2011 Player Rankings: Holds

Earlier this month we ranked relievers with a heavy emphasis on saves, since that’s their primary role on a fantasy team. Lots of leagues use holds as well, so here’s a ranking of the top fantasy options for holds going into 2011…

Tier One
Aroldis Chapman
Rafael Soriano
Luke Gregerson
Jonny Venters

The cream of the crop. These four won’t just give you holds, they’ve also give you a ton of strikeouts as well as low ERA’s and WHIP’s. Gregerson set the single-season holds record last year (40), and he should approach that total again assuming his arm doesn’t explode from throwing 58% sliders again.

Tier Two
Hong-Chih Kuo
Daniel Bard
Mike Adams
Rafael Betancourt
Chris Sale
Grant Balfour
Ryan Madson

More high strikeout, low ERA and WHIP guys, but this group carries just slightly more risk.

Tier Three
Sean Marshall
Brandon League
Evan Meek
Joaquin Benoit
Arthur Rhodes
Jason Motte
Tyler Clippard
Sergio Romo

League and Romo will see some save opportunities early in the season given the injuries to David Aardsma and Brian Wilson, but they’re expected to resume setup duties once those two return to action. Meek and Clippard have a chance to close should things break right this summer.

Tier Four
Matt Capps
Wilton Lopez
Alexi Ogando
Scott Downs
Kerry Wood
Koji Uehara
Takashi Saito

Downs is doing to start the year on the disabled list because of a broken toe, and Uehara could end up closing games in Baltimore as soon as Opening Day.

Tier Five
Joe Thatcher
Jordan Walden
Nick Masset
Kevin Gregg
Pedro Feliciano
Kevin Jepsen
Sean Burnett
Mike Gonzalez
Bobby Jenks
Clay Hensley
Michael Wuertz
Randy Choate

The top of the holds leaderboard is heavily populated by lefty specialists every season, but they bring little else to the table fantasy-wise.

Tier Six
Zach Braddock
Matt Belisle
Rafael Perez
Kenley Jansen
Andrew Cashner
Joba Chamberlain
Jake McGee
Javier Lopez
Octavio Dotel
Jon Rauch
Sergio Santos
Joel Peralta
Ryan Perry
Bobby Parnell
Peter Moylan
Matt Guerrier
David Hernandez
Jeremy Jeffress
Robinson Tejeda
Edward Mujica
Juan Gutierrez

Frankly, this last tier could go on and on. The last 20-30 names on this list are highly interchangeable in my eyes, especially given the volatility of relievers.

* * *

Unlike our other positional rankings, this isn’t a consensus list with input from all the RotoGraphers. It’s my personal list, so I encourage discussion in the comments if you feel I missed someone obvious or you feel someone is ranked too high or low, especially towards the top of the rankings.

Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb

Kenley Jansen and Jordan Walden will close by June.

O's fan
O's fan

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same with Jake Mcgee.


Yeah, Tier Six is surprising for Jansen, considering that his K/9 is 28 (approximately) and the Dodgers probably see him as their future closer, if only because he fits the type. Yes, Kuo is also awesome and has seniority, but will Jansen not get holds as well? I’ve never played in a league that had them, so I’ve never learned what kind of pitcher makes for a reliable source.


How is a 28 K/9 possible? There are only 27 outs in 9 innings…