The Hold Up 5/13: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's top setup options for the 2021 season.

Tyler Chatwood is enjoying a rebirth to his career as a late-inning reliever, a trend we are starting to see more and more lately. Chatwood, albeit a small sample size, has been dominating hitters out of the bullpen, currently holding 38.3% K-BB and 42.7% Whiff rates over 13.1 innings pitched. Chatwood has increased his cutter usage by over 18% this season, all while continuing to throw his sinker 41.2% of the time, leading to a near 90% usage rate between his cutter and sinker. The cutter has been arguably his best pitch for some time now, so it’s great to see him make it his preferred offering and have success as a result. Even when (if?) the Jays bullpen gets healthy, Chatwood should still figure into high leverage work with only Jordan Romano and Rafael Dolis potentially in front of him.




  • In an age where velocity and spin rates are everything, Yusmeiro Petit continues to defy the trend and just goes out and gets outs. Petit’s fastball tops out at 87 and he can barely get a spin rate over 2000 RPM’s but the guy has an ERA of 2.63 and WHIP of 0.93 over 310 innings since the 2017 season started. He does an excellent job commanding the strike zone and inducing weak contact and the lack of K upside limits his value, but Petit can certainly help with ratio’s and holds.
  • A.J. Minter has been fine this year but with the return of Chris Martin, he probably figures to see fewer hold opportunities going forward. He’ll continue to battle with Tyler Matzek as the left-handed setup man for closer Will Smith, while Martin should quickly start working right in front of Smith as the team’s best right-handed reliever.
  • Tanner Scott has been pretty good this year (minus the walk rate), but another Orioles lefty has been the better reliever of the two so far. Paul Fry has really helped fortify the Orioles bullpen and continues to impress after a strong, albeit short, 2020 campaign. Fry’s been able to add velocity to his pitches since 2019, adding 2.9MPH to his fastball since then and 1.5 MPH to his slider.
  • It’s great to see Rex Brothers having success at the MLB level after pitching just 37.1 major league innings since 2014. It’s fair to wonder if the success will last but I’m digging how his current pitch mix is working so I’m holding out hope. Teammate Ryan Tepera also seems to be working his way into consistent high leverage work, and was someone I was high on heading into the season. He’s been hit around a bit this year, but that cutter can be a dominant pitch as seen last season.
  • Just like Chatwood, Ryan Borucki has transitioned from a starter to full-time reliever quite nicely, gaining an almost Drew Pomeranz-like velocity boost moving into the bullpen, as his fastball is up 3.9 MPH from 2019, back when he was a starter. His slider is excellent too, currently with 55.9% Whiff 44.8% PutAway rates.
  • Josh Sborz is back in the Rangers bullpen and hopefully here for good. Sborz should continue to see high leverage work and could be a candidate to take over for closer Ian Kennedy when the team trades him. His mid-upper 90’s fastball and power slider definitely scream future closer, and his statcast metrics back it up.


Rank Pitcher Change
1James KarinchakT1-
2Giovanny Gallegos
3Drew Pomeranz-
4Devin Williams-
5Trevor May+1
6Chad Green-1
7Jake Diekman-
8Kendall Graveman+2
9Blake Treinen-1
10Lucas Sims-1
11J.P. Feyereisen
12Pete Fairbanks+1
13José Alvarado+1
14Aaron Bummer+7
15Tejay Antone-
16Victor González+2
17Michael Kopech-1
18Scott Barlow+1
19Ryne Stanek+8
22Jonathan Loáisiga-
23Joely Rodríguez+1
24Codi Heuer+1
25Emilio Pagán+1
26Chris Martin+2
27Adam Ottavino+2
28Miguel Castro+2
29Austin Adams+2
30Tanner Scott+4
31Sam Coonrod+4
32Tyler Chatwood+25
33Garrett Whitlock+3
34Yusmeiro Petit+16
35Andrew Chafin+2
36Garrett Crochet
37Tyler Duffey-17
38Tanner Rainey-5
39Sam Howard-1
40Tyler Matzek-1
41A.J. Minter-9
42Dylan Floro-2
43Pierce Johnson+3
44Hansel Robles-3
45Wander Suero+3
46Daniel Hudson-1
47Will Harris-
48Paul Fry+13
49Rex Brothers+14
50Ryan Borucki+19
51Sean Doolittle-8
52Mychal Givens
53Andrew Kittredge+2
54Ryan Thompson+2
55Ryan Tepera+13
56Josh Sborz+19
57Génesis Cabrera+23
58Brent Suter-9
59Jeffrey Springs-1
60Darwinzon Hernández-
61Caleb Thielbar-2
62Anthony Misiewicz-
63Tim Hill+1
64Brooks Raley+1
65Chris Rodriguez-11
66David Bednar+17
67Camilo Doval+UR
68Alex Colomé+22
69Hirokazu Sawamura+17
70Kevin Ginkel-26
71John Curtiss
72Robert Stephenson+2
73Joakim Soria-1
74Craig Stammen+13
75Jeurys Familia-5
76Lucas Luetge-
77Jimmy Nelson+1
78Bryan Shaw-11
79Hunter Strickland+3
80Brad Boxberger-9
82Matt Wisler+2
83Wandy Peralta+2
84Connor Brogdon-18
85Cole Sulser+UR
86Luke Jackson+UR
87Aaron Loup+UR
88Michael Fulmer+UR
89Anthony Bass+UR
90José Ruiz+UR


Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

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