The Hold-Up 6/30: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Thursday

It’s Thursday and here at Pitcher List that means ranking the best setup men in the league. The following rankings are meant to give you some help on how to...

It’s Thursday and here at Pitcher List that means ranking the best setup men in the league. The following rankings are meant to give you some help on how to evaluate relief pitchers that do not finish games for their team. The beauty and craziness of a holds league is that a hold can be just as important as the save, but everyone knows who the closer is. With holds you can find an unowned and solid reliever who can really help your squad win a matchup.

Holds can be difficult to predict, so these rankings focus mostly on the raw potential seen in a relief pitcher to get a hold opportunity along with their ability to not leave you with a blown save or a loss based on what has been happening thus far this year. Some things to always consider are strikeout/groundball/flyball ratios, as you do not want to mess with the BABIP gods if you do not have to, but also your specific team needs based on your league.

Feel free to leave your questions and angry remarks in the comments section below. Let me know if you feel someone should be lower or higher on the list, I’ll be sure to take what you say into consideration. Give me a follow on Twitter @Just_In_Relief for all things concerning bullpens and who knows what else fantasy baseball related. Now, let’s see what the rankings look like this week. 

Tier 1

1. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

3. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

4. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles

5. Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

Tier 2

6. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

7. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

8. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

9. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox

10. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers

11. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins

12. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

13. Joe Blanton (Los Angeles Dodgers

14. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)  

15. Tyler Thornburg (Milwaukee Brewers)

16. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

17. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

18. Neftali Feliz (Pittsburgh Pirates

19. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies

20. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers

21. Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Tier 3

22. Josh Osich (San Francisco Giants)

23. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

24. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

25. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics

26. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

27. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

28. Xavier Cedeño (Tampa Bay Rays)

29. Cory Gearrin (San Francisco Giants)

30. Tyler Clippard (Arizona Diamondbacks)

31. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

32. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

33. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

34. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

35. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

36. Junichi Tazawa (Boston Red Sox)

37. Jason Motte (Colorado Rockies)

38. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

39. Joaquin Benoit (Seattle Mariners)

Tier 4

40. Koji Uehara (Boston Red Sox)

41. Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants)

42. Zach Duke (Chicago White Sox)

43. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)

44. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)  

45. David Hernandez (Philadelphia Phillies)

46. Ken Giles (Houston Astros

47. Travis Wood (Chicago Cubs)

48. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

49. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)

50. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

51. Fernando Salas (Los Angeles Angels)

52. Tony Sipp (Houston Astros)

53. Francisco Abad (Minnesota Twins

54. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins

55. Edubray Ramos (Philadelphia Phillies)

56. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

Tier 5

57. Tony Barnette (Texas Rangers)

58. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

59. Luke Hochevar (Kansas City Royals)

60. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

61. Jesse Chavez (Toronto Blue Jays)

62. Pat Neshek (Houston Astros)

63. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

64. Ryan Pressly (Minnesota Twins)

65. Adam Liberatore (Los Angeles Dodgers)

66. Louis Coleman (Los Angeles Dodgers)

67. Kirby Yates (New York Yankees)

68. Vidal Nuno (Seattle Mariners)

69. Hunter Cervenka (Atlanta Braves)

Tier 6

70. Andrew Bailey (Philadelphia Phillies)

71. Jared Hughes (Pittsburgh Pirates)

72. Adam Warren (Chicago Cubs)

73. Justin Grimm (Chicago Cubs)

74. Jim Henderson (New York Mets)

75. Fernando Rodriguez (Oakland Athletics)

76. Erasmo Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays)

77. Jonathan Broxton (St. Louis Cardinals)

78. John Axford (Oakland Athletics)

79. Zach McAllister (Cleveland Indians)

80. Enny Romero (Tampa Bay Rays)

81. Matt Albers (Chicago White Sox)

82. Drew Storen (Toronto Blue Jays)

83. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)

84. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

Tier 7

85. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)

