The Hold Up 5/23: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

Is the Jeremiah Estrada breakout finally happening? It’s only 11.2 IP, but I think it may be as the talented reliever holds a 0.77 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 35% K rate, 2.58 SIERA (and elite 145 Stuff+ and 5.48 PLV). Estrada has added a new wrinkle to his repertoire this season with a new splitter that he is throwing 22.6% of the time (mostly to combat lefties) and currently holds a 60% Whiff rate. The fastball/combo was always tantalizing in itself but this new splitter could be what keeps him at the MLB level moving forward. With the splitter addition, Estrada has dropped his four-seam usage by 30% and he’s even upped the slider usage 10% as well to be more well-rounded. The early results of these changes are fantastic, and if the success continues into June, he could be in that top tier by the All-Star break.




  • Edwin Diaz is tough to rank here as he’s not the closer for the time being and likely won’t see a ton of holds, but at the same time, he still needs to be rostered everywhere. By default, he’s the top non-closer reliever to roster right now, as he should eventually get things turned around and get back on track. Now’s a great time to buy low if you can.

  • A.J. Puk still doesn’t look like the reliever we saw in the first half of last season, with just 1 K over 3.1 IP since returning, and he’s also allowed 3 hits, 2 BB and 3 ER. The good news from his last outing in which he allowed those 3 ER was that at least we saw an uptick in fastball velocity, with him averaging 95.7 mph on the six fastballs he threw. I’m not totally out yet, but there are a lot of other options that are more exciting in front of him.

  • Mark Leiter Jr. has been awesome so far this season with 31.7% K and 15% SwStr rates, a 1.05 WHIP and 2.61 SIERA, but I am a little concerned that neither Stuff+ (92) nor PLV (4.91) love his arsenal. We also saw him put up similar numbers last year through June before disappearing from July onward. Role with him for now, but this may be a bit of a Vargas Rule type situation.

Mark Leiter Jr.s 2023 splits K% SwStr% SIERA xFIP WHIP
First 33.2 IP 36.1% 14.2% 2.45 2.54 0.86
Last 30.2 IP 21.3% 11.7% 4.40 4.89 1.40


  • Two guys who were both in the closer mix at one point or another this season, Kevin Ginkel and Alex Lange are both dropping in the rankings this week, as Lange has not been able to find any consistency while Ginkel has just recently been a mess. The stuff is still there for Ginkel (and Lange) to get back to normal, but the inability to miss bats this season (21.4% K, 9.7% SwStr, and 25.1% CSW rates) is definitely cause for concern.
  • Tommy Kahnle and Pierce Johnson both returned this past week and should see immediate holds chances. Johnson’s outlook is a little more murky as he has more competition in that Braves bullpen, although he was pitching well before his injury. Kahnle is just debuting this week but is a much-needed piece to that bullpen has been trying to find a set-up option in front of Clay Holmes (and lost Ian Hamilton to the Covid-IL). If Kahnle looks good this week and is getting high-leverage work, expect him to move up the ranks next week.

  • For those in dynasty leagues, Randy Rodríguez and Justin Martinez are two names worth keeping an eye on. With Rodríguez, there’s a lot to like about his 27.7% K-BB rate, 2.30 SIERA, 5.43 PLV and 124 Stuff+ but that strikeout rate doesn’t seem sustainable with 9.9% SwStr and 25% CSW rates. I think it’s more likely we see the SwStr/CSW numbers rise than the K rate drop dramatically, and eventually I’d hope to see him get more hold chances although it is a deep bullpen at the moment. With Martinez, I want to believe, I really do, as the stuff can be electric and he does possess elite bat missing potential (17.2% SwStr rate). But it will always come down to the walk rate, and 17% is still obviously way too high. Just get it down to 10% man and we’ll be in business.


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


SP Eligible Relievers


Rank Pitcher Change
1Edwin DíazT1+UR
2Griffin Jax-
3Jason Adam-2
4Jeff Hoffman-1
5Bryan Abreu-
6Hunter Harvey-2
7Ryan Pressly
8A.J. Minter+1
9Yennier Cano-1
10Matt Strahm+3
11Yimi García+4
12Joe Jiménez-5
13Fernando Cruz-3
14JoJo Romero+2
15Andrew Kittredge+4
16Scott Barlow
17Chris Martin+3
18David Robertson+4
19Adam Ottavino-2
20Hunter Gaddis+7
21Danny Coulombe-3
22A.J. Puk-10
23Orion Kerkering-
24Garrett Cleavinger-
25Bryan Hudson-
26Cade Smith+6
27Blake Treinen+3
28Ryan Walker+9
29Jeremiah Estrada+UR
30Mark Leiter Jr.+10
31Kevin Ginkel
32Luke Weaver-1
33Tyler Rogers-
34Colin Holderman-
35Hunter Stratton+3
36Justin Slaten-7
37Nick Sandlin-9
38Andrew Nardi+1
39Alex Vesia+5
40Adrian Morejon-4
41Tommy Kahnle+UR
42Pierce Johnson+UR
43Erik Swanson+6
44John Schreiber-1
45Phil Maton+1
46Gabe Speier-11
47Lucas Erceg-5
48Austin Adams-7
49Taylor Rogers-1
50Enyel De Los Santos-5
51Jordan Leasure
52Ryan Thompson-
53Erik Miller+3
54Lucas Sims+3
55Steven Okert-
56Caleb Thielbar-3
57John Brebbia+2
58Aroldis Chapman-4
59Trevor Richards+2
60Joel Payamps+2
61Elvis Peguero+7
62Randy Rodríguez+35
63Sam Hentges+1
64Keegan Akin-4
65Hoby Milner-
66Ryne Stanek+8
67Caleb Ferguson+8
68Jacob Webb-18
69Justin Martinez+21
70Dylan Lee-1
71Tyler Holton
72Gregory Soto+4
73Tim Herrin-10
74Shawn Armstrong-1
75Kevin Kelly-9
76Calvin Faucher-9
77Cole Sands-5
78Aaron Bummer-1
79Yuki Matsui+1
80Sean Hjelle+3
81Michael Grove+UR
82Greg Weissert+5
83Angel Zerpa+6
84Trent Thornton-
85Luis García-
86Jared Shuster+9
87Matt Moore-9
88Andrew Chafin-6
89Seranthony Domínguez-1
90José Leclerc-9
91Sean Reid-Foley+2
92Adam Cimber+UR
93Jake Diekman-1
94Hayden Wesneski+UR
95Cam Booser+1
96Carlos Hernández+UR
97Alex Faedo+1
98Derek Law+1
99Dominic Leone+UR
100Luke Jackson+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.

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