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Nick Mariano's Top 150 Saves+Holds Rankings for Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitchers

Andres Munoz fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers closers saves relief pitchers waiver wire

We continue our push into the future beyond traditional 5x5 rotisserie ranks that focus on closers alone. And this won't be it! Saves+Holds reliever ranks can be overlooked or left stale from an early offseason article, but I'll be here at least once a month to bring my leaderboard for the season. Allow me, Nick Mariano, to do my namesake proud (my middle name isn't Rivera, sorry) and bring you the breakdown about fantasy baseball bullpens.

While the closer's role is important, an increasing number of managers are moving their best arm into a flexible role while shuffling who gets the ninth. Saves+Holds (or Solds, or SV+HLD) leagues help fantasy leagues reward the best arms regardless of the inning, though it still favors closers in a vacuum. Be sure to also check out our constantly updated fantasy baseball closers and saves depth charts.

Reminder: A hold is recorded when a relief pitcher enters with a lead of three runs or less, or with the tying run on deck, at the plate, or on base, and maintains that lead while recording at least one out. Read on and you'll see where I rank each player, what tier they're in, as well as a smattering of analysis for each of the 10 tiers. And here is the top 150 table in an exportable, able-to-be-copied Google sheet if you like. While I look for pitchers used in high-leverage situations, this is also about how good the arm is and how efficient their K/9 works for many of you.


2023 Saves+Holds Rankings - Mixed Leagues

Be sure to also bookmark our main 2023 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's loaded up with tons of other great rankings including roto mixed leagues, H2H points leagues, AL/NL only leagues, prospect rankings and more.

