Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 5/21

Rick Graham updates his top 100 relief pitchers for SV+HD leagues.

It’s May 21st and while I’m not ready to call it yet, based on recent usage in that bullpen, I think we may be looking at Tejay Antone as the new closer of the Reds moving forward. I had my doubts as I figure the Reds would want to use Antone in more of a multi-inning role, but they could also do that with Lucas Sims, so might as well use your best reliever in the closer role. Antone and his two breakers have been racking up whiffs (33.3%) and K’s (35.8%) and while the whiffs may not be elite, he is straight-up freezing hitters with his trio of pitches. Antone trails only Matt Barnes, Aroldis Chapman, and Austin Adams in CSW% this season with a 39.2% mark as he happens to be leading all relievers in CStr% at 26.3%. He does have a tendency to allow some loud contact and ideally, you’d like to see a little better walk rate, but Antone may have the best three-pitch mix out of all relievers, which is why he should be a starter, but for now, enjoy the benefits of him helping you out as a reliever.




  • Jake Diekman has yet to pitch since his back-to-back meltdowns this past weekend, but neither has Lou Trivino who is probably back to being closer 1A following Diekman’s performance in Minnesota. I’m curious to see how Diekman bounces back but also to see if Trivino can finally take advantage of the situation and improve his own numbers after what has been a disastrous start to May for him.
  • The Rogers brothers continue to do their thing, although both are looking at new roles, with Tyler Rogers now the favorite for saves in San Francisco, and Taylor Rogers likely moving back into more of a setup role in Minnesota. The Giants are on pace for a ridiculous 110 save opportunities (78 was the high in 2019, 31 the high in 2020), so Jake McGee will likely still factor into some saves, but Gabe Kapler made the right move swapping him and Rogers. With the Twins, they’ve turned to Hansel Robles for their past two save chances, and he is probably a better option there than the more volatile Alex ColoméI like Taylor Rogers the most out of that trio in Minnesota, but he may be better off working in more of a setup role where they can play matchups with him.


  • After not seeing a save chance since April, it’s nice to see Josh Staumont pick up two saves this week and further entrench himself as the Royals closer. However, we may need to monitor his velocity moving forward as it has been down lately and in his last game was sitting around 94 MPH, down three MPH from his average this year and down four MPH from his average last season. It may just be an anomaly, and I’m not worried yet (as he moved up the list) but if he is sitting around 94 MPH next time out then we have a problem.
  • Emmanuel Clase is down into the mid-thirties this week, mostly because of his recent demotion, but just like with J.P. Feyereisen and Ryne Stanek who also dropped a lot this week, I have my concerns over his recent performance too. What we have seen lately from Clase is closer to what we saw from Clase back in Texas in 2019. Clase’s stuff is electric and he should be striking out more hitters than he is, but he’s yet to fully harness that nasty cutter of his. He’s still one of the better non-closer relievers to roster in case he cracks his upside, but being in a setup role in Cleveland with an 11.6% K-BB rate is a hard sell.


  • The Blue Jays closer situation got a bit messier last night after Rafael Dolis imploded, allowing three earned runs in the top of the 9th in the loss. I don’t think Dolis has the kind of rope to bounce back from this and get the Jays next save chance, especially with him coming off the IL this week, so I’d imagine the team goes back to Jordan Romano in the closer role with Tyler Chatwood as his top setup man for the time being. Chatwood continues to be a force at the back end of the bullpen for the Jays while Romano has put together as nice May for himself as well.
  • The Tigers look like another team that will be using a closer committee approach with Michael Fulmer joining Gregory Soto in the role. Fulmer, being the right-handed pitcher, and more consistent of the two should see the majority of saves, which is well-deserving as he has an ERA of 2.00 and WHIP of .94 over 18 innings as a reliever this season. His 25.7% K-BB rate as a reliever is not too shabby either.


  • I talked about him yesterday as well, but just a reminder that Daniel Hudson has been the Nationals best reliever this season and he’s been getting a ton of Whiffs with his slider (50%), which he is throwing harder than ever now as well (88.6 MPH). Tanner Rainey seemed to be trending in the right direction before he (or Erick Fedde) tested positive for Covid but he still seems like a shell of himself as the velocity just hasn’t recovered this season.
  • Kenley Jansen was the only reliever to record four SV+HLD’s this past week, doing so in mostly dominating fashion as he allowed just one hit and one walk over 4.1 IP while striking out six. A few pitchers picked up three SV+HLD’s this week, with some interesting names such as Ryan Tepera and Craig Stammen in the mix. Tepera seems to have locked down that secondary setup role for the Cubs and has been lights out in his past six innings pitched (one hit, no walks, nine strikeouts). Stammen has resurrected his career and filled in admirably for all of the injured Padres relievers, but once they get Drew Pomeranz back healthy, I’m not quite sure if Stammen will overtake Emilio Pagán or Austin Adams for high leverage work.


