There has been some interesting change atop the setup men rankings since the last holds update on July 21. Three of the top five players from last update have been knocked off the list and nine of the top 15 were not invited back.
Jonny Venters has moved into must-own territory and guys like Brandon League and Kameron Loe were crushing it in holds last week.
So where do all of those players stand in the hierarchy of the top setup men in baseball?
Let’s use a completely unscientific formula, which factors in holds accumulated over different time periods — this update, a last-14-days ranking was added to the equation. A lesser weight is given to recent overall performance. OK, it’s kinda scientific.
Top 15 setup men in fantasy baseball
An MO denotes a must-own player. Rankings were based on statistics at noon on Saturday, Aug. 14.
1. Luke Gregerson, MO (Score: 24, previous rank: 13) — Gregerson has been in the top five in seven of the nine holds updates done this season because of performances like he’s shown recently. Gregerson recorded the most holds in the last week, tied with Venters for the most in the last two weeks and tied with Joaquin Benoit for tops in the last month.
2. Jonny Venters, MO (Score: 25, previous rank: 3) — It’s hard to argue against this ranking for Venters. He has the most holds in the last two weeks, the third most in the last month and he’s the second most effective reliever on this list in overall performance. With consecutive top three finishes, he has vaulted into must-own territory. Venters is available in 88% of Yahoo leagues.
3. Mike Adams, MO (Score: 32, previous rank: N/A) — Hasn’t skipped a beat since returning from the disabled list. He scored three holds in the last seven days, tying him for first. They were his only holds in the last month, but it’s still good enough to place him in a tie for eighth. He trails only Gregerson in holds this season and, holds aside, was a far more productive fantasy pitcher than Gregerson in the last 14 days.
4. Fernando Rodney, MO (Score: 36, previous rank: 12) — Rodney ranks in the top six in every holds category used in the formula (season, month, two weeks, week) and was 18th best in overall performance.
5. (tie) Matt Thornton (Score: 38, previous: 4) — Thornton has consecutive top five rankings and was the sixth most effective reliever on this list in the last 13 days. He also ranks in the top five in holds over the last 14 days and the last month.
5. (tie) Matt Guerrier (Score: 38, previous: N/A) — Guerrier has three top seven finishes this season and earned this one by being first in holds in the last week and tying for eighth in the last 30 days. He’s available in 87% of Yahoo leagues.
7. Kameron Loe, MO (Score: 41, previous rank: 8) — Gains must-own status with his third consecutive finish in the top eight. Loe had the most holds in baseball in the last seven days, third most in the last two weeks and his eight in the last 30 days places him fourth. He is available in 99% of Yahoo leagues and needs to be owned in more.
8. Ryan Madson (Score: 42, previous rank: N/A) — Every indication points to him getting to must-own status before the season is over. Madson was the most effective reliever in overall performance this update and was among league leaders in holds this week and in the last two weeks.
9. Joe Smith (Score: 45, previous rank: N/A) — Smith has 12 holds in 26 appearances this season but has half those holds in the last 30 days. He also had four in the last two weeks and was the fifth most effective reliever in overall performance over the last 14 days. Smith is available in 100% of Yahoo leagues.
10. Brandon League (Score: 46, previous rank: N/A) — In leagues where holds are a thing, Brandon League has turned into a good option. He’s tied for first in holds in the last week and tied for third in the last 14 days. He’s also been among the more effective of the relievers on this list. He’s owned in just 3% of Yahoo leagues.
11. Joaquin Benoit (Score: 49, previous rank: N/A) — Has announced his presence with authority recently by dominating the the holds category. He is tied for the most holds in the last month and among the league leaders in the last week and the last 14 days. He’s not getting the MO stamp of approval, but Benoit’s already owned in 12% of Yahoo leagues and should be owned in most leagues that reward for holds.
12. Blake Wood (Score: 50, previous rank: N/A) — He’s no sure thing, but any owner looking to own the next big holds collector might want to take a chance on Wood. The Royals reliever is available in all Yahoo leagues. Wood is tied for fourth in holds the last seven days and is sixth in the last 14 days. He’s also in the top-10 in the overall performance category.
13. Sean White (Score: 54, previous rank: N/A) — White’s two holds in the last week and overall performance (ranked third) pushed him onto the rankings. He’s not a top free agent add because he doesn’t rank in any other categories and is competing with League for holds in Seattle. He is available in all Yahoo leagues.
14. (tie) Clay Hensley (Score: 59, previous rank: 7) — Hensley is on the wire in 97% of Yahoo leagues and was the fourth best fantasy reliever on this list in the last two weeks. He doesn’t rank among the league leaders in holds over that same time, but does have six in the last 30 days, tying him for sixth in baseball.
14. (tie) Chris Resop (Score: 59, previous rank: N/A) — Like White, Resop made it on this ist because of his two holds in the last seven days, that tie him for fourth in the majors, and his overall performance, which ranks him seventh out of the 30 setup men reviewed. Resop has had his struggles, but has been very effective while sporting a nice K rate in the last month. He’s available in 100% of Yahoo leagues, but don’t get too excited because he plays for the Pirates who likely won’t produce a lot of holds opportunities for him.
Some other noteable names outside of the top 15:
Scott Downs — His holds have fallen off recently — he doesn’t rank in the top 15 in the last week or in the top 17 in the last 14 days — but his overall numbers are still good and he was among the top 10 in holds in the last 30 days.
Joba Chamberlain — The hold opportunities just haven’t been there for Joba of late, but he has pitched effectively. He ranks 12th this update and has lowered his ERA by almost a full run since July 25.
Like Downs and Chamberlain, the following closers were knocked out of the rankings, but are not must-drop players: Daniel Bard, Hong-Chih Kuo.
Zach Braddock (Score: 51, previous rank: N/A) — Ranked among the league leaders in holds over the last week and the last 14 days. He could potentially take your WHIP for a roller coaster ride — he’s allowed three hits and/or walks per inning pitched over the last 13 days — but has been getting holds and has a high K rate. Braddock is available in 100% of Yahoo leagues. That WHIP scares me enough that I’d recommend staying away from him at this point unless you’re desperate or are in an NL-only league.
The following relievers were among the leaders in holds in the last week and are worth monitoring along with Braddock: Hisanori Takahashi, Ryan Perry.