The Hold Up 5/11: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

What more is there to say about Yennier Cano right now, as he still has yet to allow a run on the season and has allowed just 4 baserunners total! As Cano was not exactly a household name entering the season, it made sense to be a bit skeptical at first, but we are now more than a month into the season and it’s quite clear he is the best non-closer reliever in baseball. There are plenty of numbers I could list out here to prove it, but just do yourself a favor and go to his player page. The only “negative” is that he only misses bats at an above average rate, but I think that’s more to do with him living in and around the strike zone as the stuff is clearly good enough to get more whiffs if needed (he does have a 35% Chase rate after all). If he’s available in any of your leagues still, go get him now, I don’t think you’ll regret it.



  • A.J. Minter and Clay Holmes have moved in to set up roles for the time being, and while both have not been great this season, theres still reason to be optimistic they can return holds league value at least. Minter is still getting Whiffs at a high rate (18% SwStr rate) with his three pitch mix and his 5.49 PLV is good for 12th highest. Holmes is still missing bats at an above average clip (29.3% K, 31.8% CSW rates) and continues to get a ton of groundballs (63.6%).
  • The Phillies lost José Alvarado this week, and while a lot of attention has been put on Craig Kimbrel and Seranthony Domínguez, we may be sleeping on Gregory Soto here. Soto does have 48 saves over the past two season after all. I was not a big fan of that Tigers version of Soto however, I love the changes he’s made since moving to the Phillies, throwing his slider 24% more this season while also tweaking it to get more break. The changes have led to an impressive 38.6% CSW rate and we may see Soto as this years Alvarado, so get in now before it’s too late.


  • Drew Smith continues to be a key contributor in the Mets bullpen, and while he doesn’t throw particularly hard or get swings and misses in bunches, he does generate great spin rates on his pitches. While I think regression is pretty obvious here, his 4.61 xFIP feels a bit high, as he also has .175 xBA and .278 xSLG so for now I would continue to ride this out as his 7 holds are only two behind the league leaders.
  • John Schreiber has been fine this season, so it’s surprising to see the team go with other options in set up roles while Schreiber remains the “fireman” option to clean up other peoples messes. That’s great and all, but has led to just two holds over the past month. This role will keep him as a streaky holds option, and he isn’t exactly going to be a huge boost for ratios (1.32 WHIP) or K’s (29% K rate).


  • Ian Hamilton has been a great find for the New York Yankees, and Aaron Boone trusts him so much so that he’s already comfortably using him in save situations. Theres nothing to suggest that the stuff isn’t for real either, as he’s generating a ton of swings and misses (17.3% SwStr and 33.3% K rates) as well as groundballs (60.5%) going along with a 2.42 xFIP. The Yankees bullpen is in shambles a bit at the moment, so expect Hamilton to factor in to more and more high leverage situations.
  • I had Huascar Brazoban in my early top 100 relievers for 2023 rankings, but didn’t really have any expectations as he was left off many Marlins opening day roster projections. Which is crazy because this guy is legit, and should remain the top set up option for the team moving forward. Brazoban is just above average across the board while using his cutter/sinker/changeup mix to limit hard contact (14.4% rate) and while he’s not a big time swing and miss guy, I’ll take a 23.1% K-BB rate anyday.


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


Rank Pitcher Change
1Yennier CanoT1+7
2Erik Swanson+1
3Bryan Abreu+1
4Giovanny Gallegos-2
5Aroldis Chapman-4
6A.J. Minter
7Seranthony Domínguez-
8Griffin Jax-2
9Clay Holmes+UR
10Gregory Soto+11
11Matt Brash
12James Karinchak-
13Adam Ottavino-
14Brusdar Graterol-4
15Héctor Neris-
16Nick Anderson+1
17Hunter Harvey+1
18Trevor Stephan-7
19Drew Smith+8
20Caleb Ferguson+9
21Chris Martin
22John Schreiber-8
23Joe Mantiply+3
25Steven Wilson+6
26Sam Hentges+UR
27Matt Moore-8
28Miguel Castro-8
29Mark Leiter Jr.+8
30Taylor Rogers-7
31Nick Martinez
32Jason Foley+6
33Michael Fulmer+2
34Colin Holderman+6
35Ian Hamilton+UR
36Jorge López-4
37Lucas Sims+2
38Joe Jiménez-14
39Kendall Graveman+UR
40Tanner Scott+5
41Huascar Brazoban+25
42Rafael Montero-26
43Justin Lawrence+9
44Jonathan Hernández-2
45Bryan Baker-17
46Collin McHugh
47Dylan Lee-1
48Brock Burke+7
49Josh Winckowski-6
50Peter Strzelecki-14
51Carlos Hernández+7
52Phil Maton+9
53Eli Morgan-4
55Joe Kelly+34
56Luis Garcia-12
57Yimi García-7
58Génesis Cabrera+2
59Connor Brogdon+3
60Trevor Gott+20
61Dylan Floro
62Tim Mayza+2
63Carl Edwards Jr.-10
64Ron Marinaccio-5
65Robert Stephenson-14
66Victor González+6
67Jordan Hicks-
68Danny Coulombe-14
69Alex Young-6
70Tim Hill-
71Nate Pearson-2
72Josh Staumont+6
73Steven Okert+UR
74Wandy Peralta-
75Scott McGough-27
76Brad Boxberger
77Will Vest-1
78Dauri Moreta+13
79Duane Underwood Jr.-8
81Daniel Bard+UR
82Colin Poche+UR
83Josh Sborz+15
84Gabe Speier-2
85Keegan Thompson-1
86Ryan Thompson+UR
87Mason Thompson-4
88Sam Moll+UR
89Andrew Bellatti+UR
90Gregory Santos-4
91John Brebbia-4
92Kevin Kelly-4
93Chris Devenski+7
95Kyle Nelson+UR
96José Leclerc-17
97Aaron Bummer-22
98Chris Stratton+UR
99Jake Bird+UR
100Joel Payamps+UR

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.

4 responses to “The Hold Up 5/11: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Zack Johnson says:

    Thanks for the great work!
    Got a quesiton, Jorge Lopez is the primary set up men in Minnesota and sometimes even get some saves. Is he ranked lower than Griffin Jax because he can be used both in Holds and Saves situation while Jax is going to have more holds opportunities? It feels like Lopez’s role is very similar to Graterol in LA and Gallegos in St Louis but seems to be ranked a lot lower.

  2. Sweet Chin Music says:

    What are your thoughts on Matt Brash?? Obviously you think somewhat highly of him based on his ranking. I have him in my Yahoo league has he has dual SP/RP eligibility, allowing me to start another RP each day. His K numbers are exceptional but every start he keeps getting knocked around. I wonder if its pitch selection or where he’s locating them? Would love a little insight because clearly he generates wiffs.

  3. Jim says:

    Swap Topa and Brash. Topa now has the 8th locked down.

  4. Pitcher Prodigy says:

    Noticed Brent Suter missing on the list. Been clinical on the mound and in fantasy. Wondering your thoughts for leaving him off.

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