It’s Thursday and that means Justin Perri is here ranking the best setup men in the league on The Hold Up. The following rankings are meant to give you some help on how to evaluate relief pitchers that do not finish games for their team. The beauty and craziness of a holds league is that a hold can be just as important as the save, but everyone knows who the closer is. With holds you can find an unowned and solid reliever who can really help your squad win a matchup.
Holds can be difficult to predict, so these rankings focus mostly on the raw potential seen in a relief pitcher to get a hold opportunity along with their ability to not leave you with a blown save or a loss based on what has been happening thus far this year. Some things to always consider are strikeout/groundball/flyball ratios, as you do not want to mess with the BABIP gods if you do not have to, but also your specific team needs based on your league.
Feel free to leave your questions and angry remarks in the comments section below. Let me know if you feel someone should be lower or higher on the list, I’ll be sure to take what you say into consideration. Give me a follow on Twitter @Just_In_Relief. for all things concerning bullpens and who knows what else fantasy baseball related. Now, let’s see what the rankings look like this week.
10. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)
15. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
32. Xavier Cedeño (Tampa Bay Rays)
35. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)
41. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)
50. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)
52. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
58. Francisco Abad (Minnesota Twins)
59. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)
85. Zach McAllister (Cleveland Indians)
91. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)
– Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
– Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)
– We will begin this week with injury related news; up first is Kevin Siegrist, who returned to action last Friday. He immediately took his role back and although he looked a little shaky in the series against the Marlins, allowing five base runners and a run in his first two innings back, he was able to bounce back and reward owners with two holds in the double-header vs. the Padres yesterday. He is a solid setup option, has had his issues this year but still holds a 2.72 ERA and 0.99 WHIP on the season while pitching for a club that will be competitive all year. At this point you know what you are going to get with Siegrist.
– The Texas Rangers lost Jake Diekman to the DL due to a cut on his finger, but he is expected to return today. Keone Kela also returned to the Rangers pen after three months of recovery following a procedure on his elbow. Kela was great last year but has struggled this year and allowing four runs to the Angels in his second appearance back does not instill much confidence. If Kela can find his groove then maybe he can challenge Matt Bush for some 7th inning holds, but I am going to wait and see before I rank Kela anywhere great. All the Rangers setup men took a hit in the ranks due to the way the team has been performing.
– Koji Uehara hit the DL which takes Brad Ziegler off our list for now as he will close until one of the other Boston closers comes back. This makes Matt Barnes the primary setup man for the Red Sox, and while his time collecting holds may not last long, he is a solid short term option and has been performing well over the last month of play. In the last 30 days he has only walked one while striking out sixteen.
– Last bit of injury bug impact, Chris Withrow seems like he is going to be the man to get whatever measly hold chances there are to get in Atlanta with Jim Johnson taking over as the closer. This is one of the worst teams in the game right now, if you are really desperate and none of the better options are available then I guess you can take a chance on Withrow, his numbers have been solid recently but he is no strikeout machine and could hurt you if he gets a bad matchup.
– I always love finding new faces in the setup game, if you play in a league where the majority of great holds options are taken, finding a new guy that can compete with the top options is awesome. A potential candidate for emergence is Cam Bedrosian for the Angels. Now, the halos are not exactly performing well in the AL West, but Bedrosian has picked up his pace by not allowing a run since the start of June and compiling a 20:5 K:BB ratio in that span as well as four holds. He has clearly passed Joe Smith and Fernando Salas in that bullpen and should be seen as the top option behind closer Huston Street.
– I gave Jerry Blevins some love this week and removed him from the land of the forsaken as he rises in to the fourth tier. Blevins is the second guy in line for the Mets after Addison Reed and has been getting a reputable number of holds. He has a 2.05 ERA and a WHIP below 1.00 on the season as well as decent strikeout numbers. The Metropolitans give their relievers the opportunities to get counting stats so Jerry is not such a bad option after all.
– Also demanding attention is Adam Liberatore, he has bolstered his holds numbers by collecting five in the last month while not allowing a run in that span. Three base runners in his last nine frames with eleven strikeouts is money. The bullpen for the Dodgers seems pretty shut down at the moment Joe Blanton also performing. I am buying Liberatore.
As always, be warned that after tier five the options are not prime, they do not get holds chances frequently and can not be trusted to keep your ERA and WHIP safe. The tiers at this late point are more of a grouping and just because someone is ranked above someone else in either of the last two tiers does not mean they are certainly better. Honestly, it would be wise to stay in the top 60, proceed at your own risk down there. Even tier five can be pretty risky.
Again, leave me a comment if you think someone deserves to be in a different spot, if I missed an injury, or just want to dive into the discussion. Always feel free to ask any questions during the week on Twitter @Just_In_Relief.