The Hold Up 5/18: Ranking The Top 70 Relievers For Holds Every Week

We once again lose a few top options this week due to injury/closer ineffectiveness, leaving the “elite” holds options scarcer than ever. A lot of the tier 2 options also...

We once again lose a few top options this week due to injury/closer ineffectiveness, leaving the “elite” holds options scarcer than ever. A lot of the tier 2 options also struggled a bit over the past week, which hasn’t exactly helped settle the position any further. Then you have Taylor Rogers 2nd among active set-up men in holds, with guys like Heath Hembree, Ryan Dull and Matt Bowman right behind him. Still, there are about 80 relievers I’d probably rank ahead of all of them. This season more than ever, give me the low ERA and WHIP plus a high K rate and treat the holds/saves as a luxury.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

  • Andrew Miller continues his string of dominance and is clearly on an other level from the rest of the field here (Trevor Rosenthal is closing fast however).

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

2. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

3. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

4. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

5. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

6. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

7. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs

8. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

9. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

10. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

11. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

12. Will Harris (Houston Astros

13. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

  • The Diamondbacks seem likely to keep Archie Bradley in the bullpen for the rest of the year now. He now become a prime candidate to earn some save opportunities post another Fernando Rodney blow up or two. I love his potential going forward.
  • Derek Law returns back to his usual set-up role in front of Mark Melancon, and should be one of the better options out there. He filled in nicely for Melancon, posting 3 saves in 5 outings this past week, allowing only one baserunner over the last 4 games.
  • Koda Glover is also back on the list, returning from the DL this past weekend. Right now, he is currently the teams primary set-up man/secondary closer, but that could change soon. Shawn Kelley just hasn’t been working out in that role, and a trade, while likely, isn’t imminent.

TIER 3: Torn

14. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)   

15. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

16. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros

17. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

18. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals

19. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

20. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

21. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)  

22. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)  

23. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

24. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

25. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds) 

26. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

27. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays

28. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

29. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

30. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

31. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians

32. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

  • Tyler Clippard, who has been great this season, should now finally start seeing more hold chances being the Yankees primary set-up guy while Aroldis Chapman is on the DL. He gets a big boost for the next month.
  • Similarly, Jacob Barnes should see more hold opportunities with Corey Knebel moving up into the closers role. On the way down would be Hunter Strickland, who now falls behind Derek Law with the return of Mark Melancon.
  • One name to keep an eye on in potential trade talks here, Brad Hand. He has been dominant once again this year and a move to a contender could boost his low hold totals.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

33. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

34. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

35. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres

36. Matt Strahm (Kansas City Royals

37. Josh Fields (Los Angeles Dodgers

38. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds) 

39. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

40. Matt Albers (Washington Nationals)

41.  Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays)

42. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies

43. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays

44. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

45. Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

46. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

47. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels

48. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

49. Shane Green (Detroit Tigers)  

50. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)  

  • Josh Fields has been an oversight on this list the past few weeks. While he only has 2 holds, his ratios have been stellar and the K/BB ratio at 21/3 is pretty nice too. He should begin to work his way into more hold opportunities soon.
  • Danny Farquhar has always been an interesting case, as he has a great swing and miss changeup, but he has always seemed to be hit hard throughout his career. The swinging strikes are down this year, as well as the K’s, but so are the ERA and WHIP. He’s been a nice piece to what has been a surprisingly effective Rays bullpen so far, and should continue to see hold’s even when Brad Boxberger and Xavier Cedeno return.
  • The Minnesota Twins probably deserve at least one representative on this list, so I’ll give you Taylor Rogers. He currently has 10 holds, which is good for 3rd in all of baseball. He also holds a respectable 3.75 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, while striking out 10 in 12 innings. Those numbers should stay around the same, while I ultimately expect the holds to cool off once the Twins come back down to earth.

TIER 5: There She Goes

51. Jonathan Holder (New York Yankees

52. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies

53. Yusmiero Petit (Los Angeles Angels)

54. Jeremy Jeffress (Texas Rangers

55. James Hoyt (Houston Astros)

56. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

57. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

58. Liam Hendriks (Oakland Athletics)

59. Luis Avilan (Los Angeles Dodgers 

60. Enny Romero (Washington Nationals)  

61. Heath Hembree (Boston Red Sox)

62. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

63. JJ Hoover (Arizona Diamondbacks)  

64. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)

65. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics

66. Donnie Hart (Baltimore Orioles)

67. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

68. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

69. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks)

70.  Jared Hughes (Milwaukee Brewers)

  • I talked about Jonathan Holder last week as an interesting deep dynasty league option. This week I’ll bring up Paul Sewald’s name. He has the makings of a dominant late inning right specialist, with potential to possibly close if he can use his slider against lefties more effectively or develop a solid changeup. He has a chance to shoot up the Mets bullpen depth chart this year with the way everyone else has struggled, and is definitely a name to keep an eye on.

Disabled List

Arolids Chapman (New York Yankees)

Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

Jeurys Familia (New York Mets)

Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)

Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Jose LeClerc (Texas Rangers)

Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Joe Blanton (Washington Nationals)

Mauricio Cabrera (Atlanta Braves)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays)

Junichi Tazawa (Miami Marlins)

Tyler Lyons (St. Louis Cardinals)

Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies)

Chaz Roe (Atlanta Braves)

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.

4 responses to “The Hold Up 5/18: Ranking The Top 70 Relievers For Holds Every Week”

  1. Manny says:

    Why is Devenski ranked behind anyone other than Andrew Miller? Is it based on the fact that Giles has a strangle hold on the job?

    • Rick Graham says:

      He actually probably deserves to be a little lower, as over the past month, he ranks just 25th on this list in save+holds leagues. He had 2 monster weeks early in the season but since then has plateaued a bit.

  2. gjburie says:

    No Seattle relievers here, I guess because you included them all in Closing Time. Would Edwin Diaz be a tier 2 guy here?

    • Rick Graham says:

      Yes, I took them all off because we have no idea how they will be used. Diaz is still the guy to own, but if I had to rank the rest I’d go Pazos, Zych, Cishek, Vincent.

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