Top 100 Relievers to Own in Save+Hold Leagues: 4/20 Update

Rick Graham's weekly update of the Top 100 Relievers to own in SV+HLDs leagues.

[sv_hlds_list list_id=”17935″ include_stats=”1″ season=”2018″]

Following up on our weekly Closers and Holds articles will be our Top 100 RP’s for SV+HD leagues every Friday. Use this list to get a feel for the current reliever market and to gauge value for trades, waiver adds, etc.


  • Josh Hader being the best RP in baseball shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to those who have been following his career since the second half of last year when the Brewers transitioned him into a reliever. Currently, he is basically Andrew Miller with more usage and who’s going to see 1-2 save chances a week. He currently leads relievers in K/9, WAR, is 2nd in xFIP, 3rd in SIERA, 4th in SwStr% and Z-Contact% to go along with 2 saves and 4 holds over 11.2 innings. I’m fully buying into the former top prospect as a top-tier reliever until he proves otherwise.
  • Adam Ottavino and Carl Edwards could also make a case for being the best non-closer relievers out there right now, but I can’t imagining they will be able to keep up with Hader’s usage. Even after a terrible 2017, Ottavino’s great start should mostly be sustainable with the exception being the strikeout numbers. He should still manage to produce weak contact though and get an ample amount of holds in Colorado. Edwards has a great chance at going over 100 K’s this season and is currently having a great season all the while combating a .357 BABIP.
  • Kirby Yates came off the DL yesterday and should go back into a setup role for the Padres. The Padres are one of those sneaky mediocre-bad teams that still find ways to keep games close and find plenty of save/hold opportunities for relievers. He was off to a good start, albeit just 5 games, before an ankle injury derailed him. His SwStr% was down in the 3+ innings he had thrown earlier, but interestingly he hasn’t been charted throwing any sliders yet, a pitch he threw 25% last year. Instead, he upped his changeup usage more than 20%, something to keep an eye on after his strong 2017 season.
  • After blowing his second save on Wednesday night, there’s been some talk about Hunter Strickland losing the grip on the temporary closer job in San Francisco until Mark Melancon returns. Melancon has yet to begin throwing (scheduled to do so next week) so this does have some significance, but I’d still bet on Strickland getting the next chance based on everything Bruce Bochy has said. I do like Watson a tad better though in leagues that count holds equally, and favor him much more over the rest of the season.

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.

12 responses to “Top 100 Relievers to Own in Save+Hold Leagues: 4/20 Update”

  1. Let's Play Two says:

    Do you see a reason to hold onto Knebel? What could we expect from him when he comes back in counting stats?

    I’m in a standard, season-long roto league and own Rivero, Allen, Doolittle and Knebel. Out of DL slots and have Schoop, Buxton, Knebel on DL. I would need to drop someone to activate Schoop when he comes off the DL. Since I only have one hitter on the bench – Acuna – who is in the minors, and feel Knebel is the one who should be dropped.

    • Rick Graham says:

      I don’t see why he can’t be the same guy as before. However, I’d drop him over the other options you mentioned. Confused as to why you would need to drop Knebel to activate Schoop from the DL though.

      • Let's Play Two says:

        Because our league allows for two DL spots, which are both occupied…and I have Buxton who is wasting a spot on the roster after being put on the 10-day for migraines. I added players when Schoop and Knebel went on the DL. Would need to drop someone to make room on the roster in order to activate him. Since I have three closers already and Schoop will be back a lot sooner than Knebel, he seemed like the logical one to drop thinking I can always trade for or find another closer on the wire if needed later. I’m in a 10-team league and a handful of us carry three quality closers. Need to keep pace on save ops and ratios and plan to carry four closers at a later time to gain separation – which is why I was looking for advice on what to do with Knebel. Would love to hold onto him, but I lose out on other counting stats on the offensive categories while he’s out until June or All-Star break.

    • Slothrop says:

      I think you nailed it. knebel was a waiver add last May. there’s always RP upside on the wire if you need it later. hell, knebel may still be there.

  2. Carson says:

    Bud Norris prospects long term? Cardinal’s bullpen thoughts in general?

    • Rick Graham says:

      The one bullpen we have the least idea about long term. Have to ride Norris while he’s hot, but they didn’t forfeit a 1st round pick and $14 million for a middle reliever. It has potential to be one of the best bullpens in baseball if they can find the right mix of roles for these guys. Is Mike Matheny capable of that? Remains to be seen.

  3. Scott says:

    Betances falling on this list every week. Do you see him moving up or are you bearish on him? He only has 1 hold all year. The nyy pen is deep and I am not sure where he sits in terms of holds or if Chapman needs a breather for saves. He is still striking guys out. Thx

    • Rick Graham says:

      I don’t see a great path for him to start earning consistent holds again and he doesn’t help ratio’s like Chad Green so while the K’s are going to be there, that’s about the only category he is helping in right now.

  4. David Fiedler says:

    How do you feel about Heath Hembree? I was about to drop him for Jose Alvarado but then i realized he as a 13.00 K/BB ratio and one more Hold on the season.


    • Rick Graham says:

      He’s not really anything to get excited about. He’s still 3rd at best in the pecking order and could be passed by Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg eventually.

  5. Ken says:

    Tony Cingrani need moved up the list perhaps? 4 holds (with opportunity) and not being limited to LHBs. A case could be made that hes been as dominant as Josh Hader thus far, and while its a smallsample size, this is a carryover from end of last season.

    • Rick Graham says:

      Yes I noticed he had a good weekend and was getting 8th inning work. I’d expect to see a nice bump this week.

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