The Hold Up 6/1: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Another fairly quiet week as far as injuries go around the leagues bullpens, but Adam Ottavino‘s shoulder injury is sure to impact owners in save+hold’s leagues. Ottavino has a troubling...

Another fairly quiet week as far as injuries go around the leagues bullpens, but Adam Ottavino’s shoulder injury is sure to impact owners in save+hold’s leagues. Ottavino has a troubling injury background, and there is no exact timetable for his return at the moment. After getting off to a super hot start in April, he did hit quite the rough patch over the past month, featuring a very unappealing 9/10 K/BB ratio. For those looking for future closer stashes, the list starts with Felipe Rivero, with Trevor Rosenthal and Arodys Vizcaino right behind.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

  • Business as usual for Andrew Miller again this week. Miller turned 2.1 innings into 5 K’s and 2 holds, while allowing just 1 baserunner. He’s been the #2 ranked RP in SV+HD leagues this season (#1 over the past month), and should be a lock to finish the season in the top 5. I was tempted to move Felipe Rivero up into this tier, but I don’t feel like that would be fair to Miller.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

2. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates

3. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

4. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

5. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

6. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)  

7. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

8. Will Harris (Houston Astros

9. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

10. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs

11. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

12. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

13. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

14. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

  • The only thing that was holding back Tommy Kahnle from shooting up these rankings were lack of holds (no pun intended). Well he was dominant in 3 chances this past week, while striking out 6. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Nate Jones returns, as I don’t know if it’s possible for the White Sox to sustain 2 top 20 hold’s options.
  • Heading in to the season, I was really high on Pedro Baez as a hold’s option, and liked him as a steady tier 2 option. A set back early on in a trip to the DL pushed him further down the list upon his return, but he is finally starting to put up the numbers we’ve come to expect from him the past few years. The holds finally may be on their way as he racked up 3 of them this past week. His SwStr% is even way up this season, sitting at 17.2%.
  • With as lukewarm as Santiago Casilla has been all season, it’s certainly fair to wonder why the A’s haven’t even given Ryan Madson a chance to take that job. Instead, Madson has just been great in an 8th inning role, keeping his ERA under 2 and WHIP under 1 while striking out a batter an inning.

TIER 3: Torn

15. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays

16. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

17. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

18. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

19. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

20. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

21. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)  

22. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros

23. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers

24. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals

25. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres

26. Shane Green (Detroit Tigers) 

27. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

28. David Phelps (Miami Marlins

29. Josh Fields (Los Angeles Dodgers

30. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

  • Perhaps the only other bright spot in the Rangers bullpen outside of Matt Bush, Keone Kela has become a huge asset for them. He should be the team’s primary set up man going forward with the rest of the bullpen struggling.
  • Jake McGee should take over as the Rockies primary set-up man with Adam Ottavino on the DL. He has been quietly great this season, just lacking in the hold’s category. One note of concern with McGee however would be his under 10 SwStr% (9.7% is the 2nd lowest number of his career, with 8.6% last year being his lowest mark) and his high tendency for flyballs. The ERA is probably due to take a hit somewhat soon.
  • David Phelps has really turned it around after a very slow start, and at this point seems to be the Marlins best bullpen option. Hold’s may not always come, but he does tend to eat a lot of innings and can help with ratios and K’s. He hasn’t allowed an earned run over the past month and should be a solid option as long as he remains in the bullpen, especially given his SP eligibility in a lot of leagues.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

31. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

32. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians

36. Matt Strahm (Kansas City Royals

33. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

34. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)  

35. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

36. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

37. Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

38. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

39. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

40. James Pazos (Seattle Mariners

41. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies

42. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

43. Matt Albers (Washington Nationals)  

44. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)  

45. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies

46. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays)

47. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

48. Adam Warren (New York Yankees)

49. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

50. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

  • I had such high hopes for Kyle Barraclough heading into the year, and he has been probably the most disappointing non-closer reliever to me up until this point. His 3.63 ERA doesn’t show how bad he really has been as his 4.69 FIP and 5.37 xFIP help prove. A ton of walks were always expected, but so weren’t a ton of K’s. While his K-BB% was a cool 22.6% last season, this year it’s sitting at a dismal 3.7%. His SwStr% has also dipped a full 4%. The Marlins may be better off sending him down to AAA to try to fix his control issues once and for all, and maybe give Drew Steckenrider a look, because you know, they need at least one RP with an awesome last name.
  • Paul Sewald continues to rise as the Mets bullpen starts to figure things out. Theres a good amount of upside here if he can lock up a steady set-up role, given his ability to induce swings and misses while limiting walks.
  • James Pazos was kind of the Mariners closer for about 2 weeks, but failed to accumulate any saves. He still isn’t someone to forget about in hold’s leagues, given his ability to miss bats, while keeping the majority of balls put in play against him on the ground. He’s an intriguing option in deep leagues.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

51. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets

52. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners

53. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

54. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

55. Liam Hendriks (Oakland Athletics)

56. Ross Stripling (Los Angeles Dodgers

57. Heath Hembree (Boston Red Sox)

58. Jonathan Holder (New York Yankees)  

59. Carlos Torres (Milwaukee Brewers

60. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)  

61. JJ Hoover (Arizona Diamondbacks)

62. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

63. James Hoyt (Houston Astros)

64. Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays

65. Nick Wittgren (Miami Marlins)

66. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

67. Sergio Romo (Los Angeles Dodgers)

68. Frankie Montas (Oakland Athletics)

69. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks

70. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels

  • Ross Stripling can’t be recommended to count on for holds, but he is SP eligible and can be a solid extra pitcher to carry to help with other categories, and pitch in a hold or 2 here and there perhaps.
  • Daniel Hudson and Sergio Romo, both of whom were ranked highly before the season started, are back on the radar as both have pitched well lately. They still have a ways to go to be on the radar outside of the deepest of leagues.

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)

Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

Luis Avilan (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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)

Joe Blanton (Washington Nationals)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

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.

One response to “The Hold Up 6/1: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Jon Mosier says:

    If/when Watson loses the CL job to Rivero, where does Watson start on this list?

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