Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 3/26

Rick Graham updates his top 100 relief pitchers for SV+HD leagues.

We are now less than a week away from opening day and relievers are dropping like flies. First, it was Jose Leclerc who will miss considerable time with elbow soreness. Then we found out that Kirby Yates needed Tommy John surgery. Last but certainly not least, we learned yesterday that Nick Anderson has a partially torn UCL and will be out at least until the All-Star break. Three big names all out in what has been a bloodbath of a week on the injury front in general (Eloy Jimenez sigh).

Most, if not everyone in “red” this week  (-) are down because of either A.) injury or velo down, B.) other spring issues or C.) too many mouths to feed in their bullpen (CWS, SD, etc.). With three closers going down this past week, I think it’s safe to be a little more conservative with pitchers dealing with spring training arm issues (Drew Pomeranz, Tanner Rainey, etc.), especially after the Nick Anderson news. A lot of these guys will try to pitch through some elbow or shoulder pain but at the end of the day, they either need surgery or a prolonged rest/rehab stint.

 

Notes

 

  • I feel obligated to bump Devin Williams down, not because he isn’t the most talented reliever in baseball, but I truly question his ability to hold up through an entire season. He’s only made two spring appearances as the team is trying to play it safe with his shoulder fatigue, and has only 131.2 professional innings under his belt since 2016 (average of about 33 IP a year).
  • Will Smith has been great this spring for the Braves (5 IP, 10/0 K/BB ratio, 1 H allowed), and looks like the Giants version of Smith we know and love. He dealt with Covid early on in the 2020 season and was never quite the same afterward, but he is just one year removed from being one the best relievers and most coveted free agents in baseball.
  • With Yates out for the year, the Jays will likely turn to Jordan Romano and Rafael Dolis to help finish off games this season. Despite a worrying walk rate, I really love Dolis’s arsenal and believe he could be one of the better closers in the game. However, I do like Romano better, and I’m also curious as to why Dolis hasn’t pitched in a game since March 13th. I’ve searched everywhere for some sort of answer to this and come up empty. It’s mildly concerning he hasn’t appeared in a game in almost two weeks but the team hasn’t announced any injury news with him and Charlie Montoya mentioned him as Yates potential replacement. Perhaps it’s a Ryan Pressly situation?
  • It pains me to drop Codi Heuer so much but this bullpen is just so incredibly deep, it’s fair to question just how much he will be able to contribute in holds (or saves). Teams typically can support two, sometimes three relievers for holds value, and I think it’s fair to say Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall will be the top two setup options here. Who that potential third option will be is up in the air, but I’d imagine it could be a rotating door or Heuer, Garrett Crochet, Michael Kopech, and Matt Foster. Heuer has 14 K’s over 8.2 spring innings so far this March.
  • As far as who will be the secondary setup option in Cleveland, I still get the sense that Phil Maton will likely get more holds opportunities than Emmanuel Clase. Both have pitched fairly well this spring and Clase should still figure into some high-leverage work. Both have considerably more upside than Nick Wittgren but we know how much Terry loves his veterans.

3/27: updated list following the Oberg and Matt Barnes news

Rank Pitcher Change
1Edwin DíazT1+2
2Liam Hendriks+2
3Aroldis Chapman+2
4Josh Hader+2
5Raisel Iglesias+4
6Devin Williams
T2
-5
7Ryan Pressly-
8James Karinchak-
9Trevor Rosenthal+6
10Giovanny Gallegos+2
11Jordan Romano+6
12Amir Garrett+1
13Will Smith+25
14Diego Castillo+6
15Trevor May
T3
+4
16Jake Diekman+2
17Chad Green+5
18Tyler Duffey-4
19Pete Fairbanks+4
20Drew Pomeranz-10
21Kenley Jansen-
22Brad Hand+5
23Tanner Rainey-12
24Héctor Neris+7
25Emilio Pagán+21
26Taylor Rogers
T4
+17
27Aaron Bummer-3
28Blake Treinen-2
29Scott Barlow-
30Jordan Hicks+18
31Chris Martin+13
32Lucas Sims+7
33Mike Mayers+9
34Alex Colomé+16
35Rafael Dolis+27
36Evan Marshall-8
37Jake McGee+3
38Archie Bradley+42
39Tanner Scott+16
40Enoli Paredes+49
41Josh Staumont
T5
-4
42Victor González-8
43Richard Rodríguez+2
44Craig Kimbrel-12
45Matt Barnes+2
46Nick Wittgren+46
47Anthony Bass+13
48Greg Holland+1
49Codi Heuer-14
50Gregory Soto+14
51Wander Suero+1
52Daniel Bard+16
53Adam Ottavino+31
54Yimi García+11
55Stefan Crichton+26
56Miguel Castro-
57Garrett Crochet+UR
58Félix Peña-
59Phil Maton-2
60Rafael Montero+3
61Jorge Alcala+5
62Ryan Brasier
T6
-9
63Andrew Miller-9
64Emmanuel Clase+6
65Tejay Antone+UR
66Austin Adams-15
67Alex Reyes+UR
68Robert Stephenson-7
69J.B. Wendelken+19
70Joakim Soria+5
71A.J. Minter+1
72Cody Stashak-5
73Joely Rodríguez+1
74Brent Suter+3
75Tyler Rogers+3
76Matt Wisler+3
77Brusdar Graterol-8
78Pierce Johnson-19
79Mychal Givens+4
80José Alvarado+UR
81Andrew Chafin+5
82Connor Brogdon
T7
+5
83Tony Gonsolin+UR
84Michael Kopech+UR
85Jason Adam+14
86Mark Melancon-13
87Ian Kennedy+UR
88Reyes Moronta-17
89Kevin Ginkel+1
90Dustin May+UR
91Daniel Hudson+3
92Jesse Hahn+3
93Lou Trivino+3
94Will Harris-12
95Darren O’Day+3
96Keone Kela+UR
97Keynan Middleton+UR
98Justin Wilson-5
99Pedro Báez-14
100Chaz Roe+UR

 

 

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.

  • Do your rankings here indicate your assumed hierarchy for saves behind Hand in WAS? Rainey, Suero, then Hudson? Hudson hasn’t inspired confidence this spring…

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Thats basically how I see it. As long as Will Harris is out, I think they will give Hudson a chance, but he could just as easily be off this list in a week or two. I’d imagine the team still trust’s him over Finnegan.

  • Avatar Dave says:

    ChiSox bullpen – potentially 7 deep of pure wickedness! Gotta be the best pen in the majors (out of the gate) – right?

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Absolutely. One of, if not the best bullpens I’ve seen from a talented standpoint in the 5 years I’ve been doing this.

  • Avatar REB says:

    “I think it’s safe to be a little more conservative with pitchers dealing with spring training arm issues (Drew Pomeranz, Tanner Rainey, etc.), especially after the Nick Anderson news. A lot of these guys will try to pitch through some elbow or shoulder pain but at the end of the day, they either need surgery or a prolonged rest/rehab stint.” Rainey got a delayed start this spring because of a minor muscle strain near his right collarbone; his arm should be fine.

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      You’re right about it not being an arm injury, but it is still affecting his arm. He hasn’t looked good in his two spring outings and his velocity is down 3 MPH. Not sure he’ll be at 100% for opening day at this point.

  • Avatar Daniel Goldin says:

    Love these rankings. Any reason why Trivino is so low? Also, any thoughts on the following arms?
    Lucas Luetge
    JP Feiyerson
    Cesar Valdez
    Tyler Matzek
    Corey Knebel

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