Guessing (Not Predicting) the Relievers Likely to Pick Up A Win

If you go to our 2021 Leaderboards, look at team relief pitcher stats, and sort by wins, you’ll see an interesting top five. The Rays, as you might have guessed, are holding the one spot by 10 wins at 56. They are followed by the Giants (46 wins), the Yankees (45 wins), and the Mets and Brewers (tied with 44 wins). If you’re like me and you’ve given up on your pitching ratios long, long ago, but are still fighting to win your league, you need wins and saves. Strikeouts are also welcome, too.

There’s some reason to believe that teams that have clinched will begin limiting their starters as they creep closer and closer towards the playoffs. You may see where this is going. I must say, I did second guess myself multiple times while writing this article. Predicting relievers to record a win in the last week of the season certainly isn’t rocket science, but there’s a reason you won’t see rest of season projections try to predict them either. But, if your starting pitcher limits are nearly reached and you need more counting stats, dropping starters and filling their spots with available relievers who could potentially add wins or saves is a must. Double-check your league rules to be sure, but in most daily leagues there are no limits on relief pitchers. For example, my ESPN roto league has a 200 games started cap, but no innings cap. Now is the time to drop your starters who are likely done for the season and fill them with last-ditch effort relievers. It may be like throwing a dart at a dartboard, but let’s just hope, for everyone’s sake, you aim before you throw. 


Remaining opponents: Astros and Yankees.

Looking at our Roster Resource Probables Grid you’ll see the Rays are expected to roll out five more starters the rest of the way. Shane McClanahan has gone at least five innings pitched in his last 11 starts and Drew Rasmussen is usually around five innings in a start. But Luis Patiño has had three starts with three innings pitched or less in his last seven starts. Patiño combined with Andrew Kittredge could be a nice one-two punch, but if you’re worried about lowering your ERA or WHIP, beware of these two offenses that will be looking to make some noise. 

You might also consider:

Josh Fleming: 6 wins, 1 save

Collin McHugh: 6 wins, 1 save

White Sox

Remaining opponents: Reds and Tigers.

It’s hard to imagine the White Sox taxing any of their starters heading into the playoffs. While Carlos Rodón battles arm soreness at the end of a great season, you have to figure he’s just going in to stay loose and test what he can do. Liam Hendriks and Craig Kimbrel won’t just give them away, but there are a few relievers who have accumulated wins for the White Sox this year and they could be lining up for more in the next few days. Aaron Bummer leads the group with four wins and Garrett Crochet and Michael Kopech are tied with three. Any one of these relievers would be a good addition to the roster at this point in the season if you’re hunting for wins. 


Remaining opponents: Diamondbacks and Padres.

The Giants seem likely to pull their starters earlier than usual in the last week of the season. Last night, Logan Webb only went five innings and opened the door for a Jose Alvarez win. Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee have held the high leverage roles for most of the year, but Jarlín García (6 wins) and Camilo Doval (5 wins) have done well in close games. 

You might also consider:

Zack Littell: 4 wins, 2 saves

José Álvarez: 5 wins, 0 saves


Remaining opponents: Padres and Brewers. 

There are 15 relief pitchers who have accumulated at least one win on the Dodgers. The top of that list shows the usual suspects, Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen, but David Price and Phil Bickford have four wins as well. With the Dodgers still fighting for the division with the Giants, it’s hard to say whether they will rest starters. For example on Sunday, Julio Urias went only five innings. But, just last night Walker Buehler went seven and got the win. Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw are expected to start on Thursday and Friday and that may be the time to load up on Dodgers relievers as those two are likely to be limited in their pitch counts. 

You might also consider:

Alex Vesia: 3 wins, 1 save

Brusdar Graterol: 3 wins


Remaining opponents: Cardinals and Dodgers.

Brandon Woodruff only threw four innings last night. Freddy Peralta went into the sixth inning on Sunday. Corbin Burnes went a full seven on Saturday. That doesn’t really leave you confident in picking up all Brewers relievers. Brent Suter has accumulated 12 wins this season but his last win was on August 15th. Aaron Ashby on the other hand has recorded two wins in September and could be worth considering especially on Thursday when the Brewers are expected to roll out Brett Anderson who is still getting back to normal after a shoulder injury. 

You might also consider:

Brad Boxberger: 5 wins, 4 saves

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2 years ago

Um, Wandy Peralta is a Yankee reliever. Freddy Peralta is a Brewers starting pitcher