The Hold-Up 7/21: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Thursday

It’s Thursday and that means Justin Perri is here ranking the best setup men in the league on The Hold Up. The following rankings are meant to give you some...

It’s Thursday and that means Justin Perri is here ranking the best setup men in the league on The Hold Up. 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. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles

4. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

5. Fernando Rodney (Miami Marlins)

Tier 2

6. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

7. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox

8. Sergio Romo (San Francisco Giants)

9. Joe Blanton (Los Angeles Dodgers)

10. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

11. Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

12. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

13. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

14. Tyler Thornburg (Milwaukee Brewers)

15. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

16. Neftali Feliz (Pittsburgh Pirates)

17. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

18. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

19. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)  

20. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)

21. Daniel Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

22. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

23. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers

24. Zach Duke (Chicago White Sox)

25. Adam Liberatore (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tier 3

26. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)  

27. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

28. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers)

29. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

30. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

31. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

32. Xavier Cedeño (Tampa Bay Rays)

33. Jonathan Broxton (St. Louis Cardinals)

34. Edubray Ramos (Philadelphia Phillies)

35. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

36. Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)

37. Luke Hochevar (Kansas City Royals)

38. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

39. Erasmo Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays)

40. Joe Smith (Los Angeles Angels)

41. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)

42. Javier Lopez (San Francisco Giants)

43. Jerry Blevins (New York Mets)

44. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

45. Josh Osich (San Francisco Giants)

46. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

47. Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

48. Joaquin Benoit (Seattle Mariners)

Tier 4

49. Chris Withrow (Atlanta Braves)  

50. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)

51. Jason Motte (Colorado Rockies)

52. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

53. David Hernandez (Philadelphia Phillies)

54. Travis Wood (Chicago Cubs)

55. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins

56. Boone Logan (Colorado Rockies)

57. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

58. Francisco Abad (Minnesota Twins

59. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

60. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

61. Fernando Salas (Los Angeles Angels)

62. Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay Rays)

63. Tony Sipp (Houston Astros)

Tier 5

64. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

65. Tony Barnette (Texas Rangers)

66. Trevor May (Minnesota Twins)

67. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

68. Jesse Chavez (Toronto Blue Jays)

69. Pat Neshek (Houston Astros)

70. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

71. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

72. Ryan Pressly (Minnesota Twins)

73. Louis Coleman (Los Angeles Dodgers)

74. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

75. Kirby Yates (New York Yankees)

76. Vidal Nuno (Seattle Mariners)

77. Hunter Cervenka (Atlanta Braves)

78. Robbie Ross Jr. (Boston Red Sox)

Tier 6

79. Andrew Bailey (Philadelphia Phillies)

80. Jared Hughes (Pittsburgh Pirates)

81. Justin Grimm (Chicago Cubs)

82. Jim Henderson (New York Mets)

83. Fernando Rodriguez (Oakland Athletics)

84. John Axford (Oakland Athletics)

85. Zach McAllister (Cleveland Indians)

86. Enny Romero (Tampa Bay Rays)

87. Matt Albers (Chicago White Sox)

88. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

89. Drew Storen (Toronto Blue Jays)

90. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

Tier 7

91. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)

92. Antonio Bastardo (New York Mets)

93. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

94. Marc Rzepczynski (Oakland Athletics)

95. Greg Mahle (Los Angeles Angels)

96. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

97. Miguel Castro (Colorado Rockies)

98. Mike Dunn (Miami Marlins)


– Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

Gavin Floyd (Toronto Blue Jays)

Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

– Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

Michael Blazek (Milwaukee Brewers)

Bryan Morris (Miami Marlins)

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Cory Gearrin (San Francisco Giants)

Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

Junichi Tazawa (Boston Red Sox)


– We will begin this week with injury related news; up first is Kevin Siegrist, who returned to action last Friday. He immediately took his role back and although he looked a little shaky in the series against the Marlins, allowing five base runners and a run in his first two innings back, he was able to bounce back and reward owners with two holds in the double-header vs. the Padres yesterday. He is a solid setup option, has had his issues this year but still holds a 2.72 ERA and 0.99 WHIP on the season while pitching for a club that will be competitive all year. At this point you know what you are going to get with Siegrist.

– The Texas Rangers lost Jake Diekman to the DL due to a cut on his finger, but he is expected to return today. Keone Kela also returned to the Rangers pen after three months of recovery following a procedure on his elbow. Kela was great last year but has struggled this year and allowing four runs to the Angels in his second appearance back does not instill much confidence. If Kela can find his groove then maybe he can challenge Matt Bush for some 7th inning holds, but I am going to wait and see before I rank Kela anywhere great. All the Rangers setup men took a hit in the ranks due to the way the team has been performing.

Koji Uehara hit the DL which takes Brad Ziegler off our list for now as he will close until one of the other Boston closers comes back. This makes Matt Barnes the primary setup man for the Red Sox, and while his time collecting holds may not last long, he is a solid short term option and has been performing well over the last month of play. In the last 30 days he has only walked one while striking out sixteen.

– Last bit of injury bug impact, Chris Withrow seems like he is going to be the man to get whatever measly hold chances there are to get in Atlanta with Jim Johnson taking over as the closer. This is one of the worst teams in the game right now, if you are really desperate and none of the better options are available then I guess you can take a chance on Withrow, his numbers have been solid recently but he is no strikeout machine and could hurt you if he gets a bad matchup.

– I always love finding new faces in the setup game, if you play in a league where the majority of great holds options are taken, finding a new guy that can compete with the top options is awesome. A potential candidate for emergence is Cam Bedrosian for the Angels. Now, the halos are not exactly performing well in the AL West, but Bedrosian has picked up his pace by not allowing a run since the start of June and compiling a 20:5 K:BB ratio in that span as well as four holds. He has clearly passed Joe Smith and Fernando Salas in that bullpen and should be seen as the top option behind closer Huston Street.

– I gave Jerry Blevins some love this week and removed him from the land of the forsaken as he rises in to the fourth tier. Blevins is the second guy in line for the Mets after Addison Reed and has been getting a reputable number of holds. He has a 2.05 ERA and a WHIP below 1.00 on the season as well as decent strikeout numbers. The Metropolitans give their relievers the opportunities to get counting stats so Jerry is not such a bad option after all.

– Also demanding attention is Adam Liberatore, he has bolstered his holds numbers by collecting five in the last month while not allowing a run in that span. Three base runners in his last nine frames with eleven strikeouts is money. The bullpen for the Dodgers seems pretty shut down at the moment Joe Blanton also performing. I am buying Liberatore.

As always, 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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