The Hold Up 5/2: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks the top pitchers to own for holds.

[holds_list_2019 list_id=”30705″ include_stats=”1″]
  • After some early season struggles, Seth Lugo looks to be back on track after and has been lights out the past 12 days. Heading into last night’s game, Lugo had and 8:1 K/BB rate over his past five innings pitched, allowing just one hit and zero runs while picking up two holds. With Jeurys Familia hitting the IL, Lugo should become the Mets’ new eighth-inning option in front of Edwin Diaz.
  • While he only has one hold on the year, Nick Anderson is looking like the Marlins’ best reliever and possibly one of the league’s best. The 28-year-old rookie has an absurd 28:2 K/BB ratio on the year, good for a 49 K-BB%, which ranks just behind Josh Hader for the MLB lead. That comes with a near 20% swinging-strike rate to go with a .65 xFIP and .85 SIERA. With the Marlins not going anywhere this season and Anderson already 28 in his first year of service, I don’t see why they wouldn’t pave the way for him to get some work as the team’s closer by year’s end.
  • There was some speculation as to whether Luke Jackson would take over the closer role in Atlanta from a floundering AJ Minter, but I’m not buying that yet. The Braves are best off having Minter figure things out, and he looked great last night (1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K) even if it was a four-run lead. Jackson still makes for an interesting holds option, as he is establishing himself as one of the better options in that bullpen.
  • I ranked the two Dodger starters, Julio Urias and Ross Stripling, back to back at 50/51 for now, but that can change drastically in a heartbeat. Rich Hill will have a blister at some point and someone else will get hurt or shutdown eventually, so this really is a seven-man rotation. While neither has had much success, it’s nice to see that Dave Roberts is willing to throw either one into the late-innings, high-leverage fire right away.

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.

6 responses to “The Hold Up 5/2: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Jim says:

    Jeffress at 20 still feels high but at least you’re finally seeing his struggles. He’ll be in the 30s before long.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Velocity was back up to 94 yesterday. Looking at his previous seasons, the velo tends to be in the 92-94 range until the summer months were it gets up to 95-97. He may not be the dominant reliever he was last season, but he’s still the second-best reliever on a good team.

  2. jpmags says:

    Rick, will you give some insight on how assess the pitchers to develop these rankings?

    • knuckleheads says:

      Not to answer for the author but it’s gotta be hard because reliever roles change so often and there are just so many out there who could get move up and down. Personally, I would say rankings have to include considerations like: history of success + current opportunity + current numbers (k/9, k/bb, whip). Overall I think the lists have been very good…

      • Rick Graham says:

        Thanks and this basically answers the question for me. Heading into the season I try to rank relievers based on 4 things, swing and miss ability, expected outcome numbers, expected role and Nick’s HOTEL equation. Then throughout the year I just try to stay up to date with how guys are performing each week and whether there have been any significant role changes. There tends to be a lot more movement in these lists at the beginning of the season while we figure out players roles as well as any changes a pitcher has made that effect performance.

  3. Ian says:

    Brandon Workman leads the Sox in Holds so far. You think it’s only temporary or will he continue to be a good source? The walks are concerning but the FIP numbers are still solid.

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