who could be a source of saves in the second half as the Cubs are expected to be sellers, which would almost ensure they trade Kimbrel. Chafin has pitched to a 2.42 ERA, 0.94 WHIP with a 26 percent strikeout rate. The other fantasy-relevant arm here is Rex Brothers, who has pitched to a 3.00 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a whopping 41 percent strikeout rate. Both of these relievers provide quality ratios and strikeouts, and could see some saves after the trade deadline. 

Thursday Update: With Kimbrel needing some rest the Cubs turned to Ryan Tepera to pick up the four-out save. He struck out two. He would be in the saves picture as well if Kimbrel were to be dealt. 

Chicago White Sox

Just like their crosstown rivals, this bullpen is pretty straightforward. Liam Hendriks is an elite closer that should be started every week in every league. The other reliever to take note of here is Aaron Bummer, who has pitched to a 3.38 ERA, 1.39 WHIP with a 31 percent strikeout rate. He would be next up for saves, but it would take an injury to Hendricks. Since it would take an injury for him to get saves, and his ratios are good but not elite, you can find a better reliever to add off the waiver wire. 

Cincinnati Reds 

On Tuesday, the Reds had a save opportunity and turned to Amir Garrett initially in the ninth. He recorded two outs but did allow a home run to Josh Bell, which then led to the Reds turning to Lucas Sims for the final out. It was his second save of the season. He is now the third Reds reliever with multiple saves this season. Five total pitchers here have picked up a save.

Tejay Antone pitched 2.2 shutout innings in the game, and while he is no lock to get the save opportunities, he is still the Reds reliever to like most while this bullpen is so unclear. He has a 1.73 ERA, the only pitcher with a save on this team with an ERA below four, as well as a 0.69 WHIP and 36 percent strikeout rate. They seem to value Garrett in the late inning role, which would make him worth holding onto in fantasy leagues. I rank the fantasy viable relievers here: Antone, Garrett, Sims, Doolittle, Hembree. 

Cleveland Indians 

There are just two arms worth rostering in fantasy from this bullpen and both provide some saves. Emmanuel Clase leads them with eight saves, but James Karinchak has six and has been utilized more in save situations as of late. While both will be used to pick up saves, I prefer Karinchak because he is one of the best relievers in the game. He has pitched to a 1.25 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and a 49 percent strikeout rate. Clase has pitched to a 0.83 ERA, with a 1.43 WHIP and a 22 percent strikeout rate. 

Thursday Update: Karinchak pitched the ninth with a four-run lead. He did allow a home run, but his usage in the ninth inning is encouraging. 

Colorado Rockies 

Daniel Bard still is the closer… for now. On the season he has pitched to a 5.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP and has five saves with three blown saves. He is a threat to blow up your ratios on any given night, but he also gets the save chances, which has value in fantasy. Although, the last save opportunity did go to Carlos Estevez, who now has two on the year. He has been more effective as well, pitching to a 2.92 ERA, with a 1.14 WHIP, 27 percent strikeout rate and a 3.57 SIERA. He is available on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues and is a nice stash option. I would not start him until we see him used more in save situations, but we could be one bad Bard outing away from a change being permanent. 

Detroit Tigers 

There are two must-roster arms in this bullpen and both happen to get save chances. Gregory Soto has been in the saves picture all year for the Tigers, and he did pick up his fifth save earlier this week. In that same game Michael Fulmer, the other pitcher worth rostering here, picked up his fourth win. Soto has pitched to a 3.32 ERA, with a 1.68 WHIP, 23 percent strikeout rate and a 4.72 SIERA. Fulmer on the other hand has pitched to a 2.70 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2.71 SIERA and a 30 percent strikeout rate. There is no denying Fulmer has been the more productive reliever, and due to that, he is the one I prefer of the two. Both are worth rostering in Roto formats. The rest of the bullpen can be left on the waiver wire. 

