The Hold Up 8/3: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

We are now post the non-waiver MLB deadline and with that, I decided to revamp these reliever rankings a bit for the rest of the season. This formula is roughly...

We are now post the non-waiver MLB deadline and with that, I decided to revamp these reliever rankings a bit for the rest of the season. This formula is roughly 40% fantasy value to this point, 40% peripheral numbers (FIP, xFIP, SwStr%, etc.) and 20% opportunity. There are some major changes this week due to this, so I’ll be looking forward to receiving some feedback on the current list.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

2. Ryan Madson (Washington Nationals)

3. Pat Neshek (Colorado Rockies)

4. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

  • When running through all the data, I never expected to come up with these 3 as the legitimate consensus top 3 non closer relievers in baseball this season. Mychal Givens has been about as consistent as they come, posting a sub 2 ERA and sub 1 WHIP for the year, to go along with 17 holds and 1+ K per inning. Ryan Madson has continued his 8th inning dominance since moving to Washington, and has posted numbers similar to Givens on the year so far. Pat Neshek may have been the biggest under the radar type move from the past week, and should slot in as the team’s top set-up option.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

5. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros)

6. Kirby Yates (San Diego Padres)

7. Addison Reed (Boston Red Sox)

8. Justin Wilson (Chicago Cubs)

9. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

10. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)

11. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

12. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

  • lt’s been a rough month for Chris Devenski, seeing an ERA in the sixes. He, as well as Dellin Betances, have seen a decrease in SwStr% over the past month, which makes it tough to think the struggles are just a fluke. It’s fair to wonder if hitters have caught on to some of Devenski’s tendencies, are maybe he simply just wasn’t as sharp. Either way, he is fading away from being that truly elite difference maker he was at the beginning of the season for owners.
  • Stepping into that dominate, difference maker role could be Kirby Yates. He has been an absolute force lately, and locked into a clear setup role only helps his fantasy value. He is 2nd on this list in SwStr% on the year which makes it crazy to believe he was on waivers to begin the season. If he is still available in your league that counts holds, go pick him up ASAP.

TIER 3: Torn

13. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

14. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks

15. Anthony Swarzak (Milwaukee Brewers)

16. Tommy Kahnle (New York Yankees)

17. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

18. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

19. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

20. Brandon Morrow (Los Angeles Dodgers

21. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

22. Brandon Kintzler (Washington Nationals

23. Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays

24. David Phelps (Seattle Mariners)

25. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

26. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

27. Taylor Rogers (Minnesota Twins)

28. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

29. Blake Parker (Los Angeles Angels)

30.  Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

31. Wandy Peralta (Cincinnati Reds

32. Mike Minor (Kansas City Royals)

  • Brandon Morrow has been a nice story this year for a Dodgers team that apparently can do no wrong. After pitching a total of 82 innings since 2014, the veteran righty has posted sparkling numbers in 22 innings this season and has earned a role as the bridge to Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen in that bullpen. Only Pat Neshek has missed more bats over the past 30 days, while Morrow’s FIP and xFIP in that time also rank him in the top 10 on this list.
  • I admittedly haven’t been giving Tommy Hunter enough love in the past few weeks. The Tampa set-up man still see’s his ERA under 2 and WHIP under 1. His FIP gives me reason to think that he can keep those numbers in that area, but he ranks in the bottom of the pack for SwStr% so he’ll need to keep luck on his side as well.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

33. Phil Maton (San Diego Padres)

34. Ryan Tepera (Toronto Blue Jays)

35. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

36. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

37. Chad Green (New York Yankees 

38. Steve Cishek (Tampa Bay Rays

39. David Hernandez (Arizona Diamondbacks

40. Neftali Feliz (Kansas City Royals)

41. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

42. Luis Avilan (Los Angeles Dodgers)

43. Seung Hwan-Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

44. Jose Ramirez (Atlanta Braves

45. Paul Sewald (New York Mets

46. George Kontos (San Francisco Giants)

47. Jose Leclerc (Texas Rangers)

48. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

49. Brandon Maurer (Kansas City Royals)

50. Tyler Lyons (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • Chad Green actually came up as a top 10 RP right now in my rankings, that is if you take away opportunity. That bullpen is just stacked (Adam Warren was in the top 30 as well) and I still think you can get fantasy value from 4-5 guys there.
  • David Hernandez finds himself back in Arizona, and should serve in some set-up capacity, whether it be in the 7th inning or 8th. None of his numbers stand out particularly, but he has been able to keep his ratios low (2.23, 1.02) while striking out a batter an inning.

