The Hold Up 4/11: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2024 season.

We are currently in the second week of the season so this is not the time for overreactions, rather the time for calibration. The hardest part of this list is trying to predict how bullpen usage will play out before the season starts, but now that we are two weeks in, we start getting an idea of who teams are trusting in their high-leverage spots.

In Toronto, Chad Green has filled in as the team’s closer and done an admirable job doing so but with the returns of Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson imminent, Green and Yimi García will likely be competing for that secondary setup role. García has been great this season but surprisingly has yet to pick up a hold or save. That should change shortly, even with reinforcements on the way.

The Philadelphia bullpen is rounding into form as well, as José Alvarado has not allowed a run since his Opening Day debacle and the trio of Matt Strahm, Seranthony Domínguez, and Gregory Soto have combined for eight holds so far. Things could change here with Orion Kerkering also potentially returning in the next week, but I think Strahm should be relatively safe as he’s been the most consistent reliever behind Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman since last season. The upside in Soto, Domínguez, and Kerkering as well make them worth a look in deeper holds leagues, but there’s also added volatility with them (as is with most relievers, to be honest).




  • Steven Okert has just as many saves as Griffin Jax to open the year as the Twins have been playing matchups in the later innings. Okert’s slider continues to be a plus offering and he’s even upped the usage to 72% this season. Another name to keep an eye on in this bullpen is Jorge Alcala, who when healthy, is one of the better relievers in all of baseball. If he stays healthy he should move up the depth chart there.
  • It’s been a terrible start to the season for Marlins’ pitchers, but a (somewhat) pleasant surprise has been Anthony Bender. Seeing him healthy again and working in high-leverage spots is nice, now we just want to see his velo tick back up towards his 2021-22 numbers and hopefully, that slider/sweeper can start racking up Whiffs again.


  • Gabe Speier is dealing with a neck issue but he was able to pitch on Tuesday this week. Even when (if?) the Mariners bullpen gets back to full strength, Speier should carve out some sort of role that could see hold chances as the team’s top left-handed option.
  • Ryan Brasier just continues to be effective with the Dodgers as he’s been able to limit the type of hard contact that plagued him when he was with the Red Sox. Whether or not he sees consistent hold chances there could come down to Daniel Hudson who has looked great so far although the velo is still down two mph from 2021-22. The slider may still be good enough to overcome the velo drop.


  • Steven Wilson has gotten off to a nice start with his new team and looks locked as the White Sox’ top setup option. Wilson has a history of starting off hot in the first half (2.80 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 27% K rate) and then cooling down in the second half (4.35 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 23% K rate) so something to keep an eye on down the road. With John Brebbia landing on the IL, perhaps we will see Jordan Leasure actually get consistent hold chances as the White Sox have been reluctant to put him into high-leverage situations. Then again, he still is tied for the team lead in holds with one (he pitched the sixth inning in the team’s second game).
  • Kirby Yates has impressed in his first four outings for the Rangers and has yet to walk anyone. With closer José Leclerc firmly on the hot seat (despite what Bruce Bochy has said), I wouldn’t be shocked to see Yates be the next in line over David Robertson, who may be better suited for the high leverage/fireman role. As long as Yates can keep that walk around or under 10%, he could be in for a big season, as the closer or not.


  • Adam Ottavino still remains the top setup option with the Mets (Brooks Raley is more of the matchup-dependent lefty) despite a downtick in stuff last season, but there could still be some value left here. Ottavino’s fastballs have had issues in the past, so it was interesting to see him throwing his sinker more than his sweeper last year, something that needs to change this year and so far it has. Ottavino has never thrown his sweeper over 50% of the time in his career, but this may be the year to start.
  • The Guardians may have found their next two breakout relievers in Hunter Gaddis and Cade Smith. Gaddis already has three holds on the year and it’s great to see his velo up to 96.5 mph as he works in a relief role now. Smith may not have any holds yet, but he does have a 46.3% Whiff rate with 12 Ks over 7.2 IP so far as his 96 mph fastball really plays up due to the 7.6″ of extension he gets.


