The Hold Up 4/4: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks the top pitchers to own for holds.

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 who I feel could contribute in holds leagues early on in the season, with the back half being one big glob of question marks.


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


  • The Andrew Miller worry is starting to get real, as his struggles with command, especially his slider, have carried over from spring training. I don’t see him regaining his 2014-2017 form any time soon, and while this group of relievers at the top is fairly wide open, I’m swapping him with someone who carries more upside. A.J. Minter is returning from the IL today and should be in the mix for saves right of the bat. The ranking may be aggressive but everyone in this upper tier has their flaws.
  • Lou Trivino has probably taken over the eighth inning job from Joakim Soria, who has been brutal to begin the year. Trivino, on the other hand, has been great to start the season with a 7:1 K:BB ratio and just one hit allowed over six innings.
  • Steve Cishek has been the Cubs’ best reliever so far this season and may be pushing Pedro Strop for save opportunities soon. At the very least, he has pushed Carl Edwards Jr. down in the pecking order. Edwards still continues to have command issues and can’t be trusted right now. He’s probably the best reliever equivalent to a Cherry Bomb out there.
  • I’m pleasantly surprised to Joe Biagini used as a high leverage reliever in front of closer Ken Giles as he has the stuff to be effective in the role. He’s shown well so far with a 7:1 K:BB ratio and zero hits over 3.1 innings to go along with a hold.
  • As tempting as it may be, I’d stay away from the Dodgers middle relievers for now. Pedro Baez and Joe Kelly are both off to shaky starts and aren’t necessary to own outside of the deepest formats.

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.

18 responses to “The Hold Up 4/4: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Michael C says:

    What are your thoughts on Brasier vs Rogers in a league where saves are worth 8 and holds are worth 4 points? I agree with you that Rogers is the better reliever for holds, but is Brasier more likely to get saves?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Tough call. I think I’d lean Brasier in that format (more K and save upside) but it’s really close.

  2. theKraken says:

    Isn’t it amazing that the Dodgers just can’t ever find a consistent 7/8 inning option? They have money and prospects, it shouldn’t be that hard. I wouldn’t be surprised if Caleb Ferguson becomes the top guy outside of Kenley, they seem to be pretty high on him.

    • Rick Graham says:

      They just dont seem to value that role like the rest of the league. I like Ferguson, and Cingrani when healthy but they paid Kelly but yea it’ll be interesting to see who gets the next shot in the 8th inning.

      • theKraken says:

        Yeah, I guess…. you would think they would get tired of losing in the playoffs because of at some point – its pretty hard to ignore the results!

  3. bobbo says:

    You know who can’t be trusted… Trevor Rosenthal. He has single-handedly destroyed my team’s ratios to start the season. Love seeing a stat line of 3 appearances, 0IP, and INF ERA/WHIP. Dude has faced 7 batters and hasn’t even gotten an out yet! Is he even rosterable in a Holds league at this point? I don’t love the other options in the Nats pen but he has to have dropped in the pecking order, yeah?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Lol it’s a shame to see, especially considering his velo is still right where it was prior to his injury. He doesn’t need to be rostered at this point, as there are plenty of other servicable options. I think Justin Miller should get some more work in front of Doolittle at Rosenthals expense.

  4. Perfect Game says:

    Looks like Cora will be splitting save opportunities between Barnes and Brasier. He couldn’t brought Barnes in last night and decided to go with Braiser. I own Barnes as one of my three RP. How many saves do you see him getting this year?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Cora decided to use Barnes against K Davis to preserve the tie game. It looks like Barnes will be 1A and Brasier 1B for saves with maybe a 60/40 split leaning in Barnes favor? That is of course pending on both pitching well and the Sox not bringing in any outside help.

      • Perfect Game says:

        So who gets more saves this year between Barnes and Jeffries when he returns? With Knebel out and a thinner bullpen the Brewers would probably prefer to move Hader back into the multi-inning role and go with Jeffries as the primary closer – assuming they don’t sign Kimbrel.

        • Rick Graham says:

          Tough one, but I still think I’d prefer Barnes for now. Hader will still get some saves even with Jeffress back, so the split could be similar between Barnes and Jeffress.

          • Perfect Game says:

            I agree. Barnes is like a poor mans Hader with that high K%.

            Is there a single stat source to find out how many save opportunities Boston RP had during 2018?

  5. Greg says:

    In a save+holds leagues with limited RP slots. If I’m looking to pickup holds+elite ratios+innings pitched would the order be the same? Is there a standout here?

    • Rick Graham says:

      I’d say the list holds up pretty well to that with the exception being that K potential is more valued than innings pitched.

  6. MookieBestt says:

    Was the Cishek blurb written before his appearance yesterday?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Yes haha, unfortunately didn’t have time to update this morning. I still like Cishek but last night hurt his save chances.

  7. Mike says:

    in a SVHD league, would you prefer Ottavino or Pressly ?

  8. Daniel says:

    What are your thoughts on Junior Guerra? Three holds already and has that sweet Sp eligibility. I have him in a 16 team league

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