Houston Astros 

Ryan Pressly is the clear cut closer here, but he is dealing with a minor neck issue, which led to Bryan Abreu picking up the save on Wednesday. He could remain in the saves picture if Pressly misses extended time. This bullpen has been pretty rough outside of Pressly, which has led to Cristian Javier leaving the rotation and joining the bullpen. Ryne Stanek has pitched pretty well (3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), but there are relievers who provide better ratios on the waiver wire. 

Kansas City Royals 

This bullpen could keep on changing. We saw Kyle Zimmer pick up his second save of the season this week against the Rays. He picked up a win in his outing before that. Additionally, Josh Staumont struggled pitching in the eighth and giving up two runs on four hits and a walk. He is worth holding onto for now, as we need more clarity out of this bullpen, but Zimmer is definitely breathing down his neck. If available, Zimmer should be added in all Roto formats until this situation plays out. Again, you would always rather add a potential closer before they are officially awarded the job, as it only drives up the price. If you need ratios, Scott Barlow can provide those. He has pitched to a 2.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.84 SIERA and a 34 percent strikeout rate. 

Los Angeles Angels 

This bullpen is pretty straight forward for fantasy purposes. Raisel Iglesias is the closer and if he struggles, Mike Mayers, who already has two saves, is next in line. Iglesias is worth rostering in all formats, while Mayers could be added in deeper leagues. The rest of this bullpen can be ignored. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Kenley Jansen is the clear closer in this bullpen and should be started in all formats. If you are in need of ratios, and potentially saves should anything happen to Jansen, Blake Treinen is your guy. He has pitched to a 1.89 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.73 SIERA and has a 28 percent strikeout rate. He can provide ratios for those in need in deeper leagues. 

Miami Marlins 

Yimi Garcia is the only must-roster option in this bullpen. He has picked up nine saves while pitching to a 1.31 ERA, with a 0.87 WHIP and 27 percent strikeout rate. Outside of him, Dylan Floro would be the next arm to take interest in. He is perceived as the next man up for saves here and does provide good ratios, with a 3.10 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 21 percent strikeout rate. However, you can likely find better ratios with a higher strikeout rate on the waiver wire. 

Thursday Update: Garcia came in the ninth of a tie game and allowed a run on one hit and one walk. He took his third loss of the season. It was not a great outing, but do not worry about him just yet. 

Milwaukee Brewers 

This bullpen is as straightforward as they come. Josh Hader is an elite closer and rostered everywhere. If he was to miss time, Devin Williams is likely the next man up. Williams' numbers are not as dominant as last season, but he is over his early season struggles but he still provides good ratios and a great strikeout rate. In fact, his 3.30 SIERA is still the second-best of any reliever with double-digit innings pitched, behind only Hader. The rest of this bullpen can be left on the waiver wire. 

Thursday Update: Devin Williams struggled allowing two earned runs and picking up his third blown save. 

Minnesota Twins

The Twins may be the most interesting bullpen in all of fantasy baseball. This week alone we have seen Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles each pick up a save. Both now have three on the season. Rogers has pitched to a 2.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2.25 SIERA with a 33 percent strikeout rate. That is compared to a 3.32 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.34 SIERA and a 26 percent strikeout rate for Robles. While Rogers has been more effective, we have seen Robles used more in save situations as of late. Rogers is a lefty, which managers do not tend to save for the ninth, as they would rather pick their shots with them. As of now, both are worth rostering, and even starting, in Roto formats. However, I would expect Robles to see more save opportunities unless he struggles. The rest of this bullpen can be left alone. 

New York Mets 

Edwin Diaz is the unquestioned closer here. Not only that, but he has shook off some of his early-season struggles and looked like a much more effective pitcher as of late. He’s yet to blow a save this season. If you need ratios, Trevor May is the best bet as he has pitched to a 2.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and a 32 percent strikeout rate. For those in NL only leagues, Miguel Castro is worth taking notice of, as he has pitched to a 3.12 ERA, 2.76 SIERA, 1.21 WHIP with a 38 percent strikeout rate. 

