We’ve been doing these updates for a while and every time there is new blood on the list. Last week it was Brian Duensing and Nick Masset, this week we have Clay Hensley and Ronald Belisario.
While many of these guys will continue to do well, it shouldn’t surprise you that some of them — Duensing and Masset, recently — do not return in the next update. There’s a lot of fluctuation, but there are a handful of setup men who have been on this list almost every time.
Those are the guys you want to own and not drop. But it doesn’t hurt to mix in some of the other guys for a quick boost. To reflect this we’ve included a new piece of bling to the rankings. Next to the score and previous ranking for some players you’ll find an MO. That reflects a must-own setup reliever. These are the players who have found themselves in the most holds update this season.
Setup men are ranked based on holds this season, in the last month and in the last week with another portion of the ranking going to overall performance (wins, Ks, ERA, etc.). The number next to the player’s name is their ranking score. Previous ranking in parentheses:
The top setup men in fantasy baseball
1. Daniel Bard, 13 (8) MO — Another new No. 1. Bard ranks high because he was tied for the holds lead in the last week with three. He’s also third on the season, third on the year and sixth in overall performance. He has holds in each of his last five appearances and has six holds, a save and a win in his last 10 games.
2. Arthur Rhodes, 26 (4) MO — Rhodes has been making his way up the rankings. He was disturbingly quiet this week, but he’s top three this season and in the last month and is in the top five in overall statistics. He still hasn’t given up a run since April 10.
3. Luke Gregerson, 28 (1) MO — Like Rhodes, he was quiet this week, but this information from a Yahoo Sports update should be all you need: “Gregerson has a 0.64 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings since he allowed three runs in his first appearance of the season. Since that opener, Gregerson has given up eight hits and one walk — and that was an intentional walk.”
4. Clay Hensley, 31 (NR) — It’s easy to jump up the rankings when you have the most holds in the last week and the third most in the last month. His overall statistics ranking is in the top 10. Hensley is the top setup man in Florida and if something happens to Leo Nunez, Hensley’s the replacement. Let’s not give him the MO yet, he’s allowed seven baserunners (five BBs) in his last three innings. He also struck out five over that stretch.
5. Scott Downs, 34 (7) MO — He’s given up three runs in his last five games, but was still among the league leaders in holds in the last week. He’s tied with Mike Adams for the most in the Major Leagues in 2010. Downs is not helping you in the other categories so much, but holds are holds.
6. Joba Chamberlain, 34 (13) MO — In the top 6 in 2010, in the last month and in the last week. Joba’s decimals have been scary bad, but he continues to get holds pitching in front of Mariano Rivera.
7. Matt Guerrier, 34 (15) MO — Found himself in the update top 7 twice now, including this week when he was among the league leaders. He is in the top 7 in holds in 2010 and eight in the last month. He has a 1.67 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He finished 2009 with a 0.97 WHIP and 33 holds.
8. Mike Adams, 38 (3) MO — Only teammate Gregerson and Rhodes have been on the update as regularly as Adams, who has only had one appearance since May 30. He struck out a batter in a scoreless inning against the Mets on June 2.
9. Hong-Chih Kuo, 40 (6) MO — Like a handful of guys on this list, Kuo had a slow week. However, only Adams had as many holds as Kuo in the last month. He hasn’t been scored upon since his first appearance of the season on April 22 and has 11 Ks in his last 5.2 innings.
10. Darren Oliver, 41 (NR) — Makes his first appearance on the list thanks to a great week, an awesome 33:7 K/BB, 1.59 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. He might get an MO next update.
11. Tyler Clippard, 43 (2) MO — Earned another win — he has eight wins! — but was missing in the holds department this week. Super prospect and closer-of-the-future Drew Storen took away the setup role for a game this week, but that’s not a bad thing. Clippard has two 2-inning outings in his last five. A little help in the ‘pen could keep Clippard from another stumble like he had mid-May.
12. Matt Thornton, 44 (NR) — Thornton’s not the closer, but could poach a few saves. He’s only recently (two of his four holds in the last week) started to turn up the holds juice, but he’s had at least 17 in four straight seasons and at least 20 in each of the last two. He also has a 35:5 K/BB. Still, until he gets consistent holds we can’t call him a must-own.
13. Ronald Belisario, 51 (NR) — Like Thornton, Belisario was among our setup men to watch in the last update. He didn’t disappoint. He’s had the third most holds in the majors in the last month and is 12th in 2010. Unfortunately, the solo homer he gave up in his last outing kept his ERA at an unacceptably high 5.75. He’s had four consecutive outings without a hold and is likely to have one of those decimal destroying games per week.
14. Chris Perez, 53 (NR) — Another setup pitcher to watch from the last update, Perez’s ERA took a turn for the worse after a two-homer, three-earned run outing on May 31. I hardily recommended him last update and I’m not about to give up on him for one disaster, but if it becomes a trend, we should all ignore him for a while. I still own him in a handful of leagues, even ones that don’t count holds.
15. Brandon Lyon, 53 (NR) — Lyon scares me. He had two saves in the last week and the 11th best total in the last month, but his ERA and WHIP are both higher than in 2009 — when he had 15 holds — and still below his career marks. He had a really lucky .229 BABIP in 2009. Lyon probably won’t be on this list next update.
Knocked out since the last update: Brad Zeigler (5), Brian Duensing (9), Joel Hanrahan (10), Nick Masset (11), David Robertson (12), Joe Beimel (14).
Some players to watch for the next update:
Frank Francisco — While as a closer his numbers were occasionally damaging, Francisco has been solid as a setup man. He has allowed no runs and just six hits in his last 12 innings. He struck out 21 over that stretch and had two holds in the last week.
Elmer Dessens — Earned a majors-leading three holds in the last week — all three in his last three appearances — which will earn you a spot on this list even if you’re a 39-year-old journeyman playing for a team like the Mets. Opponents are hitting .158 off him in five appearances. Dessens’ 0.53 WHIP and 1.59 ERA are uncharacteristic, but he does have 36 career holds and could be in line for a handful more in 2010.
Darren O’Day — He’s been on the almost-made-the-watch-list list a couple times, had two holds in the last week and is tied for 12th in the majors in 2010. He’s had two disastrous outings (two runs in less than an inning pitched in both cases) since May 22, but earned a hold in one of them and still has a respectable ERA (2.54) and WHIP (1.14).
Others to watch: Sean Marshall, Peter Moylan, Matt Belisle.
Finally, here are the relievers with most mentions in our holds updates in 2010:
- Luke Gregerson
- Arthur Rhodes
- Mike Adams
- Tyler Clippard
- Daniel Bard
- Hong Chih Kuo
- Scott Downs
- Joba Chamberlain
- Matt Guerrier
- Joel Hanrahan
Sorry for the ridiculously long update this week. Hopefully, most of you found the info you needed quickly. For those of you who read every word right down to this one: How often should this update run? Weekly seems a little too often. Every other week? Monthly? Also, I might add the consistency rankings (Chinstrap Ninjas update rankings score) into the ranking equation for next time. Good call? Bad call? Let us know in the comments.