The Hold Up Pre-Season Edition: Top 70 Relievers For Holds In 2017

Outside of the few trust worthy options each year, holds are very tricky to predict on a week to week basis. I’d consider 40% of these rankings based on hold...

Outside of the few trust worthy options each year, holds are very tricky to predict on a week to week basis. I’d consider 40% of these rankings based on hold potential and 60% based on talent, upside and statistics. Even in leagues where holds are counted, always give more value to saves (the exception being the top 2 guys on this list). Saves are generally more reliable, as long as you have a top 20 closer or so. With that being said, here are my preseason rankings of the relievers not currently listed as their teams closer.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

No one else really comes close to these two. Andrew Miller is a fringe top 10 option among all relievers, while Dellin Betances is in the top 20 discussion. K/9 leagues and such, I’d maybe even bump them up 5 spots.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

3. Addison Reed (New York Mets)

4. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

5. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)

6. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

7. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)

8. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

9. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers

10. Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

11. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

12. Bruce Rondon (Detroit Tigers)

13. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

14. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

15. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

16. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

17. Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

18. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

19. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

This group I feel confident in drafting late in most standard leagues this season. I fully expect the first 5 names on this list to all have at least double-digit saves this season. Kyle Barraclough can make his way into that tier one discussion if he can just limit the walks. Brett Cecil may be a surprise listed here, but the Cardinals didn’t give him $30.5 million to just be a situational lefty. I wonder if they believe he can be their version of Andrew Miller. There are a lot of good options in the Cubs bullpen and figuring out who the best one is for holds is a bit of a coin flip. Hector Rondon gets the edge for me as the incumbent set-up man. Speaking of Rondon, Bruce Rondon finally showed his potential last season, and it’s certainly not a sure thing K-Rod holds the job all year.

TIER 3: Torn

20. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates

21. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants) 

22. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers)

23. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

24. Matt Strahm (Kansas City Royals)

25. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

26. Grant Dayton (Los Angeles Dodgers

27. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)

28. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners)

29. Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

30. Will Smith (San Francisco Giants)

31. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)

32. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

33. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)

34. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

35. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

36. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

Felipe Rivero and Arodys Vizcaino both have the swing and miss stuff to make them viable closers and both are also in situations where the job could open up early in the year. Grant Dayton, Matt Strahm, Mychal Givens and Carl Edwards Jr. all have nice upside, they just need a solidified late inning role to become tier 2 options. I really didn’t know where to place Greg Holland. He has a nice opportunity in Colorado and as long as he can regain most of his pre-2015 form, he’ll be a great fantasy option with some save upside if Adam Ottavino struggles. Darren O’Day and Jason Grilli are getting up there in age, but both should still be solid, cheap source for holds. Trevor Rosenthal may never get his closer job back, but I think he could be a really nice setup guy for a loaded Cardinals bullpen.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

37. Santiago Casilla (Oakland Athletics)

38. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

39. Brad Ziegler (Miami Marlins)

40. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies)

41. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

42. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)

43. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres

44. Cory Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

45. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

46. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)

47. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

48. Jeremy Jeffress (Texas Rangers)

49. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

50. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

51. Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays

52. Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

53. Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Joaquin Benoit, Drew Storen and Andrew Bailey struggled in the first half last year but had solid second halves and all are in a place where they can earn save opportunities quite easily. Daniel Hudson has a good chance at ending up in the closers role if Tony Watson falters or the Pirates opt for a more traditional RH closer. I still wouldn’t count on him lasting in that role, but crazier things have happened. Brad Boxberger was really bad last year and battled through injuries. He still is the favorite to be the Rays 8th inning option, and could earn a few saves, especially if Alex Colome is traded. He could be OK in that role if he keeps the walks in check. Glen Perkins should be the closer if he can get healthy. He still isn’t someone I’d be targeting outside of the deepest of leagues. I wonder how Hand or Ryan Buchter would fair in the closers role. They seem like better options than Brandon Maurer to me.

TIER 5: There She Goes

54. Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks

55. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals)

56. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

57. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)

58. Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)

59. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)

60. Sergio Romo (Los Angeles Dodgers)

61. JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays)

62. Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

63. JT Chargois (Minnesota Twins)

64. Keone Kela (Texas Rangers)

65. Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

66. Mauricio Cabrera (Atlanta Braves)

67. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

68. Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians)

69. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

70. Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays)

71. Michael Feliz (Houston Astros)

Koda Glover could be the Nationals closer on opening day or just as likely, just another guy in their bullpen. He’s an interesting stash either way until we see how things play out there. Sergio Romo could start as the Dodgers top 8th inning guy, but I still prefer Pedro Baez and Grant Dayton at this point. JT Chargois hasn’t shown much in his limited MLB career, but he has more of a closing skill set than anyone else in Minnesota. Carson Smith and Keone Kela are decent bounce back options this season, presuming they can stay healthy. Kela has an outside chance to see save opportunities at some point. I put Michael Feliz on here strictly based on his massive upside. If he locks down a role where he can earn regular holds, his K numbers can make him a top 20 option easily.

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.

3 responses to “The Hold Up Pre-Season Edition: Top 70 Relievers For Holds In 2017”

  1. Steve Walker says:

    Agreed with the comments on Feliz, and I think they go hand in hand with Mauricio Cabrera too. Great article!

    • Rick Graham says:

      Thanks Steve! I’d love to see Feliz in a late inning role this year. Maybe not Houston, maybe he’s part of a deal and goes to a place where the closers door’s open. His stuff definitely plays in the 9th inning. Fastball in the upper 90’s, plus Slider, good Changeup. Just has to be more consistent with his command.

  2. Rick Graham says:

    The Joe Blanton signing somewhat changes things. Id swap out Solis for Blanton and swap spots with Glover.

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