TIER 5: There She Goes 

51. Dominic Leone (Toronto Blue Jays)

52. Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

53. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals) 

54. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)

55. Cody Gearrin (San Francisco Giants)

56. Tony Watson (Los Angeles Dodgers)

57. Peter Moylan (Kansas City Royals)

58. Yusmeiro Petit (Los Angeles Angels

59. Joe Smith (Cleveland Indians)

60. Ryan Buchter (Kansas City Royals)

61. Tony Zych (Seattle Mariners)

62. Matt Bowman (St. Louis Cardinals)

63. Louis Garcia (Philadelphia Phillies)

64. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

65. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

66. Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays)

67. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies

68. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

69. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

70. Joe Jimenez (Detroit Tigers)

  • I wanted to add Joe Jimenez to the back-end of this list (again) so I could mention (again) that he is in a position to move up the Tigers bullpen depth chart (again) and could wind up in a 8th or 9th inning role. I believe this time it is for real, as neither Alex Wilson or Bruce Rondon have proved to be the least bit trustworthy. Once again, he is an interesting stash for deep, keeper or dynasty leagues.


Top 50 RP’s for SV+HD Leagues

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

3. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

4. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)

5. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

6. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

7. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

8. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

9. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

10. Ryan Madson (Washington Nationals)

11. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)

12. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)

12. Pat Neshek (Colorado Rockies)

13. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)

14. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians

15. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros)

16. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

17. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

18. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres

19. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)

20. Kirby Yates (San Diego Padres)

21. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

22. Addison Reed (Boston Red Sox)

23. Justin Wilson (Chicago Cubs)

24. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

25. David Robertson (New York Yankees)

26. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)

27. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)

28. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

29. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

30. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

31. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

32. Shane Green (Detroit Tigers)

33. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

34. Brandon Morrow (Los Angeles Dodgers)

35. Anthony Swarzak (Milwaukee Brewers)

36. Tommy Kahnle (New York Yankees)

37. Matt Barnes (Boston Red Sox)

38. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

39. Blake Treinen  (Oakland Athletics)

40. Alex Claudio (Texas Rangers)

41. Fernando Rodney (Arizona Diamondbacks)

42. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

43. Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays)

44. A.J. Ramos (New York Mets)

45.  Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

46. Brandon Kintzler (Washington Nationals)

47. Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)

48. Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks)

49. David Phelps (Seattle Mariners)

50. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

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.

6 responses to “The Hold Up 8/3: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Surprised to see Pedro Baez still ranked so high. Maybe after last nights debacle he doesn’t deserve much more than the higher end of the 3rd tier? Seems to me that the setup job is interchangeable in LA between Baez and Morrow.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Yea maybe he goes back a tier because of last night, but he still has an ERA under 2 and is in line for perhaps the most hold chances on this list for the rest of the season. He still has value. That said, Morrow could be catching up to him soon and may be the preferred option in a week or two.

  2. Carl Edwards both 10th and 27th? Neither feels particularly accurate with all the BB’s lately and the fact that he’s splitting the 7th with Koji?

  3. zechi says:

    Addison Reed 7th and 22nd?

  4. Chucky says:

    Wheres the love for Bradley. He’s had ONE Hold in six weeks. He’s blown 3 of them, including today.I got it, but his counting stats are still very good.

  5. tiwaniuk says:

    Kirby Yates – “If he is still available in your league that counts holds, go pick him up ASAP.” …so he can blow up your ERA and WHIP. Jesus Christ that was just painful. I’m going to regret dropping Bradley for him aren’t I?

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