Thursday Update: Edwin Diaz notched his ninth save of the season in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The Mets turned to Robert Gsellman in game two with a three run lead, but he failed to get out the inning. Jacob Barnes did and picked up his second save of the season. 

New York Yankees 

Aroldis Chapman has been ridiculously good this season pitching to a 0.47 ERA, 1.55 SIERA, 0.74 WHIP with a 53 percent strikeout rate, all while picking up 11 saves. If he misses time, Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green would be the next options up. Loaisiga has two saves this season while pitching to a 2.49 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a 22 percent strikeout rate. Green has picked up a save while pitching to a 2.25 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and a 26 percent strikeout rate. Both should be rostered in AL-only leagues and could be stashed in 15-team leagues, with a slight lean to Green over Loaisiga. 

Oakland A’s 

Both Jake Diekman and Lou Trivino have six saves for the A’s. Diekman has done so with a 2.95 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 33 percent strikeout rate and a 3.04 SIERA. Trivino on the other hand has a 3.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 23 percent strikeout rate and a 4.36 SIERA. Both should be rostered and started, n all Roto formats, with the slight advantage going to Diekman due to the higher strikeout rate. The rest of this bullpen can be ignored for fantasy purposes. 

Philadelphia Phillies 

Hector Neris just keeps getting the job done as the closer in Philly. There are two other arms worth taking notice of here and both would likely be next in line should Neris struggle or miss time. The first is Jose Alvarado, who has pitched to a 3.38 ERA, 1.44 WHIP with a 32 percent strikeout rate. The other is Sam Coonrod, who has pitched to a 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 25 percent strikeout rate. I believe Coonrod would get the first opportunity, as Alvarado is wild and allows a lot of base runners. However, he is a hard-throwing lefty, and managers like to be able to pick their spots with southpaws. Coonrod is a stash candidate for all Roto formats 12-teams or deeper, while Alvarado is more of a 15-team or NL-only add. 

Thursday Update: Jose Alvarado allowed a game tying run, but picked up the win. Hector Neris earned his ninth save of the season and lowered his ERA to 1.99. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Richard Rodriguez is the clear cut closer here and should be started in all formats. The only issue is the Pirates have just six saves all season. Kyle Crick is viewed as the next man up and he is a deeper league stash candidate, as he has pitched to a 1.46 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and a 25 percent strikeout rate. The Pirates also have a number of pitchers that can provide ratios for NL-only leagues. David Bednar has pitched to a 3.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a 33 percent strikeout rate. Clay Holmes has pitched to a 3.09 ERA, 1.07 WHIP with a 23 percent strikeout rate. Lastly, if you need strikeouts, Sam Howard has pitched to a 3.45 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and has a whopping 40 percent strikeout rate. 

San Diego Padres

If Mark Melancon stays healthy, there is a good chance he is going to win people their leagues this season. He has picked up 17 saves already while pitching to a 0.81 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. The Padres bullpen is a great source of ratios and strikeouts. Here are there relievers with a sub-3.10 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with over a 25 percent strikeout rate (ranked in order of fantasy relevance): Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan, Craig Stammen, Austin Adams, Tim Hill, Pierce Johnson and Ryan Weathers.

Seattle Mariners

Kendall Graveman is on the IL, which should lead to more save opportunities for Rafael Montero. He picked up his sixth save of the season this week. When Graveman returns you can expect the duo to split the closer role. Montero was dropped in a lot of leagues earlier, but if he is out there, he is worth grabbing. With Graveman sidelined, we did see Kenyan Middleton pick up a save this week, his third of the season. He is purely a deep league (15-team or AL only) add, but if you are in need of saves he is worth taking a shot on while Graveman is sidelined. 

