The Hold Up 8/3: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

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

With Andrés Muñoz moving on up to the closer ranks this week, we have a new number one with potential interim closer Erik Swanson moving into that spot for the time being. With Jordan Romano on the IL, the Jays turned to Swanson for a save chance last night with the newly acquired Jordan Hicks working the eighth inning. Swanson is coming off a rough July (…) but it’s promising to see the team still trust him in save situations, even if he is just a part of a larger committee for as long as Romano remains sidelined.




  • The trade deadline also brought us the return of some quality relievers from their IL stints in A.J. Minter, Josh Sborz, Andrew Nardi and Caleb Thielbar. Minter, Sborz and Nardi all saw their respective teams add bullpen pieces at the deadline, however, I don’t think any of them are impacted that much, with the exception of maybe Nardi (assuming David Robertson stops blowing leads for Miami). Brad Hand shouldn’t be any competition for Minter, and neither should Chris Stratton for Sborz, as Minter is the Braves top left-handed option and Sborz the Rangers top right-handed reliever.
  • Nardi’s teammate A.J. Puk makes his debut on this list after having been the team’s closer for the bulk of the season, and while he has had some issues in July, I still like Puk as a holds option, even with Nardi and Tanner Scott in the picture. Puk’s PL player page and Baseball Savant page are filled with red, and I’d imagine luck will start to turn around for him sooner rather than later.


  • The White Sox wound up moving most of their bullpen with some relievers landing in good spots for second-half value and others…not so much. I think Reynaldo López and Joe Kelly came out as the biggest winners here, as both are in a position to see significant high-leverage work and could (should) pitch better than they have to this point. Keynan Middleton and Kendall Graveman on the other hand wind up in pretty full bullpens where it may be tough to find consistent hold opportunities.
  • JoJo Romero has been emerging as one of the Cardinals’ top relievers and I even wonder if he will factor into more save chances than Giovanny Gallegos based on recent usage. Romero doesn’t have an electric fastball but does have two solid off-speed offerings in his slider/changeup and has done a great job of both missing bats (33% CSW) and getting ground balls (62.5% GB rate).


  • John Schreiber and Seranthony Domínguez have not been great since returning from the IL or really at all this season and I’m starting to lose hope either will have much of an impact in holds leagues the rest of the way. Schreiber has a 1.43 WHIP on the year and has struggled to get swings and misses (28.2% Whiff rate this year compared to 32.6% last). Seranthony has been really disappointing, as nothing really seems to be working for him.
  • Scott Barlow was traded to the Padres at the last minute, giving the Padres some much-needed bullpen depth, but I don’t think Barlow can work his way into consistent high-leverage work, especially with how he had been pitching over the past month plus.


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


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

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.

One response to “The Hold Up 8/3: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. Josh Langley says:

    Why isn’t Gabe Speier in your top 100 for holds?

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