The Hold Up 5/9: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

I suppose it is time to move Bryan Abreu off of the top spot in the holds rankings, an unfortunate reality but he just isn’t right at the moment. Abreu’s stuff is still relatively intact and he’s generating swings and misses (16.2% SwStr) but the command has been atrocious. It’s easy to point to the walk rate (14.3%) for his problems but it goes beyond that. In 2022 and 2023 Abreu had a 56.5% F-Strike rate, which is down to 49.4% this season. Even when he is in the zone, he’s far too hittable, and that starts with his fastball command. If he can get back to locating like he has in the past, he can shoot back up to the top spot rather quickly, but until we see some consistency there, he needs to drop down the ranks some. Remember though, Abreu has the highest upside of any non-closer reliever so monitor his progress closely if he is available.




  • So I guess this Reed Garrett breakout may actually be real. Now 19 IP into the season, Garrett holds 42.7% K, 19.1% SwStr and 38.3% CSW rates (all Top 5 amongst relievers) although the 12% walk rate is not ideal (leading to a 1.05 WHIP). The big difference for Garrett this season is that he’s throwing his fastballs less, down to 26.1% this year compared to 45.5% last year and 69.9% in 2022. It’s a good thing he is because his fastball is well below average, but the slider/sweeper/splitter trio has been super effective, using the slider (more like a cutter)/splitter combo to attack left-handed hitters and sweeper/fastball against righties. The approach is working for now, but I do wonder how sustainable it is without a decent fastball.

  • Alex Lange was stuck with a tough luck loss yesterday, but he has been pitching much better as of late, to the point that I would almost expect him to see the Tigers’ next save chance (Jason Foley worked the seventh yesterday). Over his past 9.2 IP, Lange has a 27.8% K rate and 0.62 WHIP and an 86.1% F-Strike rate! Lange may be beginning to take that Tanner Scott approach from last season, trusting his stuff and making sure he gets ahead in the count 0-1. I want to believe this is the turning point, and I’m cautiously optimistic it is.


  • With Aroldis Chapman doing his typical Jekyll and Hyde thing, the Pirates have luckily found two consistent bullpen arms to rely on in Colin Holderman and Hunter Stratton now as well. This is the best we’ve seen Holderman, with a 34.4% K rate as he’s upped his sweeper usage is up 23.8% this season. Stratton doesn’t have a high K rate, but he has a 2.4% BB rate and 0.87 WHIP, he is getting swings and misses (17.4% SwStr rate) and there could be more strikeout upside there if he were to throw his slider more (56% Whiff rate).

  • It was a rocky start to the season for Garrett Cleavinger but since his first outing of the season where he walked three, Cleavinger has a 37.7% K rate and 2.56 xFIP. The walk rate is still an issue (15.1%), but that should eventually come down with time. If he can get the walk rate to 10%, we are probably talking about a Top-20 holds option.


  • The NL West boasts a pair of high-upside relievers in Ryan Walker and Adrian Morejon, with both of their ceilings worth chasing in deeper holds leagues. Over his past 9 IP, Walker has a comical 50% K rate and just a 3.1% BB rate, which is surprising for a low slot sinker/slider righty, but his stuff is so funky, I can see how it’s hard to make contact. For the season, Walker holds a 0.83 WHIP and 34.4% CSW so let’s hope the Giants find some more hold chances for him.

  • Ignore the 1.46 WHIP with Morejon (.514 BABIP) and just look at the rest of his player page. It’s a limited sample of course (13 IP) but he’s been a legitimate top 20, probably top 10 reliever stuff-wise this season thanks to an uptick in fastball velo (up 2 mph to 97.2 mph). The slider is also improved and this all just looks fantastic. Morejon is definitely the left-handed reliever to roster in San Diego.


  • Staying in the West, let’s not forget about other set-up options like Enyel De Los Santos and Austin Adams who have surprised this season. De Los Santos may not be a big stuff guy (88 Stuff+) but he’s been great this season with 23% K-BB, 35.6% CSW rates. He’s basically locked into that top set-up man role for now and is another reliever having success due to dropping his fastball usage (down 14.5%) and upping his breaker usage (up 22.3%). With Adams, we already knew he was going to be 80+% slider as that’s his calling card, and it looks like he’s just having more luck this season and is back to being healthy after some rough stretches the past couple of years. This may be the upside for Adams (and that’s fine!), but we’ll certainly take it with him setting up Mason Miller.



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

SP Eligible Relievers


Rank Pitcher Change
1Griffin JaxT1+1
2Jeff Hoffman+6
3Hunter Harvey+4
4Ryan Pressly+1
5Joe Jiménez+6
6Yennier Cano+3
7A.J. Minter-4
8Fernando Cruz+4
9Scott Barlow+1
10Bryan Abreu-9
11Matt Strahm
12Reed Garrett+17
13Adam Ottavino+4
14Andrew Kittredge+7
15Yimi García-
16JoJo Romero-2
17Danny Coulombe+1
18David Robertson+2
19Alex Lange+15
20Kevin Ginkel+UR
21Hunter Gaddis
22Nick Sandlin+8
23Justin Slaten-1
24Orion Kerkering+4
25Chris Martin-
26Colin Holderman+27
27Garrett Cleavinger+29
28Tyler Rogers+8
29Bryan Hudson+11
30Gabe Speier+2
31Blake Treinen+UR
32Hunter Stratton+46
33Ryan Walker+32
34Adrian Morejon+45
35Cade Smith+UR
36John Schreiber-17
37Aroldis Chapman-11
38Mark Leiter Jr.+11
39Enyel De Los Santos+32
40Austin Adams+21
41Andrew Nardi
42Lucas Erceg-5
43Alex Vesia-1
44Caleb Thielbar+14
45Taylor Rogers-
46Erik Swanson-23
47Phil Maton-3
48Ian Hamilton-24
49Jacob Webb+50
50Ryan Thompson+19
51Steven Okert-16
52Matt Moore-6
53Luke Weaver+31
54John Brebbia+29
55Erik Miller+25
56Cole Sands+21
57Caleb Ferguson+11
58Keegan Akin+17
59Lucas Sims+1
60Gregory Soto-1
61Ryne Stanek
62Yency Almonte+5
63Andrew Chafin-13
64Anthony Maldonado+UR
65Trevor Richards-8
66Shawn Armstrong-4
67Tim Herrin+6
68Joel Payamps+UR
69Shelby Miller-22
70José Leclerc-15
71Adbert Alzolay-17
72Jordan Leasure-21
73Sam Hentges+UR
74Hoby Milner-4
75Calvin Faucher+7
76Yuki Matsui-38
77Elvis Peguero-25
78Emilio Pagán+9
79Steven Wilson-16
80Tyler Holton+11
81Greg Weissert
82Seranthony Domínguez+8
83Aaron Bummer-7
84Dylan Lee+5
85Luis García+UR
86Jake Diekman-1
87Trent Thornton+8
88Ryan Fernandez+UR
89Sean Hjelle+UR
90Nick Robertson+UR
91Angel Zerpa+UR
92Sean Reid-Foley+UR
93Tanner Banks+UR
94Alex Faedo+UR
95Joey Wentz+UR
96Jacob Latz+UR
97Tyler Duffey+UR
98Kevin Kelly+UR
99Derek Law+UR
100Jorge López+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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