The Hold Up 4/13: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Just a little over a week into the season and we have seen a few bullpen shakeups thus far. Sam Dyson is officially out as the closer in Texas for...

Just a little over a week into the season and we have seen a few bullpen shakeups thus far. Sam Dyson is officially out as the closer in Texas for the time being, and Tony Barnette was the one warming up in the top of the 9th last night while the game was still within 3 runs. He has been removed from this list for the week, while we wait and see how things play out this weekend once Matt Bush returns to the team. Jeanmar Gomez lost his job to Joaquin Benoit, and the move should further solidify Hector Neris’s as a top holds option. Neither Sean Doolittle or Santiago Casilla are on this list as well, as they figure to share almost a 50/50 split of the save opportunities.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

Andrew Miller continues to be his dominant self and has yet to allow a run. Dellin Betances had a hiccup on Saturday but bounced back Sunday picking up a win after firing a clean 8th inning.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

3. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

4. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers

5. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

6. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

7. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

8. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

9. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

10. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

11. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

12. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers

13. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

  • Hector Neris would be in the top tier if I were confident in the Phillies ability to win more than 75 games this season. He is that good and it’s a shame the Phils wont allow him to pitch the 9th just so they can save some dollars.
  • Matt Bush is battling a AC joint injury, and while its never a good thing to hear a pitcher have any arm trouble, it is an issue he pitched (effectively) through last season as well. He very well could be on our Closing Time list next week if he can pitch this weekend.
  • Adam Ottavino is leading the league and saves, and whether he pitches the 7th or 8th, he should still see plenty of chances and certainly has the stuff to be highly effective.
  • Nate Jones and Luke Gregerson have had some struggles early on but their track record doesn’t have me ready to move them down a tier just yet.
  • I will admit, I missed hard on Bruce Rondon heading into the season. Now that he is in AAA, that opens up the set-up job solely to Justin Wilson who has pitched well so far. He could even work his way into some save chances if/when Francisco Rodriguez breaks down.


TIER 3: Torn

14. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

15. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

16. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates

17. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

18. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

19. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

20. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)

21. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

22. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

23. Cory Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

24. Grant Dayton (Los Angeles Dodgers)

25. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

26. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

27. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

28. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

29. Fernando Salas (New York Mets)

30. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

31. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

32. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

33. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

34. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

35. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

36. Brad Ziegler (Miami Marlins

37. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

  • Derek Law and Hunter Strickland both figure to see similar hold opportunities. Strickland has been better thus far, but Law is the only one with a hold to his credit.
  • The same can be said about Daniel Hudson and Felipe Rivero. Rivero has been better, but Hudson should still see the bulk of 8th winning work, unless a lefty heavy part of the lineup is due up in the inning.
  • Corey Knebel has looked really good so far, flashing a pretty nasty curveball that’s been missing bats. He is the clear set-up guy to Neftali Feliz and the duo could be a surprisingly effective this season.
  • Unfortunately for Grant Dayton, Sergio Romo and Pedro Baez, Dave Roberts certainly seems to not care for having set roles late in games with his bullpen, outside of Kenley Jansen closing out games. Ross Stripling got a 2 inning hold last night, and he has already done the same with Alex Wood. I still like Dayton’s upside, but it’s concerning has hasn’t been used in a hold situation yet.
  • Fernando Salas has been a nice surprise for the Mets this season. He won’t be the main setup man when Jeurys Familia returns, but should get plenty of chances still for a Mets teams that tends to keep games close.
  • Its time to start monitoring Trevor Rosenthal’s usage as he could be used in high leverage situations right away. The rest of the Cardinals bullpen has been a disaster, and Rosenthal arguably has the best stuff of the group. He struggled yesterday but looked awesome in his debut.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

38. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

39. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

40. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros)

41. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

42. Sergio Romo (Los Angeles Dodgers

43. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

44. Dan Altavilla (Seattle Mariners

45. Jeremy Jeffress (Texas Rangers)

46. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

47. David Phelps(Miami Marlins)

48. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)

49. Joe Blanton (Washington Nationals

50. Edubray Ramos (Philadelphia Phillies)

51. Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)

52. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals

  • I don’t really know where to rank Chris Devenski. Obviously if he is going to pitch 8 innings a week and rack up almost 2 K’s an inning with great ratios, he needs to be owned and used in most leagues. I want to see more of a sample size though before putting him up a tier.
  • Jeremy Jeffress or Tony Barnette could get a boost depending on how things shake out in Texas with Sam Dyson likely on his way out of the closers role soon. Jeffress hasn’t been good but he has closer experience. Both are good speculative adds.
  • A lot of the names in this tier are in holds limbo for me but with upside. Ryan Dull, Edubray Ramos, Sammy Solis, David Phelps and Joe Blanton can all be good fantasy relievers, just as long as the opportunity for holds is there for them. Right now, I just don’t see it. Regarding the two Nationals mentioned, Dusty Baker doesn’t really seem to have a set plan with his bullpen roles at the moment, so either one could bounce back up a tier in now time.

TIER 5: There She Goes

53. Matt Belisle (Minnesota Twins)

54. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

55. JC Ramirez (Los Angeles Angels)

56. Carlos Torres (Milwaukee Brewers)

57. Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays)

58. Alex Wood (Los Angeles Dodgers)

59. Heath Hembree (Boston Red Sox)

60. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)

61. Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians)

62. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

63. Ian Krol (Atlanta Braves)

64. Sam LeClerc (Texas Rangers)

65. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

66. Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

67. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

68. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

69. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

70. Jumbo Diaz (Tampa Bay Rays)

HM. Joe Jimenez (Detroit Tigers)

  • Matt Belisle and Carlos Torres should continue to get a good amount of hold chances. Just don’t expect them to help out much in any other categories.
  • JC Ramirez figures to be the Angels top set-up man with Andrew Bailey on the DL. So that should give him some value I suppose.
  • While Alex Wilson could see the most secondary hold opportunities in the near future, its tough not to be excited about Joe Jimenez’s call up. It’s completely reasonable to think he ends the season as the Tigers closer if he can limit the free passes.

Disabled List

Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners)

Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Mauricio Cabrera (Atlanta Braves)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays

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.

9 responses to “The Hold Up 4/13: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. gjburie says:

    Does Joe Kelly really not make this list? You think he is behind Barnes and Hembree for holds?

  2. The Diesel says:

    Seems like a giant gap between Bush and Jeffress for essentially the same guy. Bush has better current skills, but Jeffress is a better bet to fill the closer role right now. Both will get similar holds. Neither are a proven commodity at this point in their respective careers.

    • Rick Graham says:

      At this point, I like Jeffress 3rd best in that bullpen, behind Bush and Barnette. It has to mean something that he pitched the 7th inning last night, with Leclerc/Claudio splitting the 8th and Barnette coming within 1 out of getting his first save opportunity.

  3. Brett says:

    Thoughts on Bradley in Arizona?

    • Rick Graham says:

      I toyed with the idea of putting him in the back end of the list, so he is certainly on the radar. It will be interesting to see how he is used going forward as he very well could be the best bullpen option they have.

  4. Mike says:

    How close was Boone Logan to making the list?
    Indians win a lot of games and he usually comes in and faces a left handed hitter or two and gets out.

  5. Manley Ramirez says:

    Anything more on Nate Jones? I remember he was shaky at for a stretch or 2 last year as well, but at least he was getting Ks…

  6. Holds league. Someone dropped Dayton. Thinking of dropping Felipe Rivero for him. Dayton’s ratios are just so good. But Rivero has been really good so far, and Dayton isn’t getting hold opps yet. Ugh.
    Also have Baez and Strop.

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