Rankings as of March 17th


Rank Tier Player Team Lg Team
1 1 Emmanuel Clase CLE AL 1
2 1 Raisel Iglesias ATL NL 1
3 1 Devin Williams MIL NL 1
4 1 Andres Munoz SEA AL 2
5 1 Jhoan Duran MIN AL 2
6 2 Felix Bautista BAL AL 1
7 2 Jordan Romano TOR AL 1
8 2 Clay Holmes NYY AL 1
9 2 Ryan Helsley STL NL 1
10 2 Josh Hader SD NL 1
11 3 Pete Fairbanks TB AL 1
12 3 Jason Adam TB AL 2
13 3 Ryan Pressly HOU AL 1
14 3 Paul Sewald SEA AL 1
15 3 A.J. Minter ATL NL 2
16 3 Kenley Jansen BOS AL 1
17 3 Evan Phillips LAD NL 2
18 3 Camilo Doval SF NL 1
19 3 Alexis Diaz CIN NL 1
20 3 David Robertson NYM NL 1
21 3 Scott Barlow KC AL 1
22 3 David Bednar PIT NL 1
23 3 Seranthony Dominguez PHI NL 1
24 4 Alex Lange DET AL 1
25 4 Daniel Bard COL NL 1
26 4 Rafael Montero HOU AL 2
27 4 Trevor May OAK AL 1
28 4 Jose Leclerc TEX AL 1
29 4 Daniel Hudson LAD NL 1
30 4 Giovanny Gallegos STL NL 2
31 4 Jorge Lopez MIN AL 1
32 4 Carlos Estevez LAA AL 1
33 4 Jose Alvarado PHI NL 2
34 4 Joe Jimenez ATL NL 3
35 4 Taylor Rogers SF NL 2
36 4 Michael King NYY AL 3
37 4 James Karinchak CLE AL 2
38 5 Erik Swanson TOR AL 2
39 5 Adam Ottavino NYM NL 2
40 5 Reynaldo Lopez CWS AL 3
41 5 Trevor Stephan CLE AL 3
42 5 Dylan Floro MIA NL 1
43 5 Jimmy Herget LAA AL 2
44 5 John Schreiber BOS AL 2
45 5 Matt Bush MIL NL 2
46 5 Jonathan Loaisiga NYY AL 2
47 5 Kendall Graveman CWS AL 2
48 5 Bryan Abreu HOU AL 3
49 5 Chris Martin BOS AL 3
50 5 Craig Kimbrel PHI NL 3
51 5 Hector Neris HOU AL 4
52 6 Brad Boxberger CHC NL 3
53 6 Andrew Chafin ARI NL 1
54 6 A.J. Puk MIA NL 2
55 6 Luis Garcia (RP) SD NL 3
56 6 Cionel Perez BAL AL 3
57 6 Alex Vesia LAD NL 3
58 6 Brooks Raley NYM NL 3
59 6 Joe Mantiply ARI NL 2
60 6 Tommy Kahnle NYY AL 4
61 6 Kyle Finnegan WAS NL 1
62 6 Wandy Peralta NYY AL 5
63 6 Brandon Hughes CHC NL 1
64 6 Michael Fulmer CHC NL 2
65 6 Griffin Jax MIN AL 3
66 6 Aaron Bummer CWS AL 4
67 7 Garrett Cleavinger TB AL 4
68 7 Dany Jimenez OAK AL 2
69 7 Zach Jackson OAK AL 3
70 7 Ryan Tepera LAA AL 3
71 7 Jordan Hicks STL NL 4
72 7 Jonathan Hernandez TEX AL 2
73 7 Matt Moore LAA AL 4
74 7 Domingo Acevedo OAK AL 4
75 7 Brusdar Graterol LAD NL 4
76 7 Matt Brash SEA AL 4
77 7 Dylan Coleman KC AL 2
78 7 Collin McHugh ATL NL 4
79 7 Robert Suarez SD NL 2
80 7 Caleb Thielbar MIN AL 4
81 7 Matt Barnes MIA NL 3
82 7 Kevin Ginkel ARI NL 3
83 7 Tanner Scott MIA NL 4
84 7 Adbert Alzolay CHC NL 4
85 8 Robert Stephenson PIT NL 2
86 8 Jason Foley DET AL 2
87 8 Gregory Soto PHI NL 4
88 8 Diego Castillo (RP) SEA AL 3
89 8 Carl Edwards Jr. WAS NL 2
90 8 Jalen Beeks TB AL 3
91 8 Lucas Sims CIN NL 2
92 8 Andre Pallante STL NL 3
93 8 Brock Burke TEX AL 3
94 8 Yency Almonte LAD NL 5
95 8 Peter Strzelecki MIL NL 3
96 8 Jorge Alcala MIN AL 5
97 8 Ryne Stanek HOU AL 5
98 8 Yimi Garcia TOR AL 3
99 8 Adam Cimber TOR AL 4
100 8 Colin Poche TB AL 6
101 8 Aroldis Chapman KC AL 3
102 8 Drew Pomeranz SD NL 4
103 8 Hoby Milner MIL NL 4
104 9 Dillon Tate BAL AL 2
105 9 John Brebbia SF NL 3
106 9 Shawn Armstrong TB AL 5
107 9 Bryan Baker BAL AL 5
108 9 Sam Hentges CLE AL 4
109 9 Joe Barlow TEX AL 4
110 9 Lucas Luetge ATL NL 5
111 9 Ron Marinaccio NYY AL 7
112 9 Anthony Bass TOR AL 5
113 9 Joe Kelly CWS AL 5
114 10 Drew Smith NYM NL 4
115 10 Lou Trivino NYY AL 6
116 10 Wil Crowe PIT NL 3
117 10 Kirby Yates ATL NL 6
118 10 Scott McGough ARI NL 6
119 10 Mychal Givens BAL AL 4
120 10 Hunter Harvey WAS NL 3
121 10 Aaron Loup LAA AL 5
122 10 Miguel Castro ARI NL 4
123 10 Sam Moll OAK AL 5
124 10 Andrew Bellatti PHI NL 5
125 10 Penn Murfee SEA AL 5
126 10 Pierce Johnson COL NL 2
127 10 Joely Rodriguez BOS AL 5
128 10 Dinelson Lamet COL NL 3
129 10 Taylor Clarke KC AL 4
130 10 Tyler Rogers SF NL 4
131 10 Steven Wilson SD NL 5
132 10 Caleb Ferguson LAD NL 6
133 10 Jeremiah Estrada CHC NL 7
134 10 Tim Hill SD NL 6
135 10 Rowan Wick CHC NL 5
136 10 Phil Maton HOU AL 6
137 10 Genesis Cabrera STL NL 5
138 10 Tim Mayza TOR AL 6
139 10 Trevor Gott SEA AL 6
140 10 Julian Merryweather CHC NL 6
141 10 Matt Strahm PHI NL 6
142 10 Eli Morgan CLE AL 6
143 10 Connor Brogdon PHI NL 7
144 10 Emilio Pagan MIN AL 6
145 10 JT Chargois MIA NL 5
146 10 Steven Okert MIA NL 6
147 10 Will Vest DET AL 3
148 10 Nick Sandlin CLE AL 5
149 10 Jimmy Nelson LAD NL 7
150 10 Amir Garrett KC AL 5


