The Hold Up 5/26: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

With Andrew Kittredge landing on the IL, look for things to open up more for J.P. Feyereisen to take on a more significant role. He’s been the Rays best reliever so far this season and has yet to allow an earned run over 21 innings. I’ve been moving Feyereisen up slowly as it feels like he hasn’t been given enough hold chances this year, but looking deeper into this trend, he isn’t the only one. We are now through seven weeks and only four relievers have 10 or more holds (ten have 10 or more saves). That seems awfully low, and to me validates chasing skill/upside over trying to find any consistency here. If most set up men are averaging one hold per week, I better be getting positive ratio help and some strikeouts with it.




  • Aaron Bummer returned from the IL this week and should slide back into a setup role. He had gotten off to a rough start this year but we know the kind of skill/upside he brings when he is healthy. Speaking of staying healthy in this bullpen, Joe Kelly had been looking great recently but left last night’s game with a hamstring issue. For now, it looks like he should avoid IL time, but keep an eye out for updates.


  • Emilio Pagán is having his best season since 2019, and whether it be closing out games or setting up Jhoan Duran, he has been mostly effective. He’s added a new splitter this year that he is throwing 18.6% of the time, and while that has produced more swings and misses, it is worth noting his walk rate has jumped to 15.5%. That will need to come down for him to sustain this success, as it should while he gets more comfortable with his new repertoire.


  • The Tigers seem to have found the back end of their bullpen with Alex Lange, Michael Fulmer, and Andrew Chafin getting the ball to Gregory Soto. This is a bit of a rare scenario where I actually prefer the three set up guys to the closer, and it looks like the Tigers may feel the same way after all three worked after Soto yesterday, despite it being a 10-inning game.


  • Taylor Rogers has been the only consistent piece of the Padres bullpen so far, as getting the ball to him has been an issue. Robert Suarez has looked better lately and could move back into the holds mix, especially as the team seems to be souring on Steven Wilson. Suarez’s 32.5% K rate may be deceiving as his Whiff rate (20.9%) is one of the lowest among relievers.


  • I tend to be biased against the sidewinder/submariner community, but they can certainly be effective relievers as we’ve seen with Adam Cimber and Joe Smith this season, as well as Tyler Rogers despite allowing 11 runs over his last 3.1 innings. The lack of strikeouts really hurts, especially if they are only getting one, maybe two holds a week but the groundball ability usually keeps their floor relatively high.


  • Speaking of sidewinder relievers, the Red Sox bullpen could really use a lot of help right about now and it may come from a journeyman in John SchreiberSchreiber is a sinker/slider specialist and while I can’t picture him closing out games on a regular basis, he could fit into the role Ryan Brasier entered the year with. I already trust him more than Hansel Robles, and if Matt Barnes can get/stay “right”, they may have a solid group in Barnes, Schreiber, Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm.



Rank Pitcher Change
1Devin WilliamsT1-
2Ryan Helsley+1
3Héctor Neris+1
4Ryan Tepera+1
5Kendall Graveman+1
6Diego Castillo
7Daniel Hudson+3
8Michael Fulmer+6
9Seth Lugo+4
10Michael King-1
11Josh Staumont
12Aaron Bummer+UR
13A.J. Minter+5
14Andrew Chafin+5
15Brooks Raley+5
16Aaron Loup+1
17J.P. Feyereisen+9
18Spencer Strider+5
19Emilio Pagán+8
21Will Smith
22Drew Smith-1
23Andrés Muñoz-8
24Trevor Stephan-8
25Alexis Díaz+4
26Jake Diekman+13
27Alex Lange+22
28Alex Vesia+8
29Rafael Montero-1
30Collin McHugh-6
31Steven Wilson-9
32Phil Maton+5
33Seranthony Domínguez-
34Griffin Jax+1
35Joe Kelly+17
36Luis García
37Mychal Givens-6
38Brad Boxberger-
39Génesis Cabrera+1
40Tyler Kinley+1
41Matt Wisler+1
42Colin Poche+1
43Tyler Duffey-13
44Scott Effross+3
45Joely Rodríguez+1
46Brock Burke-1
47Hansel Robles+UR
48Brusdar Graterol+5
49Matt Strahm+6
50Félix Bautista+6
51Robert Suarez+13
52Adam Cimber+13
53Joe Smith+5
54A.J. Puk+3
55Ryne Stanek+5
56Tanner Scott
57Anthony Bass-3
58John Schreiber+UR
59Matt Foster+3
60Evan Phillips+6
61Yimi García+9
62Ian Kennedy+5
63Wil Crowe+5
64Zach Jackson+UR
65Noé Ramirez+28
66Tony Santillan+UR
67Joe Mantiply+27
68Jalen Beeks+24
69José Alvarado-10
70Dylan Floro+UR
71Trevor Gott+7
72Rowan Wick-11
73José Ruiz-29
74Adam Ottavino+3
75Lou Trivino-6
76Víctor Arano
77Anthony Gose-3
78Ryan Thompson+5
79Steven Okert-4
80Dominic Leone-4
82Sam Hentges-9
83Nick Sandlin-11
84Brad Hand-4
86Dillon Tate+5
87Jeurys Familia-3
88Drew Steckenrider-2
89Trevor Richards-2
90Matt Bush-2
91Chris Martin-1
92Austin Davis+8
94Bennett Sousa-5
95Jimmy Herget+UR
96Caleb Thielbar-
97Bryan Abreu-
98John Brebbia+1
99Dennis Santana+UR
100Miguel Castro+UR


Photo by 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.

11 responses to “The Hold Up 5/26: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Colin says:

    Jason Adam?

  2. JR says:

    I rage dropped Tyler Rogers and Aaron Loup after they destroyed my roto ratios for Schreiber and Lange. Not looking back…

    Should I be looking back? No one claimed them off waivers…

    • Rick Graham says:

      Lange over Rogers, I can definitely see that.

      I’d still prefer Loup over Schreiber (for now)

  3. Harley says:

    Why is Diego Castillo so high? 9.6 k9, 4.8 bb9 and 33% gb equating to a 3.77 xEra or 3.89 xFip. His Oswing is down, swinging strike down, etc etc. What am I missing?

    • Rick Graham says:

      It’s really just been one bad stretch in early May where he allowed 9 earned runs in 1 inning. Despite not getting the same results, the stuff looks the same as it did last year and the Mariners certainly think he’ll turn it around based of his recent usage. Could be a mechanical/pitch tipping thing going on.

      • Big Joey says:

        Diego Castillo’s Pitcherlist bio page is messed up. It says he’s a SS on the Pirates, and no video of his different pitches. Please inform the IT person or whomever thank you kindly

  4. Joon says:

    Hi Rick – this is perhaps a stupid question, but which metric were you referring to when you pointed out Robert Suarez’s 20.9% whiff rate? If it’s SwStr%, wouldn’t 20.9% be considered elite?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Hi Joon, so Whiff rate you can find on Baseball Savant and that is Whiffs per swing where as SwStr%, which can be found on Fangraphs, is Whiffs per pitches thrown. For CSW, we use called strikes plus Swinging Strikes (despite calling them Whiffs). It’s a bit confusing I know, but I think each metric has value.

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