The Hold Up 7/20: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Brian Cashman made a power move on Monday night, not in acquiring Todd Frazier, but bolstering an already solid bullpen by getting David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Arguably now the...

Brian Cashman made a power move on Monday night, not in acquiring Todd Frazier, but bolstering an already solid bullpen by getting David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Arguably now the best bullpen put together in recent memory, they have at least 5, possibly 6 legitimate fantasy options for those in holds leagues. To me, they are similar to the Astros but a bit more deeper. Robertson and Kahnle should probably slot into the 8th and 7th inning set-up roles respectively, with Dellin Betances moving into a potential Andrew Miller/Chris Devenski stopper role. Chad Green and Adam Warren have also been 2 of the better RP’s in baseball as of late also, so there’s a chance teams won’t be able to score any runs against the Yankees from the 5th inning on.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

2. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

3. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

  • Dellin Betances has bounced back nicely since the All-Star break, and looks to be normal again. In 3 innings he has only issued 1 walk, while striking out 6. I actually think Betances may get a boost in fantasy value with the Yankees adding David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, as he could now be used in a role similar to the two names listed before him in this tier. I see the bullpen shaping up to be either Robertson in the 8th, Kahnle in the 7th and Betances in that stopper role or Betances sticking in the 8th, Robertson in the 7th and Kahnle in the Miller/Devenski role. However it plays out, all 3 are still legitimate top 15 non-closer RP’s.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You 

4Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

5. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

6. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

7. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

8. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

9. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

10. Ryan Madson (Washington Nationals)

11. Tommy Kahnle (New York Yankees)

12. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

13. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)

  • The other big trade involving big name relievers saw Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson go to Washington, a team desperate for bullpen help unlike the Yankees. There have been some rumors about Madson not wanting to pitch the 9th inning, which would make sense giving he probably should have gotten a chance to in Oakland this season, and with Doolittle getting the first save chance the other night, it seems like Madson will stay locked in to borderline elite status. The Nationals should give him a slight uptick in opportunities, so he gets a slight boost up into the top 10.
  • Despite all the trade rumors surrounding him, Pat Neshek continues to be one of the most reliable relievers in baseball. He is almost a lock to be traded at the deadline, which should ultimately give him a boost in value being a setup man for a contending ball club.

TIER 3: Torn

14. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

15. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

16. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

17. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

18. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

19. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

20. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

21. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

22. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

23. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

24. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

25. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

26. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

27. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

28. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

29. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

30. Blake Treinen (Oakland Athletics)

  • Many, myself included, though it was essentially a lock that Andrew Swarzak would become the new White Sox closer following the trade of Robertson and Kahnle. But for some reason the Chi Sox are going to let Tyler Clippard get the first shot to close out games (however many that may be). Swarzak has much superior numbers on the year to Clippard, and should at the very least be the teams primary set-up option but could easily still find himself earning some saves in the last month or two of the season.
  • Blake Treinen to me may be the biggest beneficiary of all the moves made the past week. Santiago Casilla is one of the more shaky closers in baseball at the moment and there aren’t a whole lot of legitimate options besides these 2 in that Oakland bullpen at the moment. Treinen hasn’t pitched well this season, but he has great stuff and a change of scenery could certainly do him well. He should pitch in high leverage situations right of the bat, with a change to work his way in to save chances very quickly.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

31. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

32. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)

33. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers

34. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies

35. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners

36. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

37. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

38. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)   

39. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals

40. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

41. Jose Leclerc (Texas Rangers)

42. Danny Barnes (Toronto Blue Jays

43. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies

44. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers)  

45. Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves)

46. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

47. George Kontos (San Francisco Giants

48. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

  • The Mariners bullpen was one of the worst in baseball not too long ago but have really begun to turn that around lately. Nick Vincent and Tony Zych have been great as the bridge to Edwin Diazwith the 2 combining for 12 holds over the past 30 days.
  • The trio of Barnes’s (not-related) have continued to be impressive this year, with Matt Barnes really looking like that nasty late inning weapon the Red Sox have been waiting for him to turn into. Jacob Barnes has been lights out for the most part as Corey Knebel’s set-up man, not allowing an earned run in over a month while striking out 13 over 8 innings pitched. While he hasn’t exactly stuck out in a crowded Toronto bullpen, Danny Barnes has been almost as good in a secondary set-up role and is certainly worth a look in deeper holds leagues.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

49. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

50. Chase Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays 

51. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

52. Phil Maton (San Diego Padres

53. Paul Sewald (New York Mets)

54. Chad Green (New York Yankees)

55. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

56. Wandy Peralta (Cincinnati Reds)

57. Kirby Yates (San Diego Padres)

58. Jared Hughes (Milwaukee Brewers)

59. Adam Warren (New York Yankees)

60. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

61. Tyler Lyons (St. Louis Cardinals)

62. Peter Moylan (Kansas City Royals)

63. Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays)

64. Josh Fields (Los Angeles Dodgers)

65. Junichi Tazawa (Miami Marlins)

66. Ryan Tepera (Toronto Blue Jays)

67. Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays)

68. Carlos Torres (Milwaukee Brewers)

69. Ricardo Pinto (Philadelphia Phillies)

70. A.J. Shugel (Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • Joe Biagini, now back in a relief role, put together a good weekend with 2 holds and 4 K’s in 2 games. He was pretty lights out before moving into the rotation and could settle in to being a top 30-40 RP for the rest of the season.


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. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

5. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros

6. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)

7. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

8. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

9. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)

10. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

11. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

12. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

13. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

14. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

15. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

16. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

17. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles

18. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)  

19. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)

20. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

21. Ryan Madson (Washington Nationals)

22. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians

23. Tommy Kahnle (New York Yankees)

24. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)

25. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

26. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

27. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

28. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)

29. Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels)

30. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

31. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

32. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

33. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

34. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

35. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins

36. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)

37. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs

38. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

39. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

40. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)

41. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

42. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

43. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

44. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)

45. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates

46. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

47. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)

48. Anthony Swarzak (Chicago White Sox)

49. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)

50. Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)

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.

7 responses to “The Hold Up 7/20: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Why the fall for Dolittle in the SV+HD rank? From 23 to 40 since last week.

    Wouldn’t the move to a better team result in more chances?

    • Rick Graham says:

      I tried to revamp the list and that is where he came out. Want to make sure his role is stable and he is being used enough before putting him up higher.

  2. The Kraken says:

    Rondon still in the top 20? I haven’t seen him not be used in mop-up duty for quite a while. Granted, I don’t watch the Cubs every day, but he is not a high-leverage guy for them. I remember 2016 as well, but the Cubs have given up on him since then.

    • Rick Graham says:

      He continues to pitch just as well if not better than Uehara and Strop, so I would think they would start using him in hold situations soon. His elite K numbers give him value regardless of usage.

  3. Vizcaino was activated yesterday, where would he slot in?

  4. Chucky says:

    Archie Bradley hasn’t had a hold in four weeks!

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