What’s poppin, Razzpimples? Bullpen update time!
Don’t forget, the Razzball Bullpen Chart is manned by yours truly and updated like every single second (not really, but I stay on top of thangs for the most part). And directly below, you’ll see a current look at the Top 15 RP (in both 5×5 standard leagues and 6×6 saves/holds leagues) via our Player Rater. Subscribers also get access to the incredibly handy Relievonator Game Log, which tracks every single relief appearance from the last 14 days, including what inning they were called upon and how many batters/pitches they faced/threw.
Alrighty, let’s do it to it. (Note: Monday’s games do not factor in)
Player Rater Top 15 (5×5 Standard)
Player Rater Top 15 (6×6 w/ Holds)
Andres Muñoz is the new studliest of stud closers to have in fantasy baseball. I hope you went and scooped this dude the millisecond Sewald got dealt, cuz Muñoz could very well be the #1 fantasy reliever ROS. While he did get saved by a ground rule double that would have otherwise scored a tying run (and thus blowing the save opp), he’s looked as expected in the closer role for the Mariners. For the week, he collected 3 SV and 1 HLD while striking out eight in 3.1 IP. Generated whiffs 21.4% of the time and walked just a pair (one of which was intentional). Just straight gnarly stuff. He’s upper-echelon elite, but I think you probably knew that already.
On the holds side of things for Seattle, it’s actually Matt Brash pulling ahead of Justin Topa for the moment. Brash collected 2 W, 1 SV, and 1 HLD this past week, striking out four in 4.1 scoreless. Brash is prone to inconsistency, but he seems pretty locked in right now as he keeps getting called into high-leverage duties. The walks are down and the Ks are still sizzlin. Would prioritize adding him fo sho.
Kyle Finnegan is in the zone now that he’s closing again for the Nationals. Over the last month, he’s got 2 W, 6 SV, and 1 HLD, all while striking out 14 and walking just one in 13 IP. Oh, and he’s allowed just 5 H and 1 ER in that time. This is the Kyle Finnegan I thought we’d have for the majority of the season, and all of a sudden my #20 preseason ranking is looking conservative! Bonkers. He’s up to #13 on both the 5×5 and 6×6 Player Raters now. Can I still take a lap? Not long ago, dude was back in the 40s. Injuries are piling up in this pen, with Mason Thompson being the latest victim. Jordan Weems and Andres Machado are handling setup duties (Weems had 1 W and 2 HLD; Machado had 2 W and 1 HLD).
The Texas Trio of Will Smith, Aroldis Chapman, and Josh Sborz did good work this week. Smith picked up 3 SV while both Chapman and Sborz had 3 HLD. This was supposed to be a shared closer situation between Chapman and Smith, but Smith certainly seems to have the upper hand again. Although Chapman pitched more effectively this week, it’s hard to recommend hanging onto him in a SV-only format. Watch things change this week now that I said that. As for Sborz, he’s been a monster since coming back off the IL, and he sported a 31 SwStr% this week. I am a huge fan of his.
Ryan Pressly was deemed “sore” Sunday and thus didn’t pitch, allowing Bryan Abreu to fill in for the save. Nothing to worry about. I bet he’s back by the time you get around to reading this. Abreu and Hector Neris will continue to be the setup savants in Houston. That’s a nasty trio as well.
Felix Bautista is still the best fantasy RP out there, adding two more saves, four more strikeouts, and 2.2 more scoreless innings to his résumé. Yennier Cano had another week with a great ERA and a poopy WHIP. I do not trust this dude, but the Orioles do, so he’s still chugging holds. I like Danny Coulombe more, and he was able to secure 3 HLD this week.
Camilo Doval leads the league with 33 SV while striking out batters 32.9% of the time. What more needs to be said about him? He’s one of the very best. I’ll add something about someone else in that pen: Luke Jackson. He’s healthy again and has been a dominant setup man in the past. Worth keeping an eye on for sure.
Craig Kimbrel seems to at least have the primary share of the 9th again. It looked a little like the Phillies were starting to play the matchup game. Seranthony Dominguez did get 2 SV this past week, but they came on rest days for Kimbrel. This might still be a fluid-ish situation, but it just feels like Kimbrel is the only real closer here.
Adbert Alzolay was mostly effective this week, converting both save chances and striking out three in 3.1 IP. Good news is he didn’t walk anyone; bad news is he allowed 3 H and 2 ER. Mark Leiter Jr. got 3 HLD and beasted with 9 K and just 1 BB and 1 ER in 5 IP. Nasty.
Jordan Romano is on the up and up, spending the past little while on the IL with back problems. In the interim, it’s been Erik Swanson, Jordan Hicks, Yimi Garcia, and Tim Mayza handling the late-inning stuff. All are pretty viable SVHD options at the moment, but once Romano is back, I expect Swanson and Hicks to be the heaviest lifters.
Carlos Estevez has had better weeks, but let’s not forget how consistent he’s been all season long. His blown save this week was his first in 2023. Maybe if we get a couple more outings like that we can start to panic. Reynaldo Lopez was great, picking up 1 SV and 1 HLD this week, striking out six in 3.2 innings of one-run action. Matt Moore was even better! Pitched well enough to accumulate a negative FIP (-0.07), but he sadly had just 1 HLD to show for it.
Emmanuel Clase continues to underwhelm, and he’s even flirting with dropping out of the Top 15 entirely in both Player Raters up top. I mean, he’s good, he’s just not the #1 RP you paid a hiiiigh price for on draft day. Trevor Stephan pitched great this week, however: 2 HLD, 4:0 K:BB, 0 ER in 3 IP. Rocked a 27.6 SwStr% and 37.9 CSW%. Feels like he should have like 25 HLD at least this year, but somehow he just hasn’t found himself with all that many opportunities. His 3 HLD over the last two weeks is at least competitive on the leaderboard.
Clay Holmes is still pitching extremely well, and he’s earned the #14 ranking on the 5×5 Player Rater as a result. The metrics are looking pretty good and he has Boone’s full confidence to close out games. Tommy Kahnle is steadily becoming a solid holds guy. I love when dudes who are usually hurt a lot…aren’t hurt. Fun to see what they can do. It was that way with Hunter Harvey until, well, he got hurt again. Here’s to hoping Kahnle stays on the mound!
Lastly, I’ll close with my frustrations at the Royals, who weirdly have allowed Austin Cox to enter the saves mix. Carlos Hernandez should be the sole closer, but baseball managers gonna baseball manager it up, I guess. In deeper or AL-only formats, you might take a stab at Cox. Otherwise, don’t bother.
I specialize in bullpens, and I used to do some fantasy hockey as well here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time of day.