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The Hold Up 4/7: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week

Well we are almost a week in to the MLB season now but early point to a lot of unrest in most bullpen’s. Finding holds each and every will be...

Well we are almost a week in to the MLB season now but early point to a lot of unrest in most bullpen’s. Finding holds each and every will be a very fluid situation outside of these top 2, possibly 3 tiers. Expect this list to change a lot over the first month or so, with players moving up and down, on and off the list until things become more clear.

TIER 1: Good Vibrations

1. Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

So far, so good for these two in the early stages of the season. Miller has thrown 2 innings, earning a hold as well as a win while striking out 2. Betances has only seen action in one game, picking up a K in 2/3 of an inning pitched.

TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You

3. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

4. Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox)

5. Luke Gregerson (Houston Astros)

6. Matt Bush (Texas Rangers

7. Brad Brach (Baltimore Orioles)

8. Kyle Barraclough (Miami Marlins)

9. Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs

10. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)

11. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics

12. Brett Cecil (St. Louis Cardinals)

13. Will Harris (Houston Astros)

14. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)

Brad Brach being the goto 8th inning option in front of Zach Britton makes him a top option in hold leagues. Pedro Strop has pitched the 8th inning in both games the Cubs have been up by less than 3 runs and seems like the safest option in that bullpen at the moment. Brett Cecil seems like the top set up guy in St. Louis but he was shelled Thursday. He should continue to see hold opportunities though.

TIER 3: Torn

15. Bruce Rondon (Detroit Tigers)

16. Grant Dayton (Los Angeles Dodgers)

17. Daniel Hudson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

18. Koji Uehara (Chicago Cubs)

19. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates

20. Carl Edwards Jr. (Chicago Cubs)

21. Mike Dunn (Colorado Rockies

22. Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles)

23. Justin Wilson (Detroit Tigers

24. Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)

25. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)

26. Adam Ottavino (Colorado Rockies)

27. Shawn Kelley (Washington Nationals)

28. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics)

29. Sergio Romo (Los Angeles Dodgers

30. Hunter Strickland (San Francisco Giants)

31. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)

32. Andrew Bailey (Los Angeles Angels)

33. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)

34. Joe Blanton (Washington Nationals

35. Cory Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

The Rockies also may have a different look in the 8th innings than expected. Mike Dunn seems to be the primary set up man, as he has pitched the 8th inning in close ball games three times, whereas Adam Ottavino has pitched the 7th each time. There’s definitely room for both to be productive, with Hollands potential health concerns making them solid owns in holds leagues. With all of the Nationals bullpen talk surrounding Blake Treinen, Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley, people seemed to forget about Sammy Solis. Except for Dusty Baker that is, as he has used him in two high leverage situations so far. He earned the hold on Monday, pitching a scoreless 8th inning and was even brought in and given a save opportunity Thursday night, even with Treinen available. It seems like Baker will use Solis late in games with the lead against any and all lefties, so that certainly puts Solis on the radar in holds leagues. Joe Blanton seems to be the 8th inning option for right handed hitters, leaving Kelley’s role a bit of a mystery for now. 3 pitchers have pitched the 9th inning for the Athletics so far this season when leading by 4 or less. Ryan Madson, the favorite to close the majority of games this season, was not one of them. He pitched the 8th with the lead, and the reasoning here could be that Bob Melvin just wanted to make sure he faced Mike Trout late in the games. Either way, even if he does pitch the majority of the time in the 8th inning, he’ll still be a usable source for holds. Andrew Bailey and Drew Storen work their way up the list as both should not only be their respective teams primary set-up man, but both should earn a few save chances here and there.

TIER 4: You Get What You Give

36. Brad Ziegler (Miami Marlins)

37. Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees)

38. Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)

39. Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals

40. Joaquin Benoit (Philadelphia Phillies)

41. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)

42. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)

43. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)

44. Dan Altavilla (Seattle Mariners)

45. Jeremy Jeffress (Texas Rangers)

46. Matt Strahm (Kansas City Royals)

47. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)

48. Chris Devenski (Houston Astros)

49. David Phelps (Miami Marlins)

50. Fernando Salas (New York Mets)

51. Alex Wood (Los Angeles Dodgers)

52. Kevin Siegrist (St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan Dull was given a save opportunity on Tuesday and proceeded to give up a 3 run HR to Danny Espinosa. His slider just wasn’t on, but he should bounce back get some more hold/save opportunists. Similar for Matt Strahm who has struggled early on but should still be a big part of that Royals bullpen. I think Dan Altavilla will run with the primary set-up role even when Steve Cishek returns. He has some nasty stuff, touching 98 with his fastball and featuring a hard slider with good bite. Alex Wood, Chris Devenski and David Phelps can still help out in deep leagues, even if they are not contributing holds. They should see a lot of innings and contribute K’s, along with good ratios and the occasional win or hold. All 3 should probably be in a starting rotation somewhere but for no make for luxury long relievers. Fernando Salas seems to have worked his way back to fantasy relevance, working after Hansel Robles in games so far this season and could be in line for some holds even when Jeurys Familia comes back from suspension.

TIER 5: There She Goes

53. Edubray Ramos (Philadelphia Phillies)

54. Joe Biagini (Toronto Blue Jays)

55. Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)

56. Koda Glover (Washington Nationals)

57. Jonathan Broxton (St. Louis Cardinals)

58. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)

59. Heath Hembree (Boston Red Sox)

60. Joe Smith (Toronto Blue Jays)

61. Dan Otero (Cleveland Indians)

62. Jacob Barnes (Milwaukee Brewers)

63. Ian Krol (Atlanta Braves)

64. Carlos Torres (Milwaukee Brewers)

65. JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays

66.  Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners)

67. Matt Belisle (Minnesota Twins)

68. Juan Nicasio (Pittsburgh Pirates)

69. Tony Barnette (Texas Rangers)

70. Tommy Hunter (Tampa Bay Rays)

HM. Miguel Diaz (San Diego Padres)

Joe Smith seems likely to be in a battle with Joe Biagini for that secondary set-up role once Roberto Osuna returns. Heath Hembree has been setting up Craig Kimbrel and will continue to do so until Tyler Thornburg is healthy. Matt Belisle has 2 holds on the year so far, and has apparently locked up set-up duties for Brandon Kintzler. Tony Barnette is an interesting name to watch with Sam Dyson struggling and Keone Kela being demoted. I really don’t need to say anything about Miguel Diaz other than you need to see this (if you haven’t already)…

Anyone who has that in their arm can certainly find a spot at the back end of ball games. He has 3 potentially plus pitches in his fastball, slider and changeup and just needs to be more consistent commanding them. While the Padres do need some right-handed talent in their bullpen, he’s just an interesting name to watch in San Diego and has a ways to go before being fantasy relevant.

Disabled List

Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

Carter Capps (San Diego Padres)

Tyler Thornburg (Boston Red Sox)

Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)

Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners)

Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins

Carson Smith (Boston Red Sox)

Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)

Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

Jake Barrett (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Mauricio Cabrera (Atlanta Braves)

Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)

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.

One response to “The Hold Up 4/7: Ranking the Top 70 Relievers for Holds Every Week”

  1. Gregory says:

    Bruce Rondon optioned to AAA and Justin Wilson named primary setup man. Finally time to drop your boy Rondon off this list.

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