The Hold Up 5/25: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Not a whole lot of change this week on The Hold Up, as the injury bug took it easy on many bullpens across the league for once. We did lose...

Not a whole lot of change this week on The Hold Up, as the injury bug took it easy on many bullpens across the league for once. We did lose Ryan Dull to a knee strain, but it’s not exactly like he was setting the world on fire to begin with. The biggest beneficiary could be Frankie Montas, who should begin to be trusted late in games more. It’s not like the A’s have anything to lose trusting a young prospect like Montas in that role to gain valuable experience.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

  • Per usual, Andrew Miller was one of, if not the best non-closer reliever this past week. He is as steady as they come when looking at RP’s.

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. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

6. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)  

7. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs

8. Will Harris (Houston Astros

9. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

10. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles))

11. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

12. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

  • While Tony Watson has allowed 7 runs in 9 May appearances, Felipe Rivero has allowed just 5 baserunners. Rivero has electric stuff and is getting groundballs over 60% of the time so it should only be a matter of time before the Pirates hand him the 9th inning.
  • Arodys Vizcaino is coming off a terrific week, allowing just 1 hit over 4 innings, walking none and striking out 5 while picking up 3 holds and a win. He hasn’t allowed a run in over a month, while Jim Johnson has blown 3 saves. There’s a chance he earns some saves this year as well.

TIER 3: Torn

13. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

14. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

15. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros

16. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

17. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres

18. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays

19. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

20. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)  

21. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

22. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

23. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

24. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)   

25. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

26. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

27. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

28. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians

29. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers

30. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

31. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals

  • Almost by default as the majority of the Rangers bullpen continues to struggle, Keone Kela has worked himself into a prime set-up role in about a months time. He has the tools to stay in the role and be a dominate lock down 8th inning bridge to closer Matt Bush. The problem with him has always been consistency and ability to stay healthy, but if he can put it all together, a rise into tier 2 could be in short order.
  • While Matt Strahm was the lefty out of the Royals pen everyone was excited for heading into the season, it’s been the transformation of former starter turned reliever Mike Minor that has been the story of the their bullpen so far. He only has 4 holds on the year, and should begin to see more chance soon. Either way, his ERA, WHIP and strikeout per inning numbers should be useful for fantasy owners.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

32. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

33. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres

34. Matt Strahm (Kansas City Royals

35. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

36. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

37. Josh Fields (Los Angeles Dodgers

38. Shane Green (Detroit Tigers) 

39. Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

40. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays

41. David Phelps (Miami Marlins

42. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)  

43. Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays)

44. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies

45. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

46. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

47. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies

48. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)  

49. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals) 

50. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • Alex Wilson may be the next guy in line behind Justin Wilson in the Tigers bullpen pecking order, but Shane Green should not be forgotten either. He holds an ERA and WHIP under 1.3 right now, and has struck out 26 in 21 innings.
  • Both Brett Cecil and Kevin Siegrist are not this bad, or at least that’s what their respective track records say. Cecil is still missing bats at a good rate, and has been getting a lot of groundballs as well. The big problem with him had been allowing free passes, which he then tends to compound his mistake by allowing a big hit or HR to follow. Eventually he should figure things out, but owners in deep leagues have to hope that comes soon. The same can be said about Siegrist, although his struggles are a little more alarming, as he misses bats at a much lower clip and has a higher flyball tendency.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

51. JJ Hoover (Arizona Diamondbacks)  

52. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)  

53. Carlos Torres (Milwaukee Brewers)

54. Jonathan Holder (New York Yankees)

55. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

56. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

57. Matt Albers (Washington Nationals)  

58. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)

59. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

60. Liam Hendriks (Oakland Athletics)

61. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks

62. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

63. Joe Kelly (Boston Red Sox)

64. Luis Avilan (Los Angeles Dodgers

65. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

66. Randall Delgado (Arizona Diamondbacks)

67. Frankie Montas (Oakland Athletics)

68. James Hoyt (Houston Astros)

69. Jorge De La Rosa (Arizona Diamondbacks)

70. Wandy Peralta (Cincinnati Reds)

  • Joe Kelly still hasn’t worked himself into a setup role quite yet, but he has been very good as of late. He has always had the stuff to be an elite back-end of the bullpen weapon, he’s just lacked any type of consistency to be trusted in the role. I’m not counting on Tyler Thornburg or Carson Smith returning anytime in the near future, and Kelly is the Sox best bullpen option outside of Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel right now.
  • I’m glad I can finally place Frankie Montas on this list. After struggling in the first month of the season, he has put together 5 straight scoreless outings. Add that to the fact he has a nice 27/9 K/BB rate over 23 innings, he should start to working himself into high leverage late inning situation more often going forward.

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)

Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics

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)

Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds)

Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Joe Blanton (Washington Nationals)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays)

Junichi Tazawa (Miami Marlins)


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.

2 responses to “The Hold Up 5/25: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. gjburie says:

    Looks like Doolittle and Nate Jones are about to begin rehab assignments. Will they immediately slot into tier 2 if fully healthy upon return?

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