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 after all the moves we saw at the deadline.
1. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
2. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)
15. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)
19. Xavier Cedeño (Tampa Bay Rays)
26. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)
38. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
44. Bryan Shaw (Cleveland Indians)
49. Hansel Robles (New York Mets)
53. Oliver Perez (Washington Nationals)
60. Felipe Rivero (Washington Nationals)
69. Francisco Abad (Boston Red Sox)
89. Zach McAllister (Cleveland Indians)
96. Jose Alvarez (Los Angeles Angels)
– Yimi Garcia (Los Angeles Dodgers)
– With all the changes resulting from the madness that was the trade deadline, we find our holds rankings featuring new faces and some old faces on new teams. With the Yankees being heavy sellers it is not exactly clear who is going to be getting the first crack at the 8th inning. My money’s on Adam Warren with Tyler Clippard being the guy in the seventh. There’s speculation that Shane Greene or Luis Severino could also work into the mix for the later innings but we’ll get to that if it starts to happen. Nobody on the Yankees has a hold since the deadline.
– The Pirates are now using Tony Watson to close. A long time favorite setup man, Watson’s role will now turn over to Neftali Feliz who should be a nice option for a steady rate of holds. Just do not be surprised when he doesn’t provide you with a lockdown ERA. His last month of play has seen 6 holds with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP along with 15 Ks in 9.2 innings.
– The injury to Adam Liberatore keeps the door open for Joe Blanton, who was beginning to be overshadowed. Pedro Baez will also now work the 7th again and may be in line for some holds. The Dodgers have not indicated when Adam will be back.
– The Angels lost their closer to injury, which has bumped Cam Bedrosian to closing. Cam blew a save last night but the only other option for the Angels is Fernando Salas. I think that Salas may take a save or two here and there but he’s going to be the 8th inning guy for LA.
– Tyler Thornburg is also now closing after the Jeffress trade to the Rangers. Corey Knebel will set him up, and has already picked up three holds in his last three appearances. He hasn’t had the best season but he is rocking a 13 K/9 on the year.
– The K/9 king, Edwin Diaz, has been promoted to closer pretty much because he is better than Steve Cishek. Glad to see the Mariners get it right. Diaz is filth. Tom Wilhelmsen will be the guy getting the holds; Cishek may work himself into that mix as well if he can earn back some trust.
– Ken Giles also inherited the closing role; I expect the holds to go to Pat Neshek. He has 11 on the year and though ex-closer Will Harris may also see some setup work, he probably needs to earn trust back as well after blowing back to back saves.
– The Indians upgraded their pen just a bit. You’ll see Cody Allen getting the holds now. He’s a solid option now that Miller will be behind him and this team is clearly making a push and expects to be winning games late in the season. If someone dropped Allen in a holds league, go out and grab him.
– Francisco Abad was traded to the Red Sox, this opens the 8th inning up for Ryan Pressly to see some work in higher leverage situations. Trevor May could also see a few holds. They like him over in Minnesota.
– Lastly, with the acquisition of Mark Melancon, Jonathan Papelbon is going to be the setup man for the Nationals. He should be able to succeed and should be seen as a top holds option with his pitching pedigree as well as the team he’s playing for.
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.
Justin Perri (@Just_In_Relief) is a writer for Pitcher List, a New Yorker and a lifelong fan of baseball. He can be found walking around the Bronx looking for the glory that once was the Yankees or obsessively watching The Office.