The Hold Up 9/16: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks baseball's top setup options for the 2021 season.

The Blue Jays currently find themselves in a three-way tie for the two wild-card spots with division rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. While the Jays lineup and starting rotation have been the driving force behind their season, the bullpen has had some under-the-radar performances that have kept the team balanced. Jordan Romano is the biggest name in that bullpen, but behind him, who has really been great this year? Enter Tim Mayza, who has quietly been one of the best relievers in baseball since the start of June. Mayza’s a simple sinker/slider lefty who doesn’t get a whole lot of whiffs, but can be super effective at limiting hard contact and baserunners while inducing a ton of ground balls (61%). His xFIP since the start of June sits at 2.59, which ranks in the top ten of all qualified relievers (and in some impressive company) and shows just how important he is to that bullpen. Expect Mayza to continue to operate as one of Romano’s setup men, even as other pieces in that bullpen (including Julian Merryweather) get healthy.




  • Luke Jackson has been crushing it since August started, as the addition of Richard Rodríguez has done nothing to slow down his hold’s pace with half of his 26 holds coming since August 1st. Over those 18 innings, Jackson has an ERA of 1.50 and WHIP of 1.00 while striking out 27. His fastball remains highly vulnerable (.625 xSLG, .438 xwOBA) but his slider continues to do most of the heavy lifting. allowing him to be a top 25 holds option.
  • After a rough end to the month of August, Génesis Cabrera has turned the page in September, not allowing a run over five innings so far. Perhaps the bigger concern is his competition for holds in that bullpen now as fellow lefthander T.J. McFarland has seven holds over the past 30 days.


  • It’s taking a while, but we are finally seeing glimpses of the Josh Staumont we were hoping for heading into this season after his mini-breakout in 2020. Over the past month, Staumont has a 2.19 ERA, .81 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts over 12.1 innings. The strikeout numbers are lower than we had hoped for, but Staumont has had to adjust to lower spin rates and velocity this season as he’s battled through some things. The good news is that his velocity has improved over the past month (97.4 MPH) and the results have returned with it.
  • About a month ago it appeared that Jake Diekman was turning things around, but over the month of September, things have just kind of stagnated for him. For the month, he has a 9.53 ERA and 2.29 WHIP and has just two holds over the past five+ weeks. He’s not the only one struggling in that bullpen this month, as both Sergio Romo (22.09, 3.00) and Yusmeiro Petit (15.43, 1.71) have also been responsible for the A’s fade from playoff contention.



Rank Pitcher Change
1Craig KimbrelT1-
2Blake Treinen-
3Devin Williams-
4Kendall Graveman-
6Paul Sewald+UR
7Diego Castillo-1
8Chad Green-3
9Anthony Bender-1
10Aaron Bummer-1
11Héctor Neris+2
12Pete Fairbanks-2
13J.P. Feyereisen-2
14Nick Anderson-
15Seth Lugo
16Garrett Whitlock+1
17Michael Kopech+2
18Michael Fulmer+7
19Collin McHugh-1
20Tyler Matzek+1
21Brad Boxberger+1
22Luis García+6
23Luke Jackson+17
24Trevor May-4
25Tim Mayza-1
26Lucas Sims
27Aaron Loup+2
28Alex Vesia-2
29Corey Knebel+6
30Phil Bickford-
31Ryne Stanek+3
32Garrett Crochet-
33Michael Lorenzen-
34Pierce Johnson-3
35Génesis Cabrera+15
36Josh Staumont+15
37Joe Kelly+9
38Codi Heuer-2
39Jake Cousins-2
40Jake Diekman-13
41Julian Merryweather
42Josh Taylor+10
43Richard Rodríguez-4
44Jhoulys Chacín+4
45José Alvarado-1
46JT Chargois+9
47Alex Reyes+14
48Daniel Hudson+5
49Sergio Romo-8
50Austin Adams-8
51Tyler Duffey-6
52Adam Cimber-5
53Emilio Pagán-4
54Dominic Leone+3
55Archie Bradley-1
56Bryan Shaw+3
57Chris Martin+UR
58Spencer Patton+8
59Steve Cishek+10
60T.J. McFarland+33
61Jake Brentz
62A.J. Minter-
63Brooks Raley+1
65Tim Hill+2
66Jarlín García-10
67Brent Suter-9
68Casey Sadler+5
69Juan Minaya+1
70Tyler Wells+1
71Yusmeiro Petit-11
73Caleb Thielbar+4
74Brad Hand+4
75Wandy Peralta-
76Brett Martin+3
77Andrés Machado+12
78Noé Ramirez+12
79Domingo Tapia+5
80Camilo Doval+5
81Zack Littell
82Joely Rodríguez-2
83Adbert Alzolay-1
84Craig Stammen-3
85Sam Coonrod-2
86Adam Morgan-
88Brusdar Graterol-
89Austin Warren+2
90Austin Davis+4
91Sam Howard+5
93Richard Bleier+UR
94Kyle Funkhouser+UR
95Cristian Javier+UR
96Chad Kuhl+UR
97Robert Stephenson+UR
98Wander Suero+UR
99Daniel Bard+UR
100José Alvarez+UR


Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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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