The Hold Up 5/19: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2022 season.

I think it’s fair to say most people had A.J. Minter as the Braves’ third lefty option out of the pen entering the season, with Will Smith and Tyler Matzek in front of him. Just over a month into the season and Minter has established himself as the Braves’ top setup man, as Smith and Matzek (now injured) have struggled with Smith falling out of favor as well. It still shouldn’t come as a large surprise, as Minter was once touted as Atlanta’s next closer not too long ago and while it took him a while to put it all together, it looks like he’s hitting his stride now. I’ve talked about pitchers throwing their off-speed stuff more this year but Minter has gone the other way, as his cutter usage has dropped nearly 8% as he is throwing more four-seam fastballs. This could be because he is facing more right-handed hitters, but it’s certainly working nonetheless and should continue to as long as he keeps locating where he needs to.




  • I featured Clay Holmes last week and while he’s the premier reliever in this bullpen for now, Michael King is certainly making a push. He’s likely at least pushed Jonathan Loáisiga out of steady high leverage work for now, and while King may not rack up holds, he could be this year’s Collin McHugh who does a little bit of everything to help your fantasy team.


  • Michael Fulmer has struggled this month, walking 6 while striking out just 3 and also seeing a dip in his velocity. The team hasn’t given up on him in a setup role yet, but they could if he isn’t able to turn things around soon. Alex Lange (curveball usage way up) and Will Vest have pitched well this year and could be in line for more higher leverage work moving forward.


  • J.P. Feyereisen has yet to allow a run this season while sporting a 19/4 K/BB rate over 18.1 IP, but the Rays have not exactly been using him in high leverage spots this season. That could change with how well he has pitched, but others in this bullpen (Matt Wisler, Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, etc.) also deserve more hold/save chances, so stay tuned for how the unpredictable Rays work this out.


  • Just when I thought Jhoan Duran might run away with the closer role, Emilio Pagán (the new splitter is working) and Tyler Duffey show up and get saves last week. This bullpen has faired well despite trading their best reliever just before the season started, and while the committee approach may be annoying for standard leagues, it’s a great situation to take advantage of in leagues that count holds.


  • Alexis Díaz picked up the save for the Reds in extra innings on Tuesday and could be in line for more save chances after Art Warren had originally blown the save in the ninth. Díaz has certainly been the Reds’ best reliever and has legit closer stuff (100th percentile fastball spin rate, 36.6% Whiff rate) and could rise up these boards fast if the Reds can find ways to win games.


  • Brock Burke has been the second-best reliever in the Rangers’ bullpen this season which comes as a surprise given his career numbers. Working out of the bullpen now though, Burke has been able to add almost 3 MPH to his fastball but despite his 34.6% K rate, he has struggled to get Whiffs with his secondaries and his 19.6% Whiff rate suggests that K rate is not sustainable.



Rank Pitcher Change
1Devin WilliamsT1-
2Clay Holmes+3
3Ryan Helsley-
4Héctor Neris-2
5Ryan Tepera-1
6Kendall Graveman-
7Josh Staumont+2
8Diego Castillo+2
9Michael King+6
10Daniel Hudson+3
11Jonathan Loáisiga
13Seth Lugo+1
14Michael Fulmer-3
15Andrés Muñoz+1
16Trevor Stephan+1
17Aaron Loup+4
18A.J. Minter+13
19Andrew Chafin+4
20Brooks Raley-
21Drew Smith
22Steven Wilson-3
23Spencer Strider+UR
24Collin McHugh+3
25Will Smith-
26J.P. Feyereisen+11
27Emilio Pagán+6
28Rafael Montero+4
29Alexis Díaz+31
30Tyler Duffey+6
31Mychal Givens
32Luis García-3
33Seranthony Domínguez-9
34Anthony Bender+1
35Griffin Jax-5
36Alex Vesia+2
37Phil Maton+2
38Brad Boxberger+2
39Jake Diekman+2
40Génesis Cabrera+10
41Tyler Kinley+8
42Matt Wisler+10
43Colin Poche+11
44José Ruiz-
45Brock Burke+14
46Joely Rodríguez-
47Scott Effross-
48Tanner Scott+3
49Alex Lange+17
50Art Warren+UR
51Cole Sulser
52Joe Kelly-9
53Brusdar Graterol-8
54Anthony Bass+3
55Matt Strahm+14
56Félix Bautista+UR
57A.J. Puk+11
58Joe Smith+6
59José Alvarado-6
60Ryne Stanek+7
61Rowan Wick+2
62Matt Foster-6
63Jason Adam+9
64Robert Suarez-9
65Adam Cimber+12
66Evan Phillips+UR
67Ian Kennedy+6
68Wil Crowe+2
69Lou Trivino+6
70Yimi García+1
71Víctor Arano
72Nick Sandlin-7
73Sam Hentges-11
74Anthony Gose-
75Steven Okert+UR
76Dominic Leone+UR
77Adam Ottavino+4
78Trevor Gott-20
80Brad Hand+4
82Ryan Brasier-3
83Ryan Thompson-5
84Jeurys Familia-1
85Dylan Coleman-
86Drew Steckenrider-
87Trevor Richards-
88Matt Bush-
89Bennett Sousa+10
90Chris Martin-1
91Dillon Tate-1
92Jalen Beeks-
93Noé Ramirez+1
94Joe Mantiply+UR
95Robert Stephenson+UR
96Caleb Thielbar+UR
97Bryan Abreu+UR
98Will Vest+UR
99John Brebbia+UR
100Austin Davis+UR


Photo by Rich von Biberstein/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.

5 responses to “The Hold Up 5/19: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Jacoby says:

    No Spencer Strider?

    • Rick Graham says:

      I removed him last week since he was supposed to join the rotation and forgot to add him back now that he’s sticking in the bullpen. Good catch.

      • Jacoby says:

        He pitched in the 7th inning yesterday in a hold situation and seems to have taken Matzek’s role.

  2. JR says:

    In a SV+H league, rage dropping Stephan and came here to find the highest ranked available RP in my league….. Welcome to the team, Staumont! :P

  3. trevor says:

    Loasiga needs to fall significantly. Several names have been used ahead of him in high leverage. He has given up 13 ER in 16.2 IP (17 ER all of last year), walks have plagued him as well. Fulmer also needs to fall. He was not used in a high leverage situation today and Lange & Chafin used today. Fulmer seems to be in the doghouse for now and I don’t see it changing unless he can get his velo up; down 2 ticks from last year. He also is walking more guys.

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