The Hold Up 3/28: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks the top pitchers to own for holds.

Rank Player Team
1. Ryan Pressly Houston Astros
2. Andrew Miller St. Louis Cardinals
3. Seranthony Dominguez Philadelphia Phillies
4. Jeurys Familia New York Mets
5. Joe Jimenez Detroit Tigers
6. Taylor Rogers Minnesota Twins
7. Keone Kela Pittsburgh Pirates
8. Adam Ottavino New York Yankees
9. Ryan Brasier Boston Red Sox
10. Dellin Betances New York Yankees
11. AJ Minter Atlanta Braves
12. Joakim Soria Oakland Athletics
13. Trevor Rosenthal Washington Nationals
14. Diego Castillo Tampa Bay Rays
15. Ty Buttrey Los Angeles Angels
16. Archie Bradley Arizona Diamondbacks
17. Craig Stammen San Diego Padres
18. Jeremy Jeffress Milwaukee Brewers
19. Jace Fry Chicago White Sox
20. Tony Watson San Francisco Giants
21. Carl Edwards Jr. Chicago Cubs
22. Adam Conley Miami Marlins
23. Richard Rodriguez Pittsburgh Pirates
24. Seung-Hwan Oh Colorado Rockies
25. Hector Rondon Houston Astros
26. Kelvin Herrera Chicago White Sox
27. Blake Parker Minnesota Twins
28. Drew Steckenrider Miami Marlins
29. Zack Britton New York Yankees
30. Hector Neris Philadelphia Phillies
31. Chad Green New York Yankees
32. Reyes Moronta San Francisco Giants
33. Chris Devenski Houston Astros
34. Scott Oberg Colorado Rockies
35. Lou Trivino Oakland Athletics
36. David Hernandez Cincinnati Reds
37. Yoshihisa Hirano Arizona Diamondbacks
38. Oliver Perez Cleveland Indians
39. Will Harris Houston Astros
40. Seth Lugo New York Mets
41. Pedro Baez Los Angeles Dodgers
42. Chaz Roe Tampa Bay Rays
43. Amir Garrett Cincinnati Reds
44. Justin Anderson Los Angeles Angels
45. Jared Hughes Cincinnati Reds
46. Joe Kelly Los Angeles Dodgers
47. Jesse Chavez Texas Rangers
48. Kyle Crick Pittsburgh Pirates
49. Steve Cishek Chicago Cubs
50. Ryne Stanek Tampa Bay Rays
51. Dominic Leone St. Louis Cardinals
52. Phil Maton San Diego Padres
53. Juan Nicasio Philadelphia Phillies
54. Brad Brach Chicago Cubs
55. Bud Norris Toronto Blue Jays
56. Tyler Olson Cleveland Indians
57. Ryan Buchter Oakland Athletics
58. Sam Dyson San Francisco Giants
59. Chad Sobotka Atlanta Braves
60. John Brebbia St. Louis Cardinals
61. Trevor Hildenberger Minnesotta Twins
62. Nate Jones Chicago White Sox
63. Pat Neshek Philadelphia Phillies
64. Fernando Rodney Oakland Athletics
65. Kyle Barraclough Washington Nationals
66. Tayron Guerrero Miami Marlins
67. Robert Gsellman New York Mets
68. Alex Reyes St. Louis Cardinals
69. Josh James Houston Astros
70. Jacob Barnes Milwaukee Brewers
71. Shawn Kelley Texas Rangers
72. Neil Ramirez Cleveland Indians
73. Tyler Thornburg Boston Red Sox
74. Corey Gearrin Seattle Mariners
75. Hansel Robles Los Angeles Angels
76. Trey Wingenter San Diego Padres
77, Justin Miller Washington Nationals
78. Jon Edwards Cleveland Indians
79. Andrew Chafin Arizona Diamondbacks
80. Matt Festa Seattle Mariners
81. Cam Bedrosian Los Angeles Angels
82. Adam Cimber Cleveland Indians
83. Tim Mayza Toronto Blue Jays
84. Dylan Floro Los Angeles Dodgers
85. Robert Stock San Diego Padres
86. Jake Diekman Kansas City Royals
87. Heath Hembree Boston Red Sox
88. Yoan Lopez Arizona Diamondbacks
89. Nick Vincent San Francisco Giants
90. Jose Castillo San Diego Padres


It’s one of the most exciting times of the year: Real baseball finally arrives today! With the start of the season comes a lot of uncertainty, specifically when it comes to bullpen usage around the league. Some teams are more transparent than others, but others won’t tip their hand until the games actually mean something. These reliever lists will be fairly volatile for the first month or so—until situations become more clear. For now, these are the top 90 names that I feel could contribute in holds leagues early on in the season, with the back half being one big glob of question marks.


