The Hold Up 4/25: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Rick Graham ranks the top pitchers to own for holds.

[holds_list_2019 list_id=”30418″ include_stats=”1″]
  • I’ll bite on the Robert Stephenson resurrection as his new pitch mix may be the key to his MLB success. He’s basically scrapped his curveball and fastball for a slider, which he’s now throwing a career-high 59% of the time. This change has led to a 21.1% swinging-strike rate and 36.4 K/BB%, so maybe this can be a true breakout. Holds may be hard to come by in that bullpen, but he should be able to carve out a Chad Green (2017-’18 Green) type role.
  • We don’t have any concrete information as to why exactly Emilio Pagan was used to close out back to back games for the Rays on Sunday and Monday, but I don’t think it’s anything more than the Rays looking to get Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado some rest. That being said, Pagan still intrigues me in deeper leagues as he’s shown some nasty swing-and-miss stuff at the MLB level before, plus his velocity is up a tick this year.
  • Nick Wittgren looks to be in place as the Indians new top setup man, but we should temper expectations. He’s not a flamethrower, and he hasn’t made any changes to his repertoire. I doubt a breakout is coming, but he could be an OK play for holds moving forward.
  • It’s a shame watching Adam Conley‘s start to the season after having such high hopes coming into the year. An insanely high BABIP (.419) suggests this start is more of a fluke than anything, so I think we can hold steady for now.

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.

  • Avatar Jim says:

    Jeffress could easily be 20 spots down and nobody would blink. His velo is still way down. 93 last time out. He is being deployed in the middle innings. He is nowhere near set-up or closing situations yet.
    Biagini on the other hand, lights. out.

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Still too early. 93 is actually an encouraging trend since he was 91 the first few times out before. The Brewers haven’t had much opportunity for saves/holds lately and Jeffress is returning from injury so they are easing him in. No way he isn’t going to be used over the likes of Matt Albers, Alex Wilson or Jacob Barnes once back to full strength.
      Biagini has been good so far, but also very lucky (.154 BABIP, 97% LOB compared to .318, 52% career numbers).

  • Avatar Wes says:

    Between Biagini and Seranthony, who has the better chance long term to stay the setup man instead of turning into the closer? I have plenty of closers, but just Ottavino and Familia as my hold guys. Thanks!

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