The Hold Up 6/15: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Some changes in the top few tiers this week, as Adam Ottavino and Sean Doolittle made their returns from the DL. Felipe Rivero also graduated to closer status, which was...

Some changes in the top few tiers this week, as Adam Ottavino and Sean Doolittle made their returns from the DL. Felipe Rivero also graduated to closer status, which was bound to happen sooner rather than later. The next reliever on this list to earn save opportunities is very much up in the air. If I had to guess, I’d say Tommy Kahnle, as the David Robertson to Nationals rumors have refused to die down. He should be owned in most standard leagues by now anyway.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

  • Finally, Andrew Miller has shown that he is indeed human. After allowing a HR to Cody Bellinger on Tuesday, Miller uncannily imploded last night, allowing 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning. Anyway, the struggles against the Dodgers are still nothing to be worried about. Miller should have some company in this tier next week, as Dellin Betances should be back to set-up duties with Aroldis Chapmans return from the DL imminent.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You 

2. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

3. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

4. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

5. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

6. Will Harris (Houston Astros

7. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

8. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

9. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

10. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

11. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

12. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

13. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

14. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

15. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers) 

  • Although it looks like Adam Ottavino will continue to pitch the 8th inning, just as he was prior to winding up on the DL, I think the team may need to reconsider with how well Jake McGee has been pitching. Ottavino hasn’t exactly been sharp this season (1.46 WHIP), while McGee has been close to flawless over the past month, allowing just 7 baserunners in 13 innings while striking out 16.
  • Shane Green has been one of the most dominant set up options in baseball this year, and continues to make a case for himself to be first in line for save opportunities if Justin Wilson struggles or gets injured. Like McGee, Greene continues to see the most of his work in the 7th inning, but Greene’s numbers are certainly more appealing than Alex Wilson’s.

TIER 3: Torn

16. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

17. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays

18. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

19. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

20. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

21. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals

22. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

23. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

24. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

25. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

26. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)  

27. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)   

28. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)  

29. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

30. Jose Leclerc (Texas Rangers)

  • Sean Doolittle has finally returned from the DL, but his exact role is still a bit murky. He has also become a big time durability concern, but he has been very effective this season when healthy. He should see both hold and saves opportunities going forward, as I imagine the A’s would like to go back to playing matchups in the 8th and 9th innings with the trio of Doolittle, Santiago Casilla and Ryan Madson.
  • Hunter Strickland is firmly back into the primary set up role, taking over for Derek Law who has been up and down since his short-lived stint as the Giants closer. Neither guy is a highly recommended option at this point, but Strickland would be the one to own right now.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

31. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

32. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox

33. Josh Fields (Los Angeles Dodgers

34. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

35. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians

36. Adam Warren (New York Yankees)

37. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

38. James Pazos (Seattle Mariners)

39. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

40. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers

41. Randall Delgado (Arizona Diamondbacks)

42. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

43.  Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)  

44. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals) 

45. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

46. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

47. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners

48. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

49. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

50. Joe Kelly (Boston Red Sox)

  • Randall Delgado pitched fairly well in 4 starts filing in for Tajuan Walker, allowing 7 runs over 20 innings and striking out 20. He now returns the bullpen, where it seems like he could be used in a Chris Devenski-esque role. with Archie Bradley moving into more of a strict set-up role. That would obviously give him considerable value still, and I think he is worth a hold in deeper leagues, especially those that use holds. He has a chance to move up these rankings quickly.
  • In what has been a very trying season for the Mets, Jerry Blevins continues to be a dominant shut down reliever. There are only 2 options in that bullpen that Terry Collins should feel confident about right now, with Blevins being one and Addison Reed the other. Blevins SwStr% is at an all-time high of 15.1% and while he is still only effective against lefties, he should continue to find a solid amount of hold chances.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

51. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros

52.  Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

53. Liam Hendriks (Oakland Athletics)

54. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

55. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies)

56. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

57. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

58. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays)

59. Enny Romero (Washington Nationals)

60. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks

61. Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays

62. Ryan Tepera (Toronto Blue Jays)

63. James Hoyt (Houston Astros)

64. Fernando Salas (New York Mets)

65. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)  

66. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

67. Ian Krol (Atlanta Braves)

68. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

69. Danny Barnes (Toronto Blue Jays)

70. David Hernandez (Los Angeles Angels)

  • I mentioned Enny Romero a little yesterday in Closing Time, speculating he may be next in line for saves in Washington. With everyone else in that bullpen holding ERA’s over 4.85 right now except Romero and Matt Albers, I think it could be worth a shot to give Romero a look in the 9th inning. His fastball sits at 98, which is certainly a plus trait for a closer and he also does an OK job limiting walks. He’s definitely an option to monitor in deep leagues.


Top 50 RP’s for SV+HD Leagues

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

3. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

4. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

5. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)

6. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)

7. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

8. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

9. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)

10. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

11. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

12. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

13. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates

14. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

15. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)

16. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

17. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

18. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

19. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)

20. Will Harris (Houston Astros

21. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

22. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

23. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)

24. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

25. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

26. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)

27. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

28. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

29. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

30. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

31. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

32. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

33. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

34. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

35. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics

36. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)

37. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers)

38. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)

39. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays

40. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)

41. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

42. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

43. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)

44. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals

45. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

46. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

47. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

48. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

49. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)  

50. Jose Leclerc (Texas Rangers)

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.

8 responses to “The Hold Up 6/15: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Bryan says:

    Do you drop Barraclough for either Baez, Kela or Givens? Saves only, K/9. I own Bush. Doolittle being so high is surprising since his usage has been next to nothing. My other relievers are Bush Addison Reed, Justin Wilson and Corey Knebel

    • Rick Graham says:

      I’d probably drop Barraclough and stash Kela just in case something happens with Bush.

      Doolittle was technically in a timeshare for save duties with Casilla before ending up on the DL. He should find himself pitching in save/hold situations as long as he stays healthy. His ratios and K numbers make him valuable in most save+hold leagues.

      • Bryan says:

        So of Bush and Wilson Bush is on less stable ground? Is one appearance for Doolittle in the last 5 days due to opportunity or something else? This is a list I have craved for months. I never pay for closers in drafts and work the peripherals which are more valuable than one category in a sea of 26 in my league

        • Rick Graham says:

          They are probably just being easy with Doolittle just coming off the DL. I still consider him their most talented RP at the moment.

          Wilson is a little rockier than Bush, but there is no clear cut handcuff to him right now, whereas Kela seems poised to be the guy in Texas if Bush were to lose the job. If you want to have a backup option in case Wilson’s mini rough patch gets worse, maybe pickup Greene.

  2. KP says:

    I didn’t realize you were combining all closers and holds guys into one top 50 list on these until just now, thanks!

  3. Chris from Detroit says:

    I have one spot free. 14 team keeper league. Who would plug in? Bradley or Kahnle?

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