As mentioned in the last setup men update, the holds category is a saga that needs regular updates throughout the season.
Only one of the top 10 from mid-April is back, Carlos Villanueva, and three of our expected risers made this list.
Top 10 Setup Men as of 5.5.10
1. Tyler Clippard — He was on the watch list of the last update and on the strength of a fantastic last week — four Ks and three holds in three innings pitched — Clippard is our top setup man. Clippard is owned in 53% of leagues — I trust you ninjas picked him up after the last update. He has six holds total, tying him for third in the league. He’s got a 0.50 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and a 11.50 K/9 on the season.
2. Daniel Bard — Let’s overlook the one-run blown save he had April 30 because of the way Bard mows down opposing lineups. He’s got 20 Ks this season to go along with his five holds. He’s got a 2.87 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and is available in 85% of Yahoo leagues.
3. Kevin Jepsen — It’s hard to argue against the league leader in holds being in the top three. He doesn’t get quite as many strikeouts as the guys above him, but the hold opps are coming in buckets. His 9.82 K/9 isn’t exactly awful either. He’s available in 91% of Yahoos.
4. Joel Zumaya — Since April 22, Zumaya has three of his four holds and 10 of his 16 strikeouts. Available in 80% of Yahoo leagues, Zumaya has a 1.23 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.
5. Luke Gregerson — Surprisingly available in 90% of Yahoo leagues, Gregerson isn’t striking out as many batters as the guys above him, but in three innings last week he notched three Ks and three holds.
6. Mike Adams — The Padres like to spread out the holds so it shouldn’t surprise to see two Padres next to each other. Adams had a bad outing, bloating his ERA up to 4.09. But he has six Ks and three holds in four innings pitched in the last week. He is owned in 33% of Yahoo leagues and is tied for third in the league with six holds. His 12.27 K rate is the highest in the top 10.
7. Carlos Villanueva — With only four holds it seems odd to have him this high, but the Brewers just haven’t provided many opportunities for holds over the last couple of weeks. If the stretch continues we’ve gotta slide Villanueva farther down this list. He’s owned in only 13% of Yahoo leagues. His 11.57 K rate earns him extra slack.
8. Arthur Rhodes — Available in 95% of Yahoo leagues, Rhodes has five holds and a 0.84 ERA this season. His WHIP is even more disturbingly low (0.47) and his K rate is 10.13. His ERA/ WHIP will correct into the low 2.00/1.00 range at some point, but he’s proven to be an effective setup man the last few years.
9. Fernando Nieve — Since April 20, Nieve has four holds and has dropped his ERA from 4.82 to 2.81. He hasn’t give up a run since April 16 and hasn’t allowed a baserunner since April 27. Nieve is available in 98% of Yahoo leagues. His K rate has plus potential too.
10. LaTroy Hawkins — Speaking of K rate, Hawkins has kept his up despite his struggles before the last update. Since his mid-April disaster, however, he has pitched five innings, allowed three hits, one run, one walk and struck out five while logging two holds. He’s available in 93% of Yahoo leagues and is one of the frontrunners to replace Trevor Hoffman if he loses his job.
Some other players to note:
As the No. 10 in the last update, I was surprised Scott Downs was as owned as he was. Since then he’s dropped to 19.8 percent and has been really shaky. He has six holds and only a 5.86 K/9.
You should also avoid Daniel Ray Herrera. He’s available in 99% of Yahoo leagues for a reason. His 3.86 ERA and 2.14 WHIP don’t seem that far off. He’s better than the 3.86 K/9 he’s shown so far, but not by enough to get excited.
Our list of new blood ready to break into the top 10 this week — previous listers are likely to return before the season is over — is a little smaller, but here are three players worth monitoring/owning in hold situations over the next week:
Sergio Romo — Has a K/inning and has allowed just one earned run since mid-April. He had 11 holds last season and could easily double that if he keeps up his hot start. Romo is available in 97% of Yahoo leagues.
Joba Chamberlain — OK, he’s not a new commodity, but we haven’t brought Chamberlain into the discussion here yet. In almost every save opportunity for Mariano Rivera is a hold opportunity for his setup man, Chamberlain. It’s surprising his K rate is only 8.74. He’s available in 71% of Yahoo leagues.
Randy Choate — He’s not owned in any Yahoo leagues, but Randy Choate had a pretty good last week. He struck out three in 3.2 innings and logged two holds. His K/9 isn’t exciting. His ERA (8.22) and WHIP (1.43) look ridiculous after an awful start to the season, but he’s got things under control since mid-April. Choate has three holds and has given up one hit and no earned runs in 5.1 innings since April 16.