If you would like more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series.

SP Eligible Relievers


Rank Pitcher Change
1Bryan AbreuT1-
2Ryan Pressly-
3A.J. Minter-
4Trevor Megill-
5Brock Stewart-
6Ian Hamilton-
7Aroldis Chapman+2
8Jason Adam+2
9Hunter Harvey+4
10Jeff Hoffman+1
11Scott Barlow+4
12JoJo Romero+9
13Erik Swanson+UR
14Yennier Cano-
15Joe Jiménez+3
16Giovanny Gallegos+4
17Fernando Cruz+5
18Chris Martin-6
19Joe Kelly+4
20Danny Coulombe+4
21Orion Kerkering+UR
22Matt Strahm
23Andrew Nardi-6
24Alex Vesia-5
25Yuki Matsui-
26Gregory Soto+8
27Alex Lange+1
28Brooks Raley+8
29Héctor Neris-3
30Shelby Miller+7
31John Schreiber-2
32Steven Okert+10
33Yimi García+UR
34Taylor Rogers+1
35Lucas Sims+6
36Phil Maton+3
37Colin Poche+1
38Daniel Hudson+7
39Seranthony Domínguez+13
40Matt Moore+6
41David Robertson+8
42Anthony Bender
43Andrew Kittredge+1
44Gabe Speier-14
45Chad Green+13
46Joel Payamps-15
47Ryan Brasier+16
48Steven Wilson+17
49Kirby Yates+19
50Nick Sandlin+12
51Adam Ottavino+18
52Pierce Johnson-12
53Trevor Richards+8
54Tyler Rogers-4
55Jorge Alcala+23
56Hunter Gaddis+25
57Ryne Stanek+7
58Cade Smith+29
59Jordan Leasure-32
60Justin Slaten-4
61Colin Holderman+UR
62Rafael Montero+12
63Kyle Nelson
64Austin Adams+34
65Emilio Pagán-12
66George Soriano-12
67Caleb Ferguson-10
68Shawn Armstrong-2
69Nick Burdi+10
70Tyler Holton-3
71Andrew Chafin+15
72Dylan Lee-24
73Tyler Matzek-26
74Isaiah Campbell-1
75Aaron Bummer-4
76Mark Leiter Jr.+4
77Ryan Walker+15
78Tim Herrin+17
79Nate Pearson-2
80Tom Cosgrove+17
81Will Vest+1
82Dillon Tate+1
83Elvis Peguero
84Sixto Sánchez-25
85Hoby Milner-15
86Luke Little+2
87Bryan Hudson+2
88Tim Mayza-16
89Miguel Castro-14
90Josh Winckowski-14
91Scott McGough-7
92Greg Weissert+1
93Enyel De Los Santos+1
94Victor González+5
95Landen Roupp+5
96Kyle Muller+UR
97Joely Rodríguez+UR
98Drew Smith+UR
99Ryan Thompson+UR
100Jordan Weems+UR


Photos courtesy of Icon Sportswire
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@kurtwasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram)

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.

5 responses to “The Hold Up 4/11: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Bob says:

    Need some advice. I don’t like rostering more than 4 RP in a S+H league. I have Diaz, M. Miller, Chapman and Abreu. Should I lose one for Fairbanks who was dropped?

  2. Dan says:

    Personally I’d try to pick him up and roster 5. I know you said 4 so if I had to drop one it’d be Miller, but that sucks, his ratios are elite, just won’t get save opps

  3. Chris says:

    Abreu needs to drop down. He hasn’t looked right all year. He was abysmal this spring and is off to a very poor start. He doesn’t look right. Velocity down, pitches not moving, etc. I think he is broken from being overworked.

    • Rick Graham says:

      yea I don’t disagree necessarily. Trying to be patient here since he was so dominant the past two seasons and I also don’t know who else is deserving of the top spot.

  4. Bob says:

    I dropped Abreu. Maybe out of rage. But Fairbanks looked great the other night.

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