Rank Pitcher Change
1Josh HaderT1-
2Aroldis Chapman-
3Liam Hendriks-
4James Karinchak+1
5Edwin Díaz
6Ryan Pressly-
7Matt Barnes-
8Raisel Iglesias-
9Kenley Jansen+1
10Craig Kimbrel-1
11Giovanny Gallegos+1
12Mark Melancon-1
13Kendall Graveman+7
14Tejay Antone+20
15Jordan Romano
16Alex Reyes+8
17Héctor Neris+2
18Diego Castillo-3
19Devin Williams-5
20Drew Pomeranz+UR
21Trevor May-4
22Chad Green-4
23Will Smith+5
24Ian Kennedy+8
25Richard Rodríguez-
26Blake Treinen-5
27Jake Diekman-11
28Lucas Sims-5
29Taylor Rogers
31Pete Fairbanks-4
32Michael Kopech+4
33Emmanuel Clase-20
34Tyler Chatwood+22
35Yimi García+2
36Josh Staumont+9
37José Alvarado-7
38Aaron Bummer-7
39César Valdez-6
40Victor González-5
41Brad Hand-1
42Scott Barlow-4
44Chris Martin+4
45Hansel Robles+27
46Michael Fulmer+UR
47Daniel Hudson+18
48Lou Trivino+16
49Austin Adams
50J.P. Feyereisen-24
51Jonathan Loáisiga-5
52Emilio Pagán-2
53Adam Ottavino-2
54Joely Rodríguez-7
55Rafael Dolis-26
56Tanner Scott-2
57Sam Coonrod-2
58Codi Heuer-9
59Miguel Castro-7
60Garrett Whitlock-3
61Yusmeiro Petit-3
62Andrew Chafin-3
63Jake McGee-20
65Ryne Stanek-24
66Garrett Crochet-4
67Sam Howard+2
68Tyler Matzek+2
69Gregory Soto-6
70Ryan Tepera+14
71Alex Colomé+16
72Archie Bradley
73A.J. Minter+4
74Dylan Floro-3
75Pierce Johnson-2
76Wander Suero-2
77Stefan Crichton-11
78Andrew Kittredge+4
79Ryan Borucki-
80Josh Sborz+5
81Génesis Cabrera+5
82Craig Stammen+UR
83Tyler Duffey-16
84Daniel Bard+5
85Paul Fry-9
86Jeffrey Springs+5
87David Bednar+11
88Will Harris-13
89Kyle Crick+UR
90Rex Brothers-12
91Mychal Givens-10
92Ryan Thompson-9
93Brent Suter-3
94Brooks Raley+2
95Darwinzon Hernández-3
96Anthony Misiewicz-2
97Caleb Thielbar-4
98Tim Hill-3
99Sean Doolittle-19
100Enoli Paredes+UR


Injured List


Photo by Rick Ulreich/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.

4 responses to “Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 5/21”

  1. Frankie says:

    Hey Rick,
    As a Karinchak owner, I handcuffed with Clase and have been VERY happy thus far, but your analysis is spot on. Clase has trailed off and deployment has changed. That said, it is very hard to drop the handcuff even though Antone is a FA in my SVHD league. I know he won’t be avail much longer. My other RPs to maybe drop would be C Green, Treinen or Chatwood — kind of love them all. What would ya do? Ty!

  2. J says:

    What happened to Whitlock? Guy was dominating — and now he is just sinking badly. Is he still valuable in a SV+HLD league? His SP/RP eligibility is really nice

  3. TJ says:

    Hey Rick, love the column. Thoughts on Treinen? He seems to be get getting tons of hold opportunities with the Dodgers being great and hasn’t given up an earned run over the last two weeks. can you talk through why he’s in tier 3 and dropping?

  4. Bill says:

    Hi Rick,

    thanks for another great column; you’re the best and most consistently updated source in fantasy.

    Could you talk a little about your criteria for ranking? I’ve noticed that some high-results guys are ranked lower (Tyler Rogers, Alex Reyes), while some who seem to have a high STB risk (looking at you, Lucas Sims and Mike Mayers; you destroyed my ratios last week) don’t appear to be downgraded very much.



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