The Hold Up 4/27: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2023 season.

This was one of the hardest players to rank this week, but Yennier Cano (despite the small sample size) has the feel and look of a true breakout reliever in the making, hence the move into the top 15. Cano has yet to allow a baserunner over 8.2 IP this season while posting impressive 38.5% K and 71.4% GB rates. PLV grades his stuff out very favorably (5.42) and his changeup currently holds a 53.8% Whiff rate while the sliders are not too shabby with a 2400+ RPM spin rate. He’s already secured the top setup role in Baltimore, and what makes me think this can stick is the combination of the K and GB rates, as that sinker is just a groundball machine with an average 33″ vertical drop (for reference, Gregory Soto’s new slider, see below, has an average vertical movement of 32.8″).



  • With Ryan Pressly getting the weekend off, it was Bryan Abreu securing two saves for the Astros in his absence, which hopefully bodes well for Abreu’s usage moving forward. We know he has the best stuff and upside of anyone in this bullpen, but a week ago he only had two SV+HLDs to his name. Now he’s up to five on the year, to go along with elite level 41.3% K and 42.9% Whiff rates.
  • Trevor Stephan has gotten off to a great start to the season and may have survived some early season velocity concerns as his last outing had him up 1 MPH and getting closer to his 2022 average. With James Karinchak having trouble keeping the ball in the yard, Stephan could emerge as the top setup man in Cleveland. Despite Karinchak’s struggles, I’m still holding on to him in most leagues that count holds, as he has an upside not many on this list do.


  • It may not look like it but Brooks Raley has quietly been the glue to the Mets bullpen, as he has allowed runs in just one of his thirteen outings so far this season. Taking out his appearance against the Brewers on April 4th, Raley has allowed just six hits, while having a 10/1 K/BB ratio over 9.1 IP this season and a whopping 8 holds.
  • The José Quijada closer experience may be coming to an end, but I wouldn’t expect him to completely fall out of the late-inning picture quite yet. The problem here is, and I’ve said it before, Quijada really only has a mediocre fastball in his arsenal, so if his command is near perfect, it will lead to problems. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Moore ahead of him next week.


  • Joe Jiménez hasn’t pitched poorly this season, but nevertheless, the Braves haven’t exactly trusted him in high-leverage spots as he only has two holds on the year, while others such as Jesse Chavez, Nick AndersonDylan Lee, and Collin McHugh (who’s been on the IL) have two or more holds as well. As well as Lee and Anderson have been throwing, I still think Jiménez deserves a shot in a setup role even after Raisel Iglesias returns (which may be very soon).
  • Gregory Soto is still having issues with his control (14.6% BB rate) but the Phillies may have unlocked some more swing-and-miss potential here as Soto currently holds a 34.1% K, 40.8% CSW, and 21.2% SwStr rates. To compare, Soto’s career averages in those categories are  23.5% K, 27.9% CSW, and 11.3% SwStr rates. So what’s the difference? Soto is throwing his slider 46% of the time now, up from 21.6% last season. He’s also dropped 2 MPH on the pitch, that’s added some vertical and horizontal movement on the pitch, which currently holds a 63.6% Whiff rate.


  • Miguel Castro is emerging as the Diamondbacks’ top set up option behind closer Andrew Chafin, as he should be, and while the strikeout rate isn’t ideal, he’s been doing a great job of limiting hard contact and has an impressive 5.42 PLV. Expect the strikeout rate to rise over the next few weeks.
  • My concerns with Hunter Harvey entering the season were what would be his strikeout pitch, and what secondary offering would step up and elevate him to that next reliever tier. It looks like the splitter will be that pitch for Harvey (43% PutAway rate) and after having 1 K in his first 6 outings, has rattled off 12 K’s over his last 5 games and is up to six holds on the year now.


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


Rank Pitcher Change
1Giovanny GallegosT1+2
2Aroldis Chapman-
3Erik Swanson+3
4Bryan Abreu+5
5Jason Adam
6Griffin Jax-1
7Trevor Stephan+5
8James Karinchak-1
9Michael King+1
10Seranthony Domínguez+3
11Adam Ottavino-3
12John Schreiber
13Brusdar Graterol+2
14Yennier Cano+40
15Héctor Neris+4
16Rafael Montero+1
17Matt Brash+1
18Kendall Graveman+2
19Brooks Raley+6
20Nick Anderson+2
21Gregory Soto
22Joe Jiménez-6
23Jorge López-
24Steven Wilson+2
25Taylor Rogers+2
26Craig Kimbrel+UR
27José Quijada-13
28Miguel Castro+9
29Collin McHugh+UR
30Hunter Harvey+11
31Matt Moore
32Caleb Thielbar-1
33Colin Holderman-5
34Will Smith+4
35Carl Edwards Jr.-5
36Joe Mantiply-4
37Drew Smith-3
38Adbert Alzolay+4
39Brandon Hughes+9
40Eli Morgan+9
41Peter Strzelecki
43Jason Foley+15
44Robert Stephenson+41
45Bryan Baker+20
46Scott McGough+18
47Lucas Sims+10
48Jonathan Hernández-8
49Aaron Bummer-2
50Mark Leiter Jr.+5
51Luis Garcia
52Tanner Scott-23
53Dylan Lee-14
54Brock Burke-9
55Trevor Gott+35
56Justin Lawrence-
57Jeremiah Estrada+UR
58Danny Coulombe+1
60Pierce Johnson-16
61Alex Young+14
62Dylan Floro-27
63Ron Marinaccio-12
64Duane Underwood Jr.+12
65Yimi García-19
66Caleb Ferguson+5
67Carlos Hernández-7
68Brad Boxberger-7
69Wandy Peralta-19
70Phil Maton+3
71Génesis Cabrera
72Keegan Thompson+15
73Mason Thompson+15
74Colin Poche+3
75Huascar Brazoban+UR
76Garrett Cleavinger-8
77John Brebbia-8
78Tim Mayza-6
79Connor Brogdon-
81Shelby Miller+UR
82Alex Vesia-12
83Zach Jackson+UR
84Ryne Stanek-22
85Jordan Hicks+9
86Cionel Pérez-19
87Tim Hill+UR
88Gabe Speier+UR
89Zack Thompson-37
90Nate Pearson+UR
91Penn Murfee-2
92Michael Rucker+7
93Enyel De Los Santos-7
94Matt Barnes+UR
95Kevin Ginkel+1
96Andrew Nardi+UR
97Keegan Akin+3
98Dauri Moreta+UR
99Anthony Bass-7
100Aaron Loup-9




Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns 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.

One response to “The Hold Up 4/27: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Jason says:

    Comments on Dominguez? He’s really struggled but hasn’t fallen in your rankings.

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