The Hold-Up 4/12: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, which means Matt is here to talk about Holds.  Setup men are valuable cogs in the machine, and your interest in holds helps shine a light on these...

It’s Tuesday, which means Matt is here to talk about Holds.  Setup men are valuable cogs in the machine, and your interest in holds helps shine a light on these underappreciated flowers. The 8th is often as high leverage as the 9th but roles are slightly less defined, and holds will be more spread out over the course of a season because of specific matchups.

The season is still very fresh so I don’t want to jump off/on bandwagons too quickly but the next couple weeks will be very telling in terms of bullpen usage and changes in repertoire and velocity. Check back every Tuesday for updated rankings and notes.


1. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

3. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

4. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

5. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

6. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

7. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

8. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

9. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

10. Sergio Romo (San Francisco Giants)

11. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers)

12. Drew Storen (Toronto Blue Jays)


13. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

14. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

15. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

16. Joe Smith (Los Angeles Angels)

17. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

18. Kevin Jepsen (Minnesota Twins)

19. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

20. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

21. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

22. Tyler Clippard (Arizona Diamondbacks)

23. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

24. Joaquin Benoit (Seattle Mariners)

25. Koji Uehara (Boston Red Sox)

26. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

27. Kevin Quackenbush (San Diego Padres)

28. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

29. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

30. Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)


31. Matt Albers (Chicago White Sox)

32. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

33. Jim Henderson (New York Mets)

34. Mark Lowe (Detroit Tigers)

35. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

36. Stephen Geltz (Tampa Bay Rays)

37. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

38. Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)

39. Chris Hatcher (Los Angeles Dodgers)

40. Jumbo Diaz (Cincinnati Reds)

41. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

42. Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

43. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

44. Justin Grimm (Chicago Cubs)

45. Pat Neshek (Houston Astros)

46. Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)

47. Michael Blazek (Milwaukee Brewers)

48. Junichi Tazawa (Boston Red Sox)

49. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

50. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)

51. José Álvarez (Los Angeles Angels)

52. Fernando Salas (Los Angeles Angels)

53. Antonio Bastardo (New York Mets)

54. Zach Duke (Chicago White Sox)

55. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays)

56. Josh Osich (San Francisco Giants)

57. Neftali Feliz (Pittsburgh Pirates)

58. Adam Warren (Chicago Cubs)

59. John Axford (Oakland Athletics)

60. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)

61. Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

62. Casey Fien (Minnesota Twins)

63. Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians)

64. Joel Peralta (Seattle Mariners)

65. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)


Injured Setup Men – All their timelines are somewhat undefined but they’ll find their way into the rankings eventually. Carson Smith has fringe Tier 1 upside, Knebel is a lotto ticket, the rest aren’t that exciting. 

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Jason Motte (Colorado Rockies)

Mike Dunn (Miami Marlins)

Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)


– It’s still very early so I don’t want to change things up too much but manager tendencies will really start to take hold soon enough. Also keep in mind that as the season chugs along some younger arms could gain more and more responsibility with high leverage situations.

 – The list is probably a bit bloated but it is nice to have some names to play with if you are really chasing holds and have some roster flexibility. Plus an injury here or there and middling hold options can be catapulted into relevancy. 

– High upside question marks Seung Hwan Oh and Tony Zych have impressed early.

– The Mets bullpen isn’t too defined after Jeurys Familia. Addison Reed, Hector Robles, and Antonio Bastardo are already ranked but Jim Henderson joins them. Velocity is back and he has looked unhittable so far.

Joaquin Benoit is a setup man OG but he is dealing with some shoulder soreness and had back issues in Spring. Not time to freak out yet but he is 38 so things could turn into a struggle if he can’t get healthy.

Neftali Feliz hasn’t allowed a baserunner in 5 IP. He hasn’t put together a full dominant season in many years but unless Caminero finds his groove Feliz looks to be 3rd in line. More than enough opps in Pittsburgh if he can keep this up.

Luke Gregerson is good enough where he can get it done as the closer and keep Ken Giles in the 8th. Giles has been shaky but the stuff is there and it is a matter of when, not if, he finds it. 

Darren O’Day is a brand name superstud but Baltimore does not want to use him as the official 8th inning guy. Mychal Givens gave up runs in his first two outings but he is a horse and the Orioles love him. Not ready to trust Dylan Bundy yet but he could cut into Darren’s hold total as well. In the end ERA and WHIP is still slightly more important than pure hold totals, but his ranking definitely take a hit because of potentially disappointing hold opps. 

Kevin Jepsen has struggled but he has no real competition at the moment and looked great this Spring so likely just a blip. Trevor May and Casey Fien haven’t done so hot either so no real concern he is going to lose the 8th. Gets a slight boost if you aren’t exclusively interested in holds and would be happy if Glen Perkins lost the job. 

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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