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The Hold Up 8/10: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

Perhaps the most underrated non-closer reliever in the game right now, Joel Payamps has been the Brewers unsung hero this season helping get the ball to closer Devin Williams in the ninth. While Payamps doesn’t have a true “out” pitch, his fastball/slider combo (plus the occasional changeup) is effective in keeping hitters off balance while his improved command this season has helped maximize his stuff. Since the start of May, Payamps has ranked in the Top 5 amongst relievers (min. 20 IP) in the following categories: K-BB% (29.5%), WHIP (0.69), SIERA (2.42), and Holds (20). The fact that the Brewers only had to give up Esteury Ruiz to acquire both William Contreras and Payamps this winter is pretty incredible and a big reason why Milwaukee sits at the top of the NL Central standings.

 

Notes

 

  • Andrew Chafin has not been the same pitcher since the end of June as he was earlier in the season, as the wheels have fallen off over his last 11 IP. Over that span, Chafin has a 2% K-BB rate (thanks to a 23.5% BB rate), 26.6% CSW and 5.81 xFIP/6.07 SIERA. The move to Milwaukee hasn’t helped get him out of this funk (yet), but there’s still an elite slider in there somewhere if he can get his command issues ironed out.
  • Steven Wilson and the entire Padres bullpen for that matter has struggled recently, but Wilson clearly hasn’t been the same guy since returning from the IL after the All-Star break. Over that 11.1-inning span, Wilson has pedestrian 20.8% K and 25.1% CSW rates to go along with a 6.25 xFIP. Even with the recent struggles, he should continue to see some holds chances, especially with Nick Martinez’s role kind of all over the place at the moment.

 

  • Jonathan Loáisiga returned to the Yankees’ bullpen this past week, making his first appearance since April 5th and overall, he looked pretty good, showing his typical velocity and mixing in a couple of nice offspeed pitches. A healthy Loáisiga plus the Keynan Middleton addition can turn this Yankee bullpen into the best in baseball potentially, which they’ll likely need to combat injuries to their rotation and the ineffectiveness of the pitcher formally known as Luis Severino.
  • A pair of veteran lefty relievers move up the board this week as both Matt Moore and Tim Mayza continue to have great seasons. Mayza is a bit of a weird case with his 1.11 ERA/1.08 WHIP and lack of swing-and-miss stuff, but his sinker gets a ton of ground balls (65.7% GB rate) and he doesn’t walk anyone (5.7% BB rate). Moore on the other hand has a little more swing and miss in him and has a WHIP below 1.00 (0.89).

 

  • The Braves still seem to be searching for that secondary setup option, and while I think it ultimately winds up being Joe Jiménez, Kirby Yates is still in the picture as well and the two may eat into each other’s value. Jiménez has been sneaky good since the start of June with a 1.19 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 30% K rate, but has just eight holds over that span and 10 total for the season.
  • Scott McGough entered the All-Star break with a 2.72 ERA and 0.97 WHIP and since then has allowed 13 H, 6 BB, and 12 ER over his past nine innings pitched. It’s truly been a roller coaster season for McGough and based on the trends we could see him be lights out in September, and this Diamondbacks team will need all the help they can get to find a way into the playoffs.

 

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

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Erik SwansonT1-
2Aroldis Chapman-
3Bryan Abreu-
4Mark Leiter Jr.-
5Jason Adam-
6Joel Payamps
T2
+1
7A.J. Minter-1
8Tanner Scott+1
9Hector Neris+1
10Griffin Jax+1
11Matt Brash+1
12Josh Sborz+3
13Chris Martin-
14A.J. Puk-
15Yennier Cano+1
16Tommy Kahnle
T3
+2
17Brooks Raley-
18Taylor Rogers+1
19Lucas Sims+2
20Trevor Stephan+5
21Andrew Chafin-13
22-2
23Jason Foley+1
24Danny Coulombe-1
25Andrew Nardi+1
26JoJo Romero+13
27Colin Holderman+5
28Reynaldo López+10
29Joe Kelly+11
30Gregory Soto-
31Kevin Ginkel
T4
-3
32Robert Stephenson+1
33Steven Wilson-11
34Steven Okert-5
35Robert Suarez-4
36Jonathan Loáisiga+UR
37Michael King+7
38Tim Mayza+11
39Matt Moore+11
40Brusdar Graterol+3
41Seranthony Domínguez+1
42John Schreiber-1
43Julian Merryweather+4
44Joe Jiménez-10
45José Soriano+1
46Caleb Thielbar
T5
-11
47+1
48Scott McGough-21
49Kirby Yates-13
50Nick Martinez-13
51Elvis Peguero+1
52+3
53Abner Uribe+4
54Angel Perdomo+5
55Kendall Graveman-1
56Caleb Ferguson-11
57Aaron Bummer+8
58Tyler Kinley+10
59Ian Gibaut+2
60Pierce Johnson
T6
-2
61Tom Cosgrove-1
62Wandy Peralta-6
63Matt Strahm-1
64Jeff Hoffman-1
65Eli Morgan+5
66Colin Poche+1
67Michael Fulmer+13
68Yimi García-4
69Jake Diekman+7
70José Cisnero+22
71Dylan Coleman+12
72Miguel Castro+1
73+4
74Nick Sandlin+4
75Ian Hamilton+4
76Josh Winckowski
T7
+9
77Ryan Brasier+4
78Joe Mantiply-4
79Drew Smith+3
80Kyle Nelson-11
81Chris Stratton+UR
82Yency Almonte-7
83Sam Hentges+6
84José Leclerc-
85Luke Jackson+2
86Bryan Shaw+UR
87Angel Felipe+UR
88Fernando Cruz+UR
89Austin Cox+1
90Jordan Weems+UR
91Emilio Pagán+4
92Shintaro Fujinami+4
93George Soriano+4
94Enyel De Los Santos-
95Sam Moll+3
96Buck Farmer-5
97Gabe Speier+UR
98Jose Cuas+UR
99Jay Jackson+UR
100Phil Bickford+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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