The Hold Up 7/7: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday

Ranking baseball's top setup options for the 2022 season.

Michael Fulmer has put together a great first half of the season, picking up where he left off last year as he transitioned to a full time bullpen role. That said, I do have some concerns and doubts about him being able to sustain this success. The K rate (just 25%) is interesting as he is getting plenty of Whiffs (31.6%) but he’s really struggling to get hitters to chase out of the zone (21.5%) which is a bit worrisome given his 63% slider usage and 12.1% BB rate. While things are going great for Fulmer now, we could see some negative second half regression, especially if Fulmer finds himself in a new environment come August.

 

Notes

 

  • Andrés Muñoz is showing everyone why he was such an exciting relief prospect and it’s awesome to see the team put their trust in him with consistent holds chances as of late. Over his last 11.1 IP, Muñoz has an absurd 23/3 K/BB rate to go with four holds while allowing no runs on just four hits. He may have the most upside of anyone on this list outside of Devin Williams.

 

  • I don’t think anyone had Evan Phillips as the Dodgers top reliever for the 2022 season back in March but here we are. Even after Blake Treinen returns (throwing off a mound now), expect Phillips to see plenty of hold chances as the teams secondary set up option, that is unless the team goes out and adds a big time reliever at the deadline.

 

  • Wil Crowe Medicine Show keeps on rocking as the Pirates top set up option, pulling ahead of the rest of this bullpen by a wide margin despite a rough patch over the second half of June. The strikeouts have slowed down, but his Seth Lugo-esque pitch mix has resulted in just a 21.8% Hard Hit rate and a 50% groundball rate.

 

  • Tyler Matzek returned to the Braves bullpen this past week, and has a chance to move back into as setup role despite Kenley Jansen potentially returning next week. Command has been an issue for Matzek this season (and in the past) so he’ll have to limit the walks (10/10 K/BB ratio over 11.2 IP this season) to earn the teams trust again as long as A.J. Minter and Will Smith are pitching well.

 

  • I’m encouraged by A.J. Puk’s recent strikeout barrage, as the talented lefty has struck out eight batters over his last 4.1 IP while not walking anyone. The A’s still have issues at the back end of their bullpen so Puk should continue to have opportunities to work in high leverage situations as the teams top left handed, and possibly overall, reliever.

 

  • It’s been a rough year for Joe Kelly who has made multiple trips to the Injured List and currently sports a 9.49 ERA and 2.27 WHIP over 12.1 innings this season. With Liam Hendriks back in the closer role, Kelly gets bumped down as Kendall Graveman slides back into his typical set up role, leaving the seventh inning up for grabs.

 

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Devin WilliamsT1-
2A.J. Minter
T2
-
3Giovanny Gallegos-
4John Schreiber+3
5Michael King-
6Diego Castillo
T3
+UR
7Brooks Raley+2
8Jason Adam+2
9Andrés Muñoz+13
10Evan Phillips+13
11Kendall Graveman+UR
12Michael Fulmer-6
13Héctor Neris-5
14Eli Morgan-1
15Alex Lange+3
16Seth Lugo
T4
-4
17Andrew Chafin-2
18Griffin Jax-4
19Brad Boxberger-3
20Rafael Montero-
21Félix Bautista+5
22Drew Smith-5
23Ryne Stanek-4
24Wil Crowe+14
25Erik Swanson+3
26Ryan Tepera
T5
-15
27Matt Wisler-2
28Collin McHugh-1
29Tyler Matzek+UR
30Aroldis Chapman-6
31Luis García-1
32Dennis Santana-3
33Adam Cimber+9
34Tyler Rogers+3
35Aaron Loup-
36Brusdar Graterol+7
37Anthony Bass+8
38Scott Effross+1
39Matt Strahm-3
40Tim Mayza-8
41Corey Knebel
T6
-1
42Emilio Pagán+2
43Ken Giles-12
44José Leclerc-3
45Brad Hand+6
46Tyler Duffey+7
47Steven Okert+9
48A.J. Puk+19
49Joe Kelly-28
50Joe Mantiply+5
51Adam Ottavino-2
52Mychal Givens-4
53Brock Burke-20
54Phil Maton+4
55Joely Rodríguez+2
56John Brebbia
T7
-9
57Jordan Hicks+UR
58Alex Vesia-4
59Dominic Leone-25
60Domingo Acevedo+25
61Phil Bickford+UR
62Jake Diekman-16
63Wandy Peralta-13
64Jose Cuas+5
65Dillon Tate-2
66Zach Jackson+5
67Caleb Thielbar-3
68Taylor Clarke+UR
69Andrew Bellatti+14
70Dylan Coleman-10
71James Karinchak
T8
+UR
72Trevor Stephan-20
73Cionel Pérez-7
74Jake McGee-13
75Carl Edwards Jr.-16
76Enyel De Los Santos-14
77Penn Murfee-12
78Miguel Castro-10
79Bryan Abreu-9
80Kyle Finnegan-8
81Joe Jiménez-3
82Rowan Wick-6
83Matt Moore-6
84José Alvarado-5
85Keegan Akin-5
86Will Vest-5
87Dylan Floro+UR
88Chris Martin+4
89José Ruiz-5
90Ryan Borucki-4
91Jesse Chavez-3
92Reynaldo López-1
93Joel Kuhnel-
94Trevor Gott-
95Yerry De Los Santos-
96Junior Fernández-
97Lucas Gilbreath-
98Joey Krehbiel-
99Nabil Crismatt-
100Austin Davis-

 

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

6 responses to “The Hold Up 7/7: Ranking the Top 100 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday”

  1. randomguy says:

    Why so high on Diego Castillo with just 2 holds on the season? What am I missing…he’s available in my league but I need holds out of that roster spot

    • Rick Graham says:

      6 wins and 4 saves also. He’s still working in late inning, high leverage spots and has been dominant as of late (last 16.2 IP: 5 W, 4 SV+HLD, 1.13 ERA, .44 WHIP, 20 K).

  2. Jayson says:

    Montero and Boxberger should rank higher in my opinion. I prefer Montero over Neris. Neris’ ERA is horrible. Over 5.00 even the last 30 days.

    • Johnny says:

      I was about to point out the same. I own Neris in one league and Montero in another. I wouldn’t trade Montero for Neris. But I would trade Neris for Montero in a heartbeat.

      • Rick Graham says:

        Fair points, and maybe it’s time I fully buy in on Montero and begin to fade Neris. Neris is historical a MUCH better pitch in the second half though and I don’t know how much I believe in Montero’s ability to miss bats with his fastball doing the heavy lifting.

  3. Pancho says:

    I will echo about Diego Castillo being ranked so high. It seems like someone with more than 2 holds on the season would occupy the top 10. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time…but I have been telling myself that for awhile.

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