San Francisco Giants 

This bullpen has two arms worth rostering in Roto formats. After starting the year as the clear closer, Jake McGee has seen a lot of save opportunities go to Tyler Rogers. Rogers picked up his sixth this week, while McGee pitched the eighth and got the hold. It seems like Rogers is the top option, but they will play the matchups and use McGee at times as well. 

St. Louis Cardinals 

Alex Reyes has picked up 14 saves while pitching to a 0.69 ERA, with a 1.35 WHIP. He’s also yet to blow a save. While the advanced stats do not paint as pretty of a picture, the job is definitely his until he struggles for a prolonged period of time. Giovanny Gallegos, substance on hat and all, is a strong provider of ratios and strikeouts. He has pitched to a 1.86 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 2.63 SIERA and a 32 percent strikeout rate. Not only does he provide those ratios, he is likely the next man up if anything happens to Reyes. 

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have now had six different pitchers pick up a save for them this season. Diego Castillo leads them with eight saves, and should still be viewed as the top closing option here, but the Rays are starting to become a little unpredictable with the save opportunities. We most recently saw J.P. Feyereisen get his first career save this week. The save before that went to Castillo. I would rank the relievers here: Castillo, Peter Fairbanks, Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge, Jeffrey Springs

Texas Rangers 

Ian Kennedy is still the closer here, picking up 11 of the Rangers' 12 saves this season. He should be started in all formats. Joely Rodriguez is likely next in line should anything happen to Kennedy. His 6.23 ERA or 1.54 WHIP are not pretty, but his 2.59 SIERA and 23 percent strikeout paint a brighter picture. Still, unless Kennedy starts struggling, he can be left on the waiver wire. 

Toronto Blue Jays 

We need to see more out of this bullpen to fully figure out who the closer is between Jordan Romano, Rafael Dolis and Tyler Chatwood, but what we have seen in recent days could be telling. Romano has pitched the ninth in his last two appearances, albeit in none save situations. One was a tie game, and the most recent was with a four-run lead, but that one was lined up to be a save until the Blue Jays scored in the eighth. Chatwood pitched in relief in that game. All three provide strong ratios (besides Dolis’ ERA) and strikeouts to deem worthy of rostering.

With it looking like Romano has been saved for the ninth, I would rank them Romano, Dolis, Chatwood. Chatwood provides better ratios and strikeouts than Dolis, but Dolis is more likely to get a save chance. We will get Julian Merryweather back at some point this summer as well. 

Thursday Update: BIG update here! Jordan Romano picked up the save in the first game of a double-header against the Yankees. He was the only reliever used and has to be viewed as the top save option in this bullpen going forward. 

Washington Nationals 

Brad Hand has bounced back from a couple of bumps in the road. On the season he has picked up all seven of the Nationals saves and should be started everywhere. Daniel Hudson is next in line should anything happen to Hand and a provider of strong ratios. He has pitched to a 1.06 ERA, 2.56 SIERA, 0.65 WHIP with a 36 percent strikeout rate. You can make the case he is the best reliever in this bullpen. He is a fine reliever to grab for the ratios and strikeouts, who also has a chance to pick up some saves down the road. 

Thursday Update: Brad Hand picked up his eighth save of the season. Daniel Hudson had his 10th hold. 

All stats entering Thursday, May 27th, unless otherwise stated. 

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.



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Bubba Wallace Starts 2024 Off With Back-To-Back Top Five Finishes
Todd Gilliland5 days ago

Despite Poor Finish, Todd Gilliland Has Big Day At Atlanta
Chris Duncan6 days ago

Gets Submitted Quickly At UFC Mexico City
Manuel Torres6 days ago

Remains Undefeated In The UFC
Yair Rodriguez6 days ago

Gets Finished At UFC Mexico City
Brian Ortega6 days ago

Gets Submission Win At UFC Mexico City
Joey Logano6 days ago

Will Have to Serve Penalty at Start of Atlanta Race
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