Its been a month since our first hold rankings were revealed and while actual spring training stats don’t sway or deter me much, a lot has still happened which has created a good amount of movement on this list. Remember, I am ranking these options roughly 60% based on talent, upside and statistics versus 40% based on hold opportunities. So for all of you in holds leagues, here is an updated list of the top setup men heading into 2017 MLB season.
TIER 1: Good Vibrations
No changes here. For the record, I don’t expect this tier to strictly feature Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances all year. I can see anyone from Tier 2 in here eventually or even someone like Carl Edwards Jr. Matt Strahm or Mychal Givens. These two are just more advanced in the K category and are locks to get plenty of hold chances.
TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You
3. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)
16. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)
17. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)
18. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Addison Reed will begin the season as the Mets closer, but I will keep him on this list as the job is most assuredly Jeurys Familia’s when he returns. Shawn Kelley and Adam Ottavino land in tier 2, but both should still be plenty useful in holds leagues given their solid ratios and the fact they both may see some save chances throughout the year. Grant Dayton gets a bump as he seems to be far and away to most trustworthy option behind Kenly Jansen. Derek Law makes his way up a tier as the go to 8th inning man now with Will Smith needing Tommy John. I know Daniel Hudson is the listed co-closer with Tony Watson, but Felipe Rivero has great K upside and should be in line for a lot of hold opportunities.
TIER 3: Torn
23. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
24. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)
29. Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)
30. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
32. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)
34. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)
I was close to puting Matt Strahm in the previous tier, I just want to make sure he gets the ball prior to Kelvin Herrera more than Joakim Soria, which it should. Daniel Hudson and Michael Lorenzen are both locked into closer committee gigs, which is annoying and definitely not ideal to predict possible saves or holds for each. Hudson is still a very interesting case, as he is the trusted late inning RH in Pittsburgh. Lorenzen may have the most upside in that bullpen but is having a poor spring that has the Reds thinking about using him as a pinch hit or pinch run option, which can’t be a good thing (see: Micah Owings). The primary set-up man for the Cub’s is still a bit of a mystery, but they could realistically win 100+ games which could give value to 5 relievers in save+holds leagues. Blake Treinen moves up to tier 3, but could end up even higher in a week or so, or possibly even off this list entirely if he gets the closer job. At this point, it’s about 50/50 he does, so he is definitely an interesting waiver add or late round draft and stash, just until we see how things play out in Washington. Hunter Strickland gets a bit of a boost as the definite 3rd in line bullpen option in San Francisco. Xavier Cedeno is a sneaky good holds bet with Brad Boxberger starting the year on the DL.
TIER 4: You Get What You Give
43. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)
49. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies)
50. Cory Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)
54. Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)
Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand may not rack up a lot of holds, but their ratios and K rates make them worth owning in deep leagues. Joe Kelly is the primary 8th inning guy to start the season for the Red Sox. As a Sox fan, this worries be greatly. There is some reason for hope, as he has been a much better pitcher out of the pen in his career and does have legitimate swing and miss stuff for the later innings. Bryan Shaw and Ryan Dull make their way up the list here, as I was admittedly a bit tough on them a month ago. They will see hold opportunities but the peripherals aren’t anything to write home about. Sammy Solis makes a little bit of a jump here as I feel he has to earn some holds giving that he is the Nationals best left-handed bullpen option.
TIER 5: There She Goes
61. JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays)
The 2 Astros who start and end this tier, Chris Devenski and Michael Feliz, may not get many holds, but both can be good for ratios potentially and definitely K’s. I nor does anyone outside of the Cardinals organization know what Trevor Rosenthal’s role will be exactly. Joe Blanton makes his debut on the list after signing with the Nationals. He should figure into some sort of 7th inning role. Pat Neshek is coming off a strong WBC campaign an should find himself in a high leverage role despite being in a deep bullpen. Ian Krol debuts on this list with Mauricio Cabrera injured and is a fine if unspectacular deep league option. Juan Nicasio and Edubray Ramos are interesting names to watch, as some of their peripheral numbers suggest they could excel in a late inning role.
Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins)
Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)