  • Tier 1 would run roughly between Ryan Pressly (#1) and Joakim Soria (#12). These are the guys who are locked into high-leverage roles and we can expect them to keep ratios low while racking up holds. Dellin Betances and A.J. Minter will start the year on the IL, but both should be back within the first week or two of April.
  • Tier 2 goes from Trevor Rosenthal (#13) to Hector Neris (#30) and features the rest of the potential set up options with upside. Rosenthal looks healthy and ready to dominate the eighth inning for the Washington Nationals, but there’s still some injury risk involved owning him. Jeremy Jeffress has a chance to return by the end of April and barring any significant changes to the Milwaukee Brewers roster, he should return to a setup or possibly even closer role. While the Miami Marlins offense may be anemic this year, they have some intriguing arms in the rotation and bullpen, with Adam Conley a potential multi-inning stud late in games.
  • Tier 3 runs from Chad Green (#31) to Steve Cishek (#49) represents relievers who can help fantasy teams right away, but have some limitations or concerns. Just like every year, Green’s upside is unfortunately capped because of how he is used. Lou Trivino looked filthy in the Japan series, so here’s to hoping the first half of 2018 (1.22 ERA) was the real Trivino and not the second half (5.46 ERA).
  • The final tier, tier 4, runs from Ryne Stanek (#51) to super deep league stash candidate Jose Castillo (#90). This tier encompasses the rest of the relievers who are just as likely to shoot to the top of the list as they are to be off the list in a few weeks time. There are a few San Diego Padres in this bunch, all of whom carry some nice upside if they can secure a secondary set up role. Alex Reyes and Josh James both have bullpen roles, but both are expected to get a chance in the rotation at some point this season. However, if they go the other way and begin working in more high leverage situations, they will fly up the board.

Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)

Rick Graham

Rick resides in the Boston area and has experience as a player and coach at the collegiate level. He has been covering relievers for Pitcher List since 2017.

9 responses to “The Hold Up 3/28: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Brad says:

    Kyle Zimmer a candidate for the last group? Shouldn’t take him long to win a late innings role should it?

  2. Bob says:

    No concern about Andrew Miller’s spring? He was atrocious

    • Rick Graham says:

      It’s 5 innings of spring training, where he’s struggled in the past, so no reason to be concerned yet.

  3. Perfect Game says:

    I’m sure you read the articles that it looks like Cora is leaning toward a committee approach for closing out games and won’t name a closer. I would say Barnes and then Brasier would be the preferred options. Barnes is my 3rd closer in a very shallow league. Even splitting duties with Brasier I see him getting 15-20 saves instead of the 40+ Kimbrel would get as the sole closer. Barnes with 15-20 saves and high K% would still be better than Colome who is available and the full-time closer for ChiSox (for now) for counting stats. Do you agree?

  4. Ian says:

    So you’re thinking Diego Castillo either gets a good amount of late inning chances as well as opening for the Rays?

    Also, Joe Kelly seems awfully low considering the Dodgers paid him pretty well in free agency.

    Thanks for the article. Always love these one on some of the more under the radar guys

    • Rick Graham says:

      It looks like Castillo is lined up to pitch in front of Alvarado for the most part. Hopefully that sticks.

      I just don’t trust Joe Kelly yet despite the great playoff performance. Elite stuff yet he always puts up very mediocre numbers but hopefully, he can turn it around in LA.

  5. Rek says:

    Any reason for being (relatively) down on Chaz Roe? I really like his stuff and he was right up there in holds last year. Is it a talent thing, or opportunity?

    Also just a heads up that this article isn’t appearing in the “Hold Up” section of the site, so I missed it initially! Looks like it’s only tagged with “Rankings”.

    Same issue with today’s SV+HD article.

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