It’s Tuesday, which means Matt is here to talk about Holds. Setup men are valuable cogs in the machine, and your interest in holds helps shine a light on these underappreciated flowers. The 8th is often as high leverage as the 9th but roles are slightly less defined, and holds will be more spread out over the course of a season because of specific matchups.
The season is still very fresh so I don’t want to jump off/on bandwagons too quickly but the next couple weeks will be very telling in terms of bullpen usage and changes in repertoire and velocity. Check back every Tuesday for updated rankings and notes.
17. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
20. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)
23. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)
29. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)
36. Stephen Geltz (Tampa Bay Rays)
37. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
46. Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)
50. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)
51. José Álvarez (Los Angeles Angels)
63. Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians)
Injured Setup Men – All their timelines are somewhat undefined but they’ll find their way into the rankings eventually. Carson Smith has fringe Tier 1 upside, Knebel is a lotto ticket, the rest aren’t that exciting.
– It’s still very early so I don’t want to change things up too much but manager tendencies will really start to take hold soon enough. Also keep in mind that as the season chugs along some younger arms could gain more and more responsibility with high leverage situations.
– The list is probably a bit bloated but it is nice to have some names to play with if you are really chasing holds and have some roster flexibility. Plus an injury here or there and middling hold options can be catapulted into relevancy.
– High upside question marks Seung Hwan Oh and Tony Zych have impressed early.
– The Mets bullpen isn’t too defined after Jeurys Familia. Addison Reed, Hector Robles, and Antonio Bastardo are already ranked but Jim Henderson joins them. Velocity is back and he has looked unhittable so far.
– Joaquin Benoit is a setup man OG but he is dealing with some shoulder soreness and had back issues in Spring. Not time to freak out yet but he is 38 so things could turn into a struggle if he can’t get healthy.
– Neftali Feliz hasn’t allowed a baserunner in 5 IP. He hasn’t put together a full dominant season in many years but unless Caminero finds his groove Feliz looks to be 3rd in line. More than enough opps in Pittsburgh if he can keep this up.
– Darren O’Day is a brand name superstud but Baltimore does not want to use him as the official 8th inning guy. Mychal Givens gave up runs in his first two outings but he is a horse and the Orioles love him. Not ready to trust Dylan Bundy yet but he could cut into Darren’s hold total as well. In the end ERA and WHIP is still slightly more important than pure hold totals, but his ranking definitely take a hit because of potentially disappointing hold opps.
– Kevin Jepsen has struggled but he has no real competition at the moment and looked great this Spring so likely just a blip. Trevor May and Casey Fien haven’t done so hot either so no real concern he is going to lose the 8th. Gets a slight boost if you aren’t exclusively interested in holds and would be happy if Glen Perkins lost the job.