The Hold Up 4/18: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

After signing Josh Hader, the Astros bullpen was widely expected to be this juggernaut at the backend with the three headed monster of Hader, Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu. As things stand today, Hader has a 8.31 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, Pressly a 9.45 ERA and 2.25 WHIP and Abreu a 6.00 ERA and 1.89 WHIP. It’s obviously been a disappointing start to the season for this team and for these three relievers, but this is still such a small sample size to be overly concerned with. Abreu looked great his last time out and is still getting Whiffs (35.4%), Hader’s underlying metrics are great (37.8% K rate, 2.01 xFIP) and Pressly’s stuff is still grading out well above average (5.36 PLV, 132 Stuff+). Trust the track record with these guys over a three week span and if they are still struggling a month from now, then we may have to reconsider rostering them.




  • Yimi García has been one of the hottest relievers this year with a 38% K rate and 0.35 WHIP over 8.2 IP. He’s throwing a little hard (less than 1 MPH) and has actually been using his secondaries less but he’s been dominant nonetheless. Even with Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano back, Garcia should still see plenty of hold chances, especially with Chad Green dealing with a shoulder issue.
  • With José Leclerc out of the closer role, David Robertson gets bumped up to the 8th inning spot in front of now closer Kirby Yates and despite a couple of hiccups, has been just fine this season so far. That’s kind of where we are at with Robertson at this stage of his career, we can expect solid ratios and hold chances, but I don’t see a K rate 30% or higher happening.


  • With the injury to John Brebbia it does in fact look like Jordan Leasure will get looks as the teams secondary set up option, which gives him some value because this team can not sustain having 3 hold options, especially when they like their closer working the 8th and 9th innings. I don’t see anything yet to make me say Leasure is a must add anywhere, he looks fine for now but I just hope to see another gear from him.
  • It looks like the Red Sox may have hit on another Rule 5 pitcher in Justin Slaten, who to this point has been their best reliever by far. The command could be a bit better here overall, but this is a guy with three plus pitches (similar to Garrett Whitlock in that sense) and he’s already worked his way into a set up role behind veterans Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen. If Martin and Jansen are moved at the deadline, who knows, maybe Slaten gets some saves down the stretch (unless Liam Hendriks returns).


  • Adam Ottavino is still doing his thing and throwing his Sweeper over 40% of the time (last year was at 27.8% for some reason) with hitters being paralyzed by it as he has a 28% Called Strike rate so far this season. Will see what happens once hitters start swinging the bat more, but for now we will take the K’s from the Mets setup man.
  • Ryne Stanek continues to plenty of save and hold chances, and that could continue even after Matt Brash returns (probably not so much once Gregory Santos is back), and I want to be excited for Stanek with an uptick in velo but I just don’t have a ton of faith he will be a year long contributor.


  • Lucas Sims still has a plus (maybe plus plus) slider but he’s having command issues again and I’m not sure he holds on to a setup role in Cincinnati once they get some of their injured relievers back. Fernando Cruz continues to be the best arm in this bullpen and theres a case to be made Emilio Pagán is a better option than Sims right now.
  • Alex Lange and Alex Vesia, the two underwhelming Alex’s so far, are off the fantasy radar at this point until they start producing. They both have high walk rates right now, issues that have plagued them in them in recent years.


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

SP Eligible Relievers


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

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.

2 responses to “The Hold Up 4/18: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Brian says:

    Megill has been on The Hold Up since 4/4 and has not pitched since March 30th.

  2. Mario Mendoza says:

    Abreu’s velo is down a full tick. Concerned?

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