The Hold Up 6/24: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's top setup options for the 2021 season.

Chad Green continues to be one of baseball’s most consistent non-closer relievers and an underrated reliever at that. He may serve up hard contact at a high rate, but he manages to limit the damage by keeping his walk rate down and missing bats when he needs to. The strikeout numbers won’t blow you away (27% K%), and he won’t lead the league in holds (just ten this season), but he is one of the only relievers on this list guaranteed to not wreck your ratio’s, give you a steady amount of K’s and factor into some holds and wins here and there. Even with Zack Britton back, there will be an important, high leverage role in this Yankees bullpen with Greens name on it.




  • Antone return. It’s only been one game since returning from a short IL stint, but Antone’s spin rates were down quite a bit from where they are typically. For guys like himself and Lucas Sims who are amongst the leaders in spin rate, it will be worth keeping a close eye on their performances while they adjust to MLB’s new rules.
  • A pair of Rays moved down a tier, but for two different concerns. J.P. Feyereisen has seen his spin rates drop about 300 RPM’s over the past week, and while he’s still pitched well, it’s a concern for his long-term outlook, albeit a minor one at the moment. Pete Fairbanks drop isn’t spin-related but related to his seemingly declining swing and miss ability as his slider just hasn’t been the same this year.
  • Victor González has also had an issue since the new MLB rules were announced, with declining spin rates and command issues. González has allowed four walks over his past 1.1 innings, which is uncharacteristic of him. Again, a decline in spin rate doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in performance, but when it correlates with command issues then there may be a problem. It’s going to take some time for these guys to adjust and adapt, but there’s a chance some of them won’t be able to.
  • Trevor May has put together five quality outings over the past week, striking out nine over that time span. Despite the return of Seth Lugo and the emergence of Aaron Loup, I think May will emerge as that second or third setup/holds option.
  • Speaking of Loup, he has been such a steal for the Mets this offseason, and one of their unsung heroes as they sit atop the standings in the NL East. He may not rack up a ton of holds, but he hasn’t allowed a run over the past month to go with a 15/1 K/BB rate and just five hits allowed over 10.2 innings. Another name to keep an eye on in the won’t get holds but ratios and K’s are awesome categories is Collin McHugh. The multi-inning reliever has put together an insane June, with a 19/1 K/BB rate and just six hits allowed over 13 scoreless innings. He may not help with holds, but there is plenty of value to be had here.
  • I’m not sure if Evan Marshall is truly back to his 2020 form yet, but given the state of the White Sox bullpen, he seems like a lock to see plenty of hold opportunities moving forward. The 10/2 K/BB rate in June is nice to see, and outside of his three earned run performance on June 4th Marshall has had nine scoreless appearances since mid-May.
Rank Pitcher Change
1Giovanny GallegosT1-
2Tejay Antone-
3Scott Barlow-
4Chad Green-
5James Karinchak+UR
6Ryan Tepera+7
7Blake Treinen-2
8Seth Lugo+2
9Jake Diekman+2
10Devin Williams-1
11J.P. Feyereisen
12Pete Fairbanks-5
13Andrew Chafin+5
14Aaron Bummer+1
15Austin Adams+1
16Adam Ottavino+1
17Victor González-5
18Jimmy Nelson+2
19Trevor May+9
20José Alvarado+2
21Jonathan Loáisiga
22Gregory Soto+4
23Emilio Pagán+1
24Zack Britton-1
25Brad Boxberger+4
26Chris Martin-1
27Tanner Scott-
29Aaron Loup+11
30Collin McHugh+18
32Ryne Stanek+1
33Tyler Duffey+1
34Garrett Crochet-3
35Miguel Castro-3
36Garrett Whitlock-1
37Josh Staumont+UR
38Dylan Floro+1
39Jeffrey Springs+3
40Anthony Bender+1
42Hansel Robles+UR
43Kyle Zimmer-7
44Tanner Rainey+10
45Yusmeiro Petit-1
46Wander Suero-1
47A.J. Minter+3
48Tyler Matzek-2
49Josh Sborz-11
50David Bednar-1
51Craig Stammen+7
52Tyler Chatwood+9
53Connor Brogdon+22
54Génesis Cabrera
55Joely Rodríguez+7
56Brooks Raley+14
57Tim Hill+10
58Jake Brentz-11
59Rex Brothers-3
60Sam Coonrod-17
61Matt Wisler-1
62Ryan Thompson+7
63Andrew Kittredge-6
64Darwinzon Hernández+4
65Brent Suter+1
66Hirokazu Sawamura+6
68Caleb Thielbar+6
69Josh Taylor+7
70Ranger Suárez+10
71Codi Heuer-16
72Nick Sandlin
73Bryan Shaw-9
75JT Chargois+2
76Luke Jackson+9
77Heath Hembree+9
78Drew Steckenrider+9
79Sean Doolittle+10
80Cole Sulser-15
81Archie Bradley+9
83Hunter Harvey+UR
84Kyle Crick+UR
85Carlos Estévez+UR
86Brett Martin+UR
87Lucas Luetge+UR
88Paul Sewald+UR
89Jake Cousins+UR
90Dominic Leone+UR


Photo by Rich von Biberstein/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.

2 responses to “The Hold Up 6/24: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. MS19 says:

    Rick, before I knew Sims was hurt, I dropped Britton and picked up Loup. After I moved Sims to the IL, I grabbed Devin Williams. Is Sims worth stashing, or is he bound to lose his closer role?

    • Rick Graham says:

      He’s worth the stash if you have an IL spot available, but if not I wouldn’t hesitate to let him go

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