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The Hold Up 7/6: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2023 season.

Now that it’s July, it’s officially trade season and we’ve already seen a pretty significant move with Aroldis Chapman going to the Rangers over the past weekend. Chapman gets a small boost going to Texas where he should see more holds chances and could potentially move into the closer role in the second half if Will Smith falters. The move shouldn’t affect Josh Sborz much if at all, as he should still see plenty of hold chances. In Kansas City, Carlos Hernández’s stock continues to tick up (2.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 25% K-BB rate over last 26.1 IP) as we now wait on the Royals to move closer Scott Barlow.

 

Notes

 

  • José Alvarado has not been the same reliever we saw earlier in the season since returning from the IL in June, as he has a pedestrian 12% K-BB rate, 1.78 WHIP and 4.09 SIERA over his last 10.2 IP. He does have two holds and a save since returning, but just one hold over the past three weeks isn’t helping all too much. Perhaps the All-Star break can help get him right again, but for now he’s not looking like an absolute must roster in holds leagues.
  • Yennier Cano continues to rack up holds but he has not been the same reliever we saw dominate in the month of April. Over his past 20 IP, Cano has a 6.7% K-BB rate, 1.65 WHIP and 4.10 xFIP but also 11 holds as the Orioles continue to trust him in high leverage spots for now. The lack of swing and miss ability will keep Cano’s ceiling low, but there still seems to be a steady enough floor given his high groundball rates and ability to limit hard contact.

 

  • Chris Martin has quietly been pretty great over the past two months, with a 1.59 ERA (2.10 xFIP), 0.82 WHIP and eight holds over the past 60 days (18 IP). While his 28% K rate over that span isn’t exactly elite, it does come with an elite 1.6% BB rate, as has been Martin’s MO for some time now. Similarly to Cano, there may not be exciting upside to chase here, but Martin remains a safe and sound option in holds leagues.
  • Joel Payamps has been such a good addition for the Brewers this season, and is even nearing that “should be rostered in standard leagues” territory. Since May, Payamps has a 1.61 ERA (2.56 SIERA), 0.82 WHIP and 32.1% K rate, plus 13 holds, doing all this while Devin Williams has struggled from time to time. I don’t think we are all that close to a potential closer change, but then again, those things can happen in a few days notice.

 

  • Trevor Stephan has eight holds since the beginning of May, but also four blown saves and mostly average numbers across the rest of the board (3.28 ERA, 4.55 xFIP, 1.38 WHIP, 15% K-BB rate). Stephan remains the primary set up option in Cleveland with James Karinchak still in Triple-A, but the velocity he showed last year is still missing and it’s leading to just mediocre results, and not exactly an upside reliever worth chasing.
  • We’ve now seen 13.1 innings of Angels José Soriano at the MLB level and so far he’s been awfully impressive and the type of high upside reliever worth chasing in deep leagues. He currently has a 2.70 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 40% K rate to go with seven holds and he’s basically the pitcher a lot of people were hoping Ben Joyce would be. The walk rate is not great (14.7%) as is a problem with most young fireballers, but the ability to miss bats is certainly there (38.2% CSW!).

 

  • While the Mets have been playing better as of late, I still don’t feel particularly great rostering Adam Ottavino in holds leagues at the moment. Since May, Ottavino has a 4.32 ERA (4.38 xFIP), 1.24 WHIP and 13.8% K-BB. I think in saves-only leagues, he might actually be more valuable as he does vulture the occasional save from David Robertson, but in leagues that count holds as well, there are plenty more relievers to take a chance on than Ottavino.
  • With the return of Daniel Hudson to the Dodgers bullpen, Brusdar Graterol takes a a slight hit in the ranks although it’s not like he was a must roster to begin with (1.37 WHIP, 10.5% K-BB rate and just six holds since May). Caleb Ferguson has not been that great over the past 60 days as well (17 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 18.2% K-BB rate, and six holds).

 

  • Michael King has just TWO holds over the past 60 days (three saves though) and while that shouldn’t be shocking to those who have followed or rostered King in the past, the fact that he’s not providing elite ratios (4.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 4.35 xFIP) and K numbers (22.6% K rate) anymore does make it tough to roster him at the moment. Tommy Kahnle and Wandy Peralta (perhaps the luckiest pitcher in baseball) should continue to see the bulk of the holds chances moving forward, leaving King as a potential drop candidate in shallower leagues.
  • Jovani Moran has been great for the Twins over his past 20.2 IP, with a 3.05 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 34% CSW (18.9% SwStr) rate to go along with eight holds. This bullpen has sustained some key loses recently in Caleb Thielbar and Brock Stewart, so we should expect to continue to see Moran in a set up role along with Griffin Jax.

 

If you would like more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series.

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Andrés MuñozT1-
2Bryan Abreu+3
3Erik Swanson+1
4Aroldis Chapman+7
5A.J. Minter+5
6Giovanny Gallegos+3
7Mark Leiter Jr.-1
8Andrew Chafin-1
9Jason Adam-1
10Josh Sborz+5
11Tommy Kahnle+5
12José Alvarado-10
13Hector Neris-1
14Griffin Jax+3
15Tanner Scott+4
16Matt Brash
T2
+4
17Taylor Rogers+6
18Yennier Cano-15
19Chris Martin+14
20Joel Payamps+14
21Lucas Sims+6
22Brooks Raley+6
23+1
24Trevor Stephan-10
25Nick Anderson-7
26Chris Devenski
T3
+4
27Jason Foley+5
28Danny Coulombe+1
29+6
30Gregory Soto+1
31Steven Okert+5
32José Soriano+29
33Adam Ottavino-11
34Phil Maton+4
35Carlos Hernández+31
36Caleb Ferguson-10
37Michael King-24
38Jovani Moran+27
39Brusdar Graterol-18
40Colin Holderman+UR
41Julian Merryweather
T4
-1
42Dauri Moreta+1
43Aaron Bummer+27
44Robert Stephenson-5
45Austin Adams-3
46Nate Pearson+18
47Kirby Yates+22
48Joe Jiménez+2
49Nick Martinez-8
50Colin Poche+2
51Reynaldo López-5
52Sam Hentges-8
53Miguel Castro-16
54Tom Cosgrove+UR
55Eli Morgan-4
56Wandy Peralta
T5
+1
57Ron Marinaccio-8
58Tim Mayza-5
59Alex Young-5
60Pierce Johnson+8
61Bryan Baker-1
62Elvis Peguero-
63Jake Diekman+27
64Matt Strahm+UR
65Trevor Richards+UR
66Ian Hamilton-18
67Jeff Hoffman+UR
68Angel Perdomo+UR
69Gregory Santos+7
70Kyle Nelson+8
71Kevin Ginkel
T6
+15
72Drew Smith-17
73Huascar Brazoban+6
74Yency Almonte+6
75Ben Heller+7
76Jacob Webb+7
77+14
78Mason Thompson+9
79Michael Fulmer-23
80Andre Pallante-9
81Collin McHugh-8
82Nick Sandlin+UR
83Kyle Finnegan+UR
84-26
85Tim Hill-22
86Brock Burke-12
87José Leclerc+UR
88Jorge López+UR
89Dylan Floro-17
90Kevin Kelly-15
91José Cisnero-7
92Chasen Shreve+2
93Buck Farmer+3
94Ian Gibaut+6
95Derek Law+UR
96Ryan Brasier+UR
97Trevor Gott-9
98Albert Abreu+UR
99Shintaro Fujinami+UR
100Bryan Hudson+UR

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.

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