The Hold-Up 5/19: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Thursday

Thursday has arrived and with it comes updated setup men rankings. This is a great day for hold leagues, and therefore the world. These rankings are an attempt at quantifying...

Thursday has arrived and with it comes updated setup men rankings. This is a great day for hold leagues, and therefore the world. These rankings are an attempt at quantifying a mixture of both short term and rest of season value. The formula isn’t concrete but it considers general ratio and strikeout potential + pure hold totals and potential. Holds are pretty volatile so in most cases your best bet is to focus on ratios, take advantage of the RP + P slots by rolling out a hefty number of setup men, and let the holds naturally trickle in. Managers should always make decisions and alter this list based on their specific league setup. 

Did a full once over this week and really tweaked the rankings. Still haven’t added badges for arms worth starting in daily 5×5 rotos, and those who get a boost in K% and K/BB leagues, but slow and steady. 

Please do share your questions and critiques in the comments. Follow me on twitter @HisDudenessOfNY for the rare tweet regarding secondary players most people don’t care about and the occasional timely injury news snippet. 


1A. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

1B. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

3. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

4. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

5. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

6. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

7. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)


8. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

9. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

10. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

11. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

12. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)

13. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

14. Koji Uehara (Boston Red Sox)

15. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

16. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

17. Josh Osich (San Francisco Giants)


18. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

19. Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

20. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

21. Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

22. David Hernandez (Philadelphia Phillies)

23. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

24. Junichi Tazawa (Boston Red Sox)

25. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

26. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

27. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

28. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

29. Erasmo Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays)

30. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)


31. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

32. Fernando Salas (Los Angeles Angels)

33. Neftali Feliz (Pittsburgh Pirates)

34. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

35. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

36. Luke Hockevar (Kansas City Royals)

37. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

38. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

39. Pat Neshek (Houston Astros)

40. Joel Peralta (Seattle Mariners)

41. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

42. Tyler Clippard (Arizona Diamondbacks)

43. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

44. Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)


45. Gavin Floyd (Toronto Blue Jays)

46. Adam Warren (Chicago Cubs)

47. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

48. Fernando Rodriguez (Oakland Athletics)

49. Tyler Thornburg (Milwaukee Brewers)

50. Michael Blazek (Milwaukee Brewers)

51. Matt Albers (Chicago White Sox)

52. Jim Henderson (New York Mets)

53. Zach Duke (Chicago White Sox)

54. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)

55. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals

56. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)

57. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)

58. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

59. John Axford (Oakland Athletics)

60. Cory Gearrin (San Francisco Giants)


61. Antonio Bastardo (New York Mets)

62. Vidal Nuno (Seattle Mariners)

63. Zach McAllister (Cleveland Indians)

64. Jonathan Broxton (St. Louis Cardinals)

65. Andrew Bailey (Philadelphia Phillies)

66. Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)

67. Shawn Tolleson (Texas Rangers)

68. Drew Storen (Toronto Blue Jays)

69. Kevin Quackenbush (San Diego Padres)

70. Mark Lowe (Detroit Tigers)

71. Enny Romero (Tampa Bay Rays)

72. Xavier Cedeño (Tampa Bay Rays)

73. Carlos Estévez (Colorado Rockies)

74. Bryan Morris (Miami Marlins)

75. Mike Morin (Los Angeles Angels)

76. Justin Grimm (Chicago Cubs)


77. Adam Liberatore (Los Angeles Dodgers)

78. Greg Mahle (Los Angeles Angels)

79. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks)

80. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds

81. Ross Ohlendorf (Cincinnati Reds

82. Chad Qualls (Colorado Rockies)

83. Drew VerHagen (Detroit Tigers)

84.Tony Sipp (Houston Astros)

85. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)


TIER A – Romo and Benoit are studs with Tier 2 upside. Benoit was just activated but hasn’t pitched, and Romo should be back around the end of May. Miguel Castro looked great before hitting the DL and was just activated although he’ll spend some time in AAA.

Sergio Romo (San Francisco Giants)

– Joaquin Benoit (Seattle Mariners)

Miguel Castro (Colorado Rockies)


– Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)

Jason Motte (Colorado Rockies)

Mike Dunn (Miami Marlins)

Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)


– Alright, I’ve finally placed Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances at 1A and 1B. Felt compelled to prove a point when people were turning on Tony Watson after a slow start. I expect Tony to get more holds ROS but Miller and Betances will get fed and the strikeout upside pushes them over the top.

Kevin Siegrist has great ratios and a strong K% but still only 3 holds, third on the team. Dunno what to tell you, I’m not dropping him in hold leagues. Don’t really trust Jonathan Broxton and I assume the league will get slightly more familiar with Seung-Hwan Oh in time.

– Speaking of studs who don’t have many holds, my boy Hunter Strickland still only has 3. Josh Osich leads the Giants with 7, Chad Gearrin is #2 with 5 and Sergio Romo is third with 4 holds even though he hasn’t pitched since April 10th. So I guess he deserves to be bumped down. Hunter did get two dubs last week and he is borderline tier 1 in 5x5s. 

– Bumped up Junichi Tazawa. Didn’t mention this, but I had a serious love affair with Taz since 2013 that ended sometime in the 2nd half of last season. My gut says he fades a bit but until then the ratio and hold upside is undeniable. Don’t trust Koji Uehara because age discrimination, and they are treading slowly with Carson Smith

Sean Doolittle and Ken Giles move way up this week. They have pedigrees and are starting to roll. 

– With Sam Dyson now manning the 9th Jake Diekmann is probably the best bridge in Texas. Matt Bush passes the eye test, we’ll see how they use him. 

– Turned my back on Felipe Rivero and he doubles his hold total in the last week. 

Boone Logan continues to do work in high leverage situations but it is hard to trust a Colorado pitcher. Another Rockies arm Carlos Estevez had 3 high quality holds the last week and 5 in the last two weeks. Also Miguel Castro is off the DL and will be called up soon presumably. We’ll see how things shake out, assume they’ll get knocked around a bit more and will drain hold potential from each other. 

– Gotta love a converted starter, and while it seems crazy to trust Luke Hochevar he is once again improving out of the pen. 

Pat Neshek is another ex-bf of mine. He has volatile career numbers and a freckled injury history. Ride the wave.

Joel Peralta is OG and teams have trusted him in high leverage situations through the core of his late blooming career. But I’m in no rush to chase the last dregs of a career and triple OG Joaquin Benoit was just activated off the DL and Tony Zych should be back sometime in June.

Kyle Barraclough has been getting shelled. The strikeout rate is oh so tempting but he is a wildcard with high upside.

Fernando Rodriguez put up quality numbers last year but didn’t get many holds. He is a horse and the ratios are even better this season. We’ll see if Oakland gives him more responsibility.

Alex Wilson is getting high leverage situations with Mark Lowe crumbling and Justin Wilson stumbling.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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