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

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

While it has only been one week into the season, there are a couple of unheralded relievers who have been strong out of the gate (what else can we talk about it’s only been one week?). Ian Hamilton is the first one, and while there was some helium here as he dominated in Florida, he seems to be at a whole different level right now with his Slambio leading the way (67% Whiff rate). Even flying under the radar a bit last year, he still had a great season (2.64 ERA) and has now been fully entrusted as the Yankees’ top setup option, and honestly, probably makes more sense as the team’s closer over Clay Holmes (who is a great reliever, just miscast as a closer).

Ryan Borucki has had a crazy journey to get to where he is now, one of the most trusted relievers in the Pirates’ bullpen as the lefty already has two holds on the year while striking out five and allowing just one baserunner. Borucki had a sneaky great season last year for the Pirates (0.74 WHIP) and while the strikeout rate was underwhelming, there were some signs that it could be improved, and so far it has been. While they have a high-leverage lefty in Aroldis Chapman, Borucki is the more natural left-handed out guy, while Chapman can go and get anyone out in the eighth inning (when he’s right) so Borucki should still be in the mix for holds, even when they get Colin Holderman and Carmen Mlodzinski back.




  • Trevor Megill was placed on the 7-day IL after a bout with food poisoning caused him to faint in a store and hit his head (this is not being read from OOTP Baseball). We hope Megill is ok and able to return in short order, with his earliest return date being this Saturday (4/6). It’s only been two innings but his excellent stuff is evident (169 Stuff+) and while Abner Uribe looks great in the closer role, Joel Payamps should be the odd man out here in due time. Payamps and Hoby Milner are probably best suited to split the seventh-inning duties based on matchups.
  • Chris Martin is aging like a fine wine as he continues to be a steady setup option for the Red Sox. He isn’t the only reliever in this bullpen of interest though, as Justin Slaten has three plus pitches, Isaiah Campbell has a plus-plus slider and plus fastball while Greg Weissert has that whiffle ball slider while his fastball also grades out positively. All three are worth watching, but right now, Martin is my favorite reliever in the Red Sox bullpen. This, I guess, is to tell you you’re chosen out from the rest.


  • The Marlins as a pitching staff have not been having a good time to begin the season, as they have not been able to throw strikes as the team has a 13.7% BB rate. I still have some belief and hope in Anthony Bender and George Soriano being contributors for them and I hope/believe Tanner Scott will figure things out as well as Andrew Nardi who has a WHIP of 3.00 to start the year. This bullpen is too talented to struggle for much longer.
  • It’s good to see Giovanny Gallegos have strikeout success this early in the season after he saw a sharp decline last year. He looks entrenched as the team’s top setup option while JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge have also gotten off to good starts here, and Romero still feels underrated to me.


  • The Reds’ bullpen is coming together and it looks like Fernando Cruz could be the top setup option here after all, as he should be. If you haven’t seen him pitch, his splitter (currently with a 71.4% Whiff rate) gets some wild swings from hitters. Lucas Sims seems to be the second most trusted setup option, and while the results have been mixed for him, his slider should generate plenty of Whiffs. That leaves Emilio Pagán as the odd man out/potential sixth-inning option, which is probably the best role for him although he has gotten off to a decent start.
  • The Dodgers, who just got a one-run save in the ninth inning from…Dinelson Lamet…continue to be able to just churn out quality relievers. Joe Kelly had a really rough outing this past week, but he’s still in the Top 30 mix, and the team turned to him in a hold situation last night. Alex Vesia has had some control issues early on but the swing-and-miss stuff is still evident while Daniel Hudson looks like he’s fully recovered from his knee injury and can be a big factor for their high-leverage group.


  • Will Smith has allowed four hits, four walks and six earned runs in his first three games as the Royals’ closer, so we should expect James McArthur to take over that role any minute now right? Well, he hasn’t fared all that better, allowing seven hits and four earned runs over his first three innings. With Nick Anderson and Chris Stratton also struggling, perhaps the door may be opened for John Schreiber to see some save opportunities in the near future?
  • The Mariners’ bullpen has been the least of their issues to start the year, with Gabe Speier showing why he is one of the top non-closer left-handed relievers in the game (that slider) and even Ryne Stanek holding his own as the next-in-line option behind closer Andrés Muñoz. I think Stanek is the one who loses some value once Matt Brash returns, which could happen before the end of the month.


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


Photo by All-Pro Reels (https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeglo/) | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)

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 4/4: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Mallex P. Keaton says:

    Rick, love the new SP-eligible list! Great addition to a fantastic column I’ve been reading for years.

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