It’s been quite a while since we’ve holds updated ’round these parts.
Last time we spoke, it was all about how a certain few players had a stranglehold at the top of the rankings. Times have changed in three weeks. Oh, you’ll still see some familiar faces, but the holds landscape is very different.
We’re talking J.J. Putz at the top and Jose Veras makes an appearance kind of different.
Just like in previous updates, the ranking score is a completely unscientific score that factors in overall performance and holds success over the season, last month and week. Ranking last update is also included. If a player has an MO it means they are a must-own reliever and have scored highly in several updates.
The top 15 setup men
1. J.J. Putz (Score: 26, Previous: N/A) — In the last update, Putz was a setup man to watch and he’s lived up to the billing so far. He was the most effective setup man on this list overall, had the most saves in the last week and is in the top 10 in the last month. Let’s not call him a must-own yet, but if he returns to this list he’ll be close.
2. Sean Marshall, MO (Score: 27, Previous: N/A) — A couple top 10 ranking scores have pushed Marshall into MO territory. He makes the No. 2 spot in this update because he was tied for tops in the majors in the last week and tied for third in the last month in holds. He was the seventh best in overall performance as well.
3. Jonny Venters (Score: 27, Previous: 9) — Venters made his debut in the rankings in the last update mostly because of his overall performance. He’s still the third best in that ranking, but also scored highly in the last week and is tied for third in the last month in holds. Like Putz, it won’t take long for Venters to get an MO if he keeps this up.
4. Matt Thornton (Score: 34, Previous: N/A) — One of the relievers we expected to be near the top in holds all season, Thornton is finally living up to that expectation. He is tied for first in the last week and third in the last month in holds.
5. Scott Downs, MO (Score: 38, Previous: N/A) — Six times this season Downs’ name has appeared in these rankings. He can be unreliable but was the ninth setup man in overall performance in the last month. He’s tied for fourth this season in holds and was in the top 10 in the last week and the last month.
6. Jose Veras (Score: 38, Previous: N/A) — Another one of the surprises on this list, Veras has been impressing in the last week and is the fourth-best reliever in overall performance in the last month. If he can keep up that kind of play, he’ll be back on the update and will get my approval. I wouldn’t drop a Mike Adams or Joba Chamberlain — who did not have high enough scores to rank in the top 15 this update — to add him, but his effectiveness will help your team if you have the roster flexibility.
7. Clay Hensley (Score: 42, Previous: N/A) — A lot of Previous: N/As here, but Hensley is no stranger to these rankings. He ranked fourth a little while back and is racking up the holds currently. He’s also tied for 12th in holds this season and can be a K machine. Hensley sets’em up, Nunez finishes’em off. That’s a good 1-2 punch for the Marlins.
8. Kameron Loe (Score: 44, Previous: 8) — We announced his rise in the headline of the last update and he’s kept pace. Loe is tied for the most holds in the last week and the last month. He should be rostered in all leagues that count holds.
9. Rafael Betancourt (Score: 46, Previous: N/A) — In the first holds update of 2010, Betancourt was seventh. We haven’t seen him since, but he’s quietly made his way into the top 12 in holds this season and had two in the last week, tying him for fifth best. Betancourt is not a must-add, but he has a 10+ K/9 and should be on your radar.
10. Joel Hanrahan (Score: 46, Previous: N/A) — We’re putting the old gang back together. Hanrahan has been in the update’s top 11 five times. Another appearance and he’ll likely get that blue badge of consistency. He has a 12.39 K/9.
11. Matt Belisle (Score: 48, Previous: N/A) — Another brand new name, however, Belisle’s been on the bubble a couple times. He scored well in overall performance and was tied for the eighth-most holds in the last month.
12. Fernando Rodney, MO (Score: 50, Previous: 6) — Finally, another recognizable name. Rodney had six holds in the last month, tying him for eighth place. He’s scored high enough to rank in the last three consecutive updates.
13. Luke Gregerson, MO (Score: 53, Previous: 1) — There were probably some of you wondering “Where’s Gregerson?” Here he is. He had two holds in the last week, tying him for fifth-place. Without that he wouldn’t have made the list. I’m still giving him an MO because I’m not dropping him, especially with MLB holds leader — and Gregerson teammate — Mike Adams on the disabled list.
14. Joe Beimel (Score: 57, Previous: N/A) — Beimel’s made a couple updates now and is among the top 10 in season holds and tied for second-most in the last month. Beimel/Betancourt are looking like the new Gregerson/Adams. At least for right now.
15. Arthur Rhodes, MO (Score: 58, Previous: 10)– Rhodes has three holds and a loss in July. He actually showed his human side and gave up some runs in the last 30 days. He has gone from ninth to 10th to 15th in the last three updates because the holds just haven’t been coming. However, he had two in the last week, tying him for fifth place.
Normally discussion after the top 15 turns to potential newcomers for the next update (like Zack Braddock, Todd Coffey, Evan Meek, etc.), but there is enough new blood on the actual list. It’s more beneficial to discuss some of the players who were knocked out. I’ve included the ranking score — in many cases the big names from past updates were edged out of the top 15 by a point or two.
Mike Adams (Score: 62, Previous: 3)– Third last update, Adams is on the DL. He is eligible to return July 27 but could be at least another week. Despite missing time, he still had a top-15 holds total for the month. Maybe someone foolishly dropped him. Add and stash on the DL if you have the opportunity.
Daniel Bard (Score 59, Previous: 2) — Bard has been ranked first, second (twice) and been in the top 10 five times. I don’t own him in any leagues, but the fact he hasn’t been as productive in the last month isn’t enough to scare me away yet. He still had a 0.00 ERA, a 0.69 WHIP and a 9+ K/9 over that stretch. Don’t drop him for any of the setup men in the top 15.
Tyler Clippard (Score: 75, Previous: 4) — Has more losses (2) than holds since June 27. He has an 8.25 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP in the last month. He’s still owned in more than half of all fantasy leagues — how many of those teams are abandoned? If he doesn’t get settled, Clippard should be dropped.
Brandon Lyon (Score: 68, Previous: 5) — Reread what I said about Clippard while replacing “Clippard” with “Lyon” and changing the losses to three.
Hong-Chih Kuo (Score: 64, Previous: 7) — He had a hold in his last outing, which is the only thing keeping him on my roster. He has been very effective as a pitcher but hasn’t been very productive on the holds front for a while.
Joba Chamberlain (Score: 72, Previous: 13) — His ERA has gone up almost half a run in the last month while he’s recorded three holds, two blown saves and a loss. He’s 1-4 on the year with a 1.56 WHIP and is a shaky play in fantasy. I wouldn’t drop him but I wouldn’t be starting him every day/week at this point either.
Kyle McClellan (Score: 65, Previous: 12) — One of the more effective relievers in the last month, McClellan just didn’t get a lot of holds to match. He sports a 1.89 ERA and an 0.97 WHIP this season. Don’t hold onto McClellan as tightly as Joba, Bard or Adams, but don’t be surprised to see him back among the top 15 next update.
Others knocked out: Pedro Feliciano (11) , Brandon League (14), Kevin Jepsen (15).