The Hold Up 6/22: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Another week down, and another top set-up man goes down with it. Joe Smith who had been in the middle of a nice little comeback season winded up on the...

Another week down, and another top set-up man goes down with it. Joe Smith who had been in the middle of a nice little comeback season winded up on the DL with shoulder inflammation.  While the injury isn’t considered too serious right now, any type of shoulder problem that could potentially linger is obviously a concern. As far as potential closers in waiting on this list goes, I’d rank my top 10 options as follows; Arodys Vizcaino, Trevor Rosenthal, Tommy Kahnle, Brad Hand, Sean Doolittle, Keone Kela, Joaquin Benoit, Shane Greene, Hunter Strickland, Kyle Barraclough.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

  • Dellin Betances is back to give Andrew Miller some company in Tier 1 as Aroldis Chapman has returned from the DL. He was awesome while filling in for Chapman and should continue to be a big contributor for owners in holds leagues.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You 

3. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

4. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

5. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

6. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

7. Will Harris (Houston Astros

8. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

9Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

10. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

11. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

12Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

13. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

14. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

15. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

  • Keone Kela has been great over the past month, rising up the ranks of the Rangers bullpen and earning that 8th inning role. With Matt Bush struggling recently, there has been some speculation he could be moved into the closers role. There has been too much instability in that position for the Rangers in recent years, so it would make sense to give Bush a longer leash before making yet another change. However, Kela is certainly someone to be monitoring in standard leagues and needs to be owned in leagues that value holds.
  • I wasn’t even sure if I should keep Sean Doolittle on this list, as he is likely back to co-closer duties with Santiago Casilla. For now though he stays, as Bob Melvin hasn’t yet confirmed as much. He still is the most talented reliever on the roster, although Ryan Madson continues to be very solid in his set-up role this season as well.

TIER 3: Torn

16. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

17. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

18. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

19. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)  

20. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

21. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

22. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

23. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers) 

24. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

25. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

26. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

27. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)  

28. Jose Leclerc (Texas Rangers)

29. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)   

30. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

  • Hunter Strickland is currently serving his suspension for that (foolish) ordeal with Bryce Harper a few week ago, but he is worth monitoring once he returns in most leagues. He has been pretty good this year, not great, but with Mark Melancon getting hit around and Derek Law being optioned to AAA, there’s an outside chance he could find himself closing games at some point this year.
  • Of course when I start to lose faith in Kyle Barraclough, roughly 2 weeks ago, he decides to stop walking people finally. Over the last 2 weeks, he has allowed just 1 free pass in 8 innings, which has obviously done wonders for his ERA and WHIP. The K’s will always be there, and if he can continue to limit the walks, he can be a top-tier set-up man, who also happens to be pitching in front of one of the more volatile closers in baseball right now.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

31. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

32. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians

33. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox

34. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

35. James Pazos (Seattle Mariners)

36. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

37. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals) 

38. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

39. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

40. Joe Kelly (Boston Red Sox)

41. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies

42. Randall Delgado (Arizona Diamondbacks)

43. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers

44. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros

45. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

46. Ryan Tepera (Toronto Blue Jays

47. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros

48. Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays

49. Danny Barnes (Toronto Blue Jays)

50. David Hernandez (Los Angeles Angels)

  • With Joe Smith landing on the DL, Joe Biagini still in the rotation and Jason Grilli being ineffective, the Jays have had to turn to Danny Barnes and Ryan Tepera as their set-up options to get to Roberto Osuna. Both guys have been excellent this season, especially over the past month or so. Tepera has been pitching the 8th, with Barnes in the 7th typically, but you can make a case for Barnes being the more valuable fantasy asset given his ability to miss bats at a slightly higher clip right now. Both are trending upward for now and worth a look in deeper holds leagues.
  • With the Angels protecting a 3 run lead in the 7th inning 2 nights ago, Mike Scioscia decided to use Cam Bedrosian in the 7th inning, with his 9th inning option being David Hernandez. While Hernandez didn’t end up with a save chance, he obviously has the trust of his manager and why not? He has been pretty good this season and one of their more consistent relievers. That said, he still should probably be behind Bedrosian, Bud Norris (when healthy) and Blake Parker, who has been sneaky dominant this year. Regardless, Hernandez usage should still be monitored over the next week or so, with him making for an interesting speculative add in deep leagues.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

51. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

52.  Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)

53. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

54. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

55. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

56. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

57. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)  

58.  Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

59. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

60. Danny Farquhar (Tampa Bay Rays)

61. Andrew Chafin (Arizona Diamondbacks

62. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

63. Grant Dayton (Los Angeles Dodgers)

64. George Kontos (San Francisco Giants)

65. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

66. Boone Logan (Cleveland Indians)

67. Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)

68. Jorge De La Rosa (Arizona Diamondbacks)

69. Jarlin Garcia (Miami Marlins)

70. Phil Maton (San Diego Padres

  • Phil Maton has quickly flown up the minor league ranks in the Padres farm system over the last year, as he spent most of 2016 in A ball. He has a plus fastball and most of the tools teams look for in a potential long-term back-end weapon, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him wind up seeing save opportunities by the end of the season. He has elite strikeout potential and should be watched to see if his role increases.


Top 50 RP’s for SV+HD Leagues

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

3. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)

4. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

5. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

6. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

7. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

8. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

9. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)

10. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)

11. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

12. Tommy Kahnle (Chicago White Sox)

13. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

14. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

15. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

16. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers

17. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

18. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)

19. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

20. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

21. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)

22. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

23. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

24. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

25. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

26. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

27. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

28. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)

29. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

30. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

31. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

32. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

33. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

34. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)

35. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

36. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

37. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)  

38. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

39. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)

40. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

41. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers) 

42. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)

43. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

44. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies

45. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)

46. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

47. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)

48. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

49. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)   

50. Kyle Barraclough (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.

6 responses to “The Hold Up 6/22: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Are you ranking these pitchers based on their k/era ranking or actually on holds potential? Because some of these rankings are definitely not correct IMO. They should be ranked accordingly in context to having the highest potential to get holds followed by their abilities for Ks and effective ERA. You should be looking at teams that have a low blown save rate, a high save percentage, and teams with high save opps as well to help elevate the chances of the setup man to get a hold.

    For instance Tommy Kahnle; while his strike out ability and low era are fantastic his potential to get a hold is extremely low. Adam Ottavino should absolutely be in the 2nd tier.

    • Rick Graham says:

      The rankings are geared towards overall fantasy potential. Holds are so volatile and basically impossible to predict, much harder to predict then K’s, ERA and WHIP. I’ll be happy getting an advantage in those 3 categories over just 1. I would take Kahnle any day over Ottavino, with him being the better pitcher in 3 out of the 4 categories RP’s are really judged on.

      Holds and saves are not one in the same. What a teams closer does has no impact on the set up man before him (stat wise). Save opps (and hold opps for that matter) are more or less impossible to predict, so I’ll always take ability and potential first.

  2. Biff Malibu says:

    The real advantage lies in a quality RP, in predictable line for holds or multiple inning saves, with above league avg K rates and lastly qualifies as a SP. I’ve effectively used this to my advantage

  3. Biff Malibu says:

    Forget ERA altogether. If not, u could always hit the real estate field bc there’s nothing telling in it.

  4. Josh Bresser says:

    Pat Neshek is listed twice.

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