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The Hold Up 5/16: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2024 season.

Luke Weaver has emerged as the top setup option for the Yankees which is not a sentence I thought I’d be writing in mid-May. I’m a bit skeptical that this lasts all season, but for now, Weaver is worth a look. He has a 28% K rate and a 14.7% SwStr rate to go along with a 0.62 WHIP. Since transitioning to the bullpen, we haven’t seen a big uptick in velo from Weaver, but he has changed his pitch mix around, throwing his cutter 18% more and basically scrapping his curve. The cutter/changeup combo has helped against lefties and, with how Victor González and Caleb Ferguson have been pitching, Weaver looks like their best option to get left-handed hitters out late in games. Tommy Kahnle is working his way back and could be on the list a week from now, but as things stand now, I’d imagine Ian Hamilton is more at risk of losing a high-leverage role than Weaver.

 

Notes

 

  • If I had just waited one more week before moving Bryan Abreu down… To be fair, it had looked like Abreu was turning a corner a few weeks back before looking shaky again, so we may not be out of the woods completely yet. That being said, Abreu has allowed just three hits, a walk, and a run over 5.1 IP in May while striking out nine batters, which is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from Abreu in his career. Dating back even longer, Abreu has a 44.2% K rate, 0.92 WHIP, and 1.62 SIERA over his past 13 innings of work. That certainly looks like the Bryan Abreu we know.

  • A.J. Puk is back in the Marlins bullpen again, and he has already picked up a save in extra innings. He should slot right in as Tanner Scott’s setup man (before Scott is traded at least) and should be considered the favorite for saves from August onward. It’s worth keeping in mind that Puk’s velo hasn’t exactly ticked back up to where he was last year (95.8 mph) since moving back to the pen. In his last outing he was sitting at 94 mph, so this is something to monitor.

  • Jordan Leasure broke out this past week with four SV+HLDs, and it also looks like he is starting to miss some more bats recently. Over his past 5.1 IP, Leasure has a 26.3% K rate and a 16.5% SwStr rate. Small sample, I know, but at least we see the White Sox’s commitment to using him in high-leverage spots.

  • We’re running out of patience with Aroldis Chapman as every time it looks like he may be turning the corner he goes out and allows three hits and two walks while only getting two outs. The ultimate Cherry Bomb reliever, roster Chapman at your own risk until he starts showing any sort of consistency.

  • Emilio Pagán has looked better as of late (0 hits, 2 BB, 8 K over his past 3.2 IP), and with Alexis Díaz potentially on his way out as Reds closer and Fernando Cruz struggling recently, could Pagan work his way into the role? Despite the 4.67 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, Pagan does hold a 31.6% K rate and a 17.1% SwStr rate along with a 2.76 SIERA. Pagan may not be overpowering, and he lacks a true offspeed offering, but his four-seamer has great shape.

  • Kevin Kelly may not be able to get swings and misses but he’s only walking 1.4% of batters and is getting tons of called strikes (25.8% CStr rate is tops amongst relievers) so something is working for him right now. Things could change if hitters start being more aggressive here, but for now, Kelly has earned some more high-leverage chances.

 

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

 

SP Eligible Relievers 

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Jason AdamT1+UR
2Griffin Jax-1
3Jeff Hoffman-1
4Hunter Harvey-1
5Bryan Abreu+5
6Ryan Pressly
T2
-2
7Joe Jiménez-2
8Yennier Cano-2
9A.J. Minter-2
10Fernando Cruz-2
11Scott Barlow-2
12A.J. Puk+UR
13Matt Strahm-2
14Reed Garrett-2
15Yimi García-
16JoJo Romero-
17Adam Ottavino-4
18Danny Coulombe-1
19Andrew Kittredge-5
20Chris Martin+5
21Kevin Ginkel
T3
-1
22David Robertson-4
23Orion Kerkering+1
24Garrett Cleavinger+3
25Bryan Hudson+4
26Alex Lange-7
27Hunter Gaddis-6
28Nick Sandlin-6
29Justin Slaten-6
30Blake Treinen+1
31Luke Weaver+22
32Cade Smith+3
33Tyler Rogers-5
34Colin Holderman-8
35Gabe Speier-5
36Adrian Morejon-2
37Ryan Walker-4
38Hunter Stratton-6
39Andrew Nardi+2
40Mark Leiter Jr.-2
41Austin Adams
T4
-1
42Lucas Erceg-
43John Schreiber-7
44Alex Vesia-1
45Enyel De Los Santos-6
46Phil Maton+1
47Ian Hamilton+1
48Taylor Rogers-3
49Erik Swanson-3
50Jacob Webb-1
51Jordan Leasure+21
52Ryan Thompson-2
53Caleb Thielbar-9
54Aroldis Chapman-17
55Steven Okert-4
56Erik Miller-1
57Lucas Sims+2
58Emilio Pagán+20
59John Brebbia-5
60Keegan Akin-2
61Trevor Richards
T5
+4
62Joel Payamps+6
63Tim Herrin+4
64Sam Hentges+9
65Hoby Milner+9
66Kevin Kelly+32
67Calvin Faucher+8
68Elvis Peguero+9
69Dylan Lee+15
70Steven Wilson+9
71Tyler Holton+9
72Cole Sands-16
73Shawn Armstrong-7
74Ryne Stanek-13
75Caleb Ferguson-18
76Gregory Soto-16
77Aaron Bummer+6
78Matt Moore-26
79Anthony Maldonado-15
80Yuki Matsui-4
81José Leclerc
T6
-11
82Andrew Chafin-19
83Sean Hjelle+6
84Trent Thornton+3
85Luis García-
86Tyler Duffey+11
87Greg Weissert-6
88Seranthony Domínguez-6
89Angel Zerpa+2
90Justin Martinez+UR
91Ben Brown+UR
92Jake Diekman-6
93Sean Reid-Foley-1
94Justin Wilson+UR
95Jared Shuster+UR
96Cam Booser+UR
97Randy Rodríguez+UR
98Alex Faedo-4
99Derek Law-
100Ray Kerr+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.

One response to “The Hold Up 5/16: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Bobby says:

    I literally have five guys in the top 15 yet I am losing svhd every week in my categories league. So frustrating.

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