Top 100 Relievers for Save+Hold Leagues: 4/9

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

Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the young season in the world of relief pitchers has been Julian Merryweather of the Blue Jays. Up until last night’s game, I’ll admit there was still some skepticism as to if he was really the team’s closer, but with Jordan Romano working the seventh and Merryweather the ninth and tenth, I think it’s save to say he is. For now, at least. He wasn’t as sharp last night, which is all the more impressive considering he allowed just one hit and a walk over two innings while striking out a pair. The great pitchers in this league still find a way to be effective even when they don’t have their best stuff, and Merryweather did just that last night. Merryweather sits at 7 Ks over 4 innings while having a .50 WHIP and has yet to allow an earned run. He could be this year’s breakout reliever.

 

Notes

 

  • What a great start to the season it’s been for Craig Kimbrel, who has now worked 4.2 innings on the year without allowing a baserunner while striking out 9. Sure it’s been the Pirates three times and a Brewers offense stuck in mud, but the early results are encouraging nonetheless. His command has been fantastic, as he has been able to locate his fastball at the top of the strike zone and on the edges, staying out of the middle of the plate. As long as he is getting ahead and staying ahead of hitters, he’ll have a spot near the top of this list.

 

  • Kimbrel’s former teammate Matt Barnes is also looking great to begin the year, although he has yet to earn a save as the team has yet to have a save opportunity arise. Barnes has been establishing his fastball early in counts, throwing it for strikes at the top of the zone while using his curveball less often, but effectively. It’s early, but Barnes looks poised to prove 2020 was a fluke and get back to his 2019 ways.

 

 

  • Chris Martin left Sunday’s game with some tingling in his fingers, and has yet to pitch since. At this point, the team doesn’t expect him to land on the IL and he may be available to pitch this weekend. The Braves desperately need to get Martin back, as he is the only trustworthy right-hander in that bullpen at Brian Snitker’s disposal. Hopefully he gets back this weekend and is throwing the ball like he did last season and this spring.

 

  • Daniel Bard has been a bright spot for the Rockies bullpen this year, with the veteran closer already picking up two saves. Bard’s fastball is actually up a tick this year, and has been getting whiffs on his slider at a 50% rate. Bard’s slider had a 32.3% whiff rate last season. but if he can get that up into the high 40-50% range, all of a sudden Bard’s strikeout upside would put him in that top 25 discussion.

 

  • Tanner Scott falls slightly this week after losing out on the closer role to Cesar Valdez. Scott will still factor into the holds mix, but how much upside will that bring on an Orioles team that despite its current record, likely won’t be winning a ton of games.
  • Missing a big chunk of the spring certainly hasn’t helped Rafael Dolis to start the season and working after Ryan Borucki last night is not a great sign. He’s definitely behind Merryweather and Romano in the Jays pecking order, and perhaps his walk rate has taken him out of high leverage work completely for the time being.

 

  • I got a little too excited about Enoli Paredes entering the year, believing in his stuff and that he’d be able to overcome some of the issues that plagued him last year. He also was the Astros’ top setup option! Unfortunately for now, the command issues are still prevalent and he’s probably at risk to lose out on a high leverage role if things don’t turn around soon. He’s still not far off from breaking through, but there are much safer options out there. As I am writing this, Paredes left the game with what looks like an injury. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.

 

  • Despite the obnoxious way that game ended yesterday, it was still a situation that could have been avoided had Anthony Bass not blown his second save of the season. Don Mattingly gave Bass a vote of confidence after the game and said he’d stick with him in the closer role, but he’s still probably a blown save or two away from losing his grip on the role. For what it’s worth, I’m not totally out on Bass yet and think he’ll be fine as long as he can start getting ahead of hitters. His slider is still a great pitch.

 

  • Greg Holland has also had some issues at the end of games for the Royals, who it appears have no set roles in their bullpen this season. I’m not entirely sure what is going on in this bullpen but I do know that if Holland isn’t the team’s closer, I’d rather chase more exciting options in SV+HLD leagues.
  • Four relievers were able to garner three saves or holds this past week; Mark Melancon, Alex Reyes, Pete Fairbanks, and Stefan Crichton. Crichton is an interesting one of note, as he may find himself closing out games with Joakim Soria on the IL and Chris Devenski to the injured list.

EDIT: Brad Hand was added to the list as he returns to the Nationals active roster today.