86. Antonio Bastardo (New York Mets)

87. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

88. Marc Rzepczynski (Oakland Athletics)

89. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

90. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

91. Greg Mahle (Los Angeles Angels)

92. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

93. Miguel Castro (Colorado Rockies)

94. Mike Dunn (Miami Marlins)


– Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

Gavin Floyd (Toronto Blue Jays)

Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)  

Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

Sergio Romo (San Francisco Giants)

– Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

Michael Blazek (Milwaukee Brewers)

Bryan Morris (Miami Marlins)

Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Joe Smith (Los Angeles Angels)


– I was going to open the notes with praise for Andrew Miller again, but it needs to go to Brad Brach. The Orioles setup man has been one of the best relievers all year. He’s only given up 5 runs over 43.1 innings. That’s good for a 1.04 ERA, with 50 strikeouts, 5 wins and 13 holds. Seven of his holds have come in the last 30 days, and even with Darren O’Day slated to return to the big leagues soon, Brach should continue to see use in hold situations.

Seung Hwan Oh leaves the top tier; I don’t think I have a choice with him being one of the favorites to land the closing roll in St. Louis.  We were informed that there would be chances for Oh along with Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton to close. None of the three have recorded a save, but on June 29th the Cardinals beat the Royals by 4 and that night Oh saw the 9th inning work. The committee approach still leaves him in the mix for holds as of now. Due to this change, Trevor Rosenthal finds himself ranked for holds for the first time all year. I thought Tier 3 was apt until we see what he does after being a closer for two and a half years.

Xavier Cedeño is now the favorite to see the save chances in Tampa Bay, along with Erasmo Ramirez, with Alex Colome sidelined by an injury – yay another committee…So Cedeño falls to the top of Tier 4 until one of the injured closers returns for the Rays and he can return to his set up role. 

– If you own Daniel Hudson, you just are not pleased with his performance over the last week. He’s managed to allow 8 runs on 10 hits and two walks while only recording 5 outs. He got three holds in that span to go along with a 43.20 ERA and a 7.20 WHIP. It was a bad week, to say the least, but the holds are a silver lining. Hudson falls to Tier 3 until he shows he’s a little more reliable in other categories.

– The boys for the Rangers haven’t exactly been what we might want from them recently. Matt Bush has given up runs in each of his last three appearances and Jake Diekman has done so in three of his last four. Both still have stellar numbers on the year and I expect them to right the ship. The Rangers are going to give both these guys many chances to get holds and so they stay put on the benefit of the doubt. 

Ryan Buchter had an awful appearance for the Padres last night, yielding 5 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in the ninth. He was brought in to a 7-3 deficit though and I am hoping this is a blip on the radar for him as he stays towards the top of Tier 2. 

– Some less known names are making some appearances this week, Edubray Ramos was called up for the Phillies and was put right into hold situations. He’ll start at the bottom of Tier 4 and we’ll see how he does and where he trends. His manager likes him and thinks he has the type of stuff you see in a closer. He has 5Ks in his first 3.2 innings to go along with two saves. 

Edwin Diaz for the Mariners saw two holds this week, I like Diaz and with Nick Vincent hitting the DL now is the time to go grab Diaz. He is already picking up more holds than Joaquin Benoit and has a 13:3 K:BB ratio over his first 7.1 innings. 

Sergio Romo should be returning very soon, he’ll likely slot into the main setup role for the Giants and my guess is he will be in one of the upper tiers next week. Who knows what that will mean for Josh Osich and Hunter Strickland… I would grab Romo if he is available in your holds league. 

Be warned that after tier five the options are not prime, they do not get holds chances frequently and can not be trusted to keep your ERA and WHIP safe. The tiers at this late point are more of a grouping and just because someone is ranked above someone else in either of the last two tiers does not mean they are certainly better. Honestly, it would be wise to stay in the top 60, proceed at your own risk down there. Even tier five can be pretty risky. 

Again, leave me a comment if you think someone deserves to be in a different spot, if I missed an injury, or just want to dive into the discussion. Always feel free to ask any questions during the week on Twitter @Just_In_Relief.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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