EDIT 4/10: Removed Chris Martin

 

Rank Pitcher Change
1Edwin DíazT1-
2Liam Hendriks-
3Josh Hader-
4Aroldis Chapman-
5Ryan Pressly
T2
+2
6Devin Williams-1
7Raisel Iglesias-1
8Will Smith+1
9Giovanny Gallegos+6
10Jordan Romano+1
11James Karinchak-3
12Drew Pomeranz-2
13Diego Castillo-
14Chad Green
T3
+4
15Tyler Duffey+1
16Héctor Neris+5
17Alex Reyes+8
18Amir Garrett-6
19Trevor May-2
20Tanner Rainey-
21Jake Diekman-7
22Julian Merryweather+71
23Kenley Jansen
T4
-
24Craig Kimbrel+20
25Aaron Bummer+1
26Scott Barlow+2
27Jake McGee+9
28Matt Barnes+17
29Emmanuel Clase+2
30Lucas Sims-
31Mike Mayers+1
32Brad Hand-8
33Taylor Rogers
T5
-11
34Mark Melancon+6
35Alex Colomé-2
36Blake Treinen-9
37Richard Rodríguez+2
38Emilio Pagan+13
39Daniel Bard+11
40Archie Bradley-2
41Adam Ottavino+5
42Victor Gonzalez
T6
+1
43Codi Heuer-8
44Rafael Montero+9
45Gregory Soto+4
46Jose Alvarado+13
47Tanner Scott-6
48Garrett Crochet+7
49Jordan Hicks+8
50Ian Kennedy+12
51Miguel Castro+7
52Nick Wittgren+2
53Rafael Dolis
T7
-19
54Wander Suero+2
55Yimi García+6
56Corey Knebel+38
57Hansel Robles+15
58Evan Marshall-6
59Stefan Crichton+1
60Anthony Bass-13
61César Valdez+UR
62A.J. Minter+7
63Andrew Chafin+10
64Greg Holland
T8
-16
65Brent Suter+11
66Tyler Rogers+5
67Sean Doolittle+28
68Daniel Hudson+17
69Lou Trivino+14
70Michael Kopech+10
71Josh Staumont-29
72Mychal Givens-2
73Justin Wilson+UR
74Kendall Graveman+UR
75Andrew Miller-9
76Keone Kela+13
77Kevin Ginkel+13
78J.B. Wendelken-13
79Tejay Antone
T9
-15
80Tyler Matzek+11
81Connor Brogdon-6
82Jesse Hahn-
83Austin Adams+UR
84Jonathan Loaisiga+UR
85Darren O’Day+1
86Robert Stephenson-19
87David Bednar+5
88Hirokazu Sawamura-11
89Jason Adam-5
90Reyes Moronta+6
91Sergio Romo-4
92J.P. Feyereisen+8
93Cody Stashak-25
94Dylan Floro+UR
95Aaron Slegers+UR
96Wade Davis+UR
97Ryne Stanek+UR
98Josh Sborz+1
99Richard Bleier+UR
100Garrett Whitlock+UR

 

Injured List

 

Photo by Cliff Welch/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.

  • Avatar Bbboston says:

    Thoughts on Collin McHugh?

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      He’s still likely best suited for mop up duty but given the Rays situation, he may be forced into some set up work. But even as a reliever his fastball velo has actually declined a bit somehow. There’s really not a whole lot to get excited about here.

  • Avatar Dave says:

    Rick, Connor Brogdon has 3 appearances, 3 wins, and 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IPs, yet he dropped 9 spots. I realize this list is for save/hold leagues, but aren’t those Ws also good and possibly an indication of future holds? Also, while his K/9 is currently only 7.36, it seems this is a SSS anomaly since he has averaged well over 10 K/9 in every stop throughout his short career, to include 13.5 K/9 in the majors last season (and his WHIP has also been outstanding at every stop). But, maybe I’m overreacting. Appreciate any thoughts you have on the subject. Thanks

    • Avatar Rick Graham says:

      Yea I never actually moved him, I just moved some players up the list but I do like Brogdon a lot. It’s just hard to find consistent SV+HD chances behind Neris, Bradley and Alvarado. He won’t be on pace for 3 wins every week but he could factor into a hold or two each week which certainly gives him value. If one of of those 3 were to go down with an injury or struggle, Brogdon will move up quickly.

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