Saves+Holds Rankings Analysis

While closers aren't everything with holds in the mix, they are still a more reliable source of end-game usage. In 2022, we had 10 relievers notch 30 or more saves while only one man eclipsed 30 holds. But this is a top-heavy resource, because only one save comes per game while multiple holds are possible. Only 18 relievers had 20 or more saves and 35 notched double-digits. There were 21 RPs with 20-plus holds, 53 with 15 or more, and 91 with at least 10. With all of this in mind, let's dig into some names!

-Edwin O. Diaz was the No. 1 option but is now out for the season. It's a crushing blow and we wish him the best in his recovery. It's terrible for the Mets and for those who drafted him already as an anchor. This format means you don't need to worry as much about choosing between David Robertson and Adam Ottavino and just target them both. I'd favor DRob. Brooks Raley moves up the chain as well.

-Andres Munoz and Jhoan Duran are the two most obvious risers in the Save+Hold format, but we still have to shout them out! Both of them boasted sub-1.00 WHIPs with highlight-reel pitches, but Munoz has the strikeout edge. In fact, the Mariner’s 38.7% strikeout rate ranked fourth among 152 qualified RPs, trailing only Diaz (50.2%), Devin Williams (40%), and Ryan Helsley (39.3%). Duran was “only” at 33.5%, and both had respectable 6% walk rates. Invest!

-Felix Bautista takes a slight ding due to beginning the season with some knee rehab question marks. For now, he seems alright, but you can’t sit there and click draft with 100% confidence.

-Pete Fairbanks is very relevant to the injury-risk conversation. The 29-year-old has only pitched 114 ⅓ IP over four MLB seasons, typically flashing incredible strikeout upside alongside high walks. He had a right rotator cuff injury early in the ‘21 season and then missed most of August with a right shoulder injury. Then he missed over three months in ‘22 with a hurt right lat muscle. He quietly left the brief Tampa postseason with finger numbness as well.

But we (generally) try not to be mystics when it comes to predicting injuries. And Fairbanks is worth considerable risk after 2022 when his usual 10-12% walk rate fell to 3.4%. His 0.86 FIP in 24 innings was the best in the majors (min. 20 IP), besting Diaz by a slim margin. If we get anywhere near a full season of in-control Fairbanks then we have a top-3 reliever. Jason Adam shouldn’t go far behind.

-A.J. Minter (and Joe Jimenez) benefit from playing for Atlanta, who generated 169 Sold opportunities in ‘22. That’s 14 more than anyone else. Expand that to the last two seasons and their lead grows to 29. Minter is in the top-15 conversation and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for slotting him into their top 10. Most haven’t fully internalized Jimenez as a Brave, but he’s likely the seventh-inning bridge to Minter. Enjoy!

-Michael King is buried in most ADP and/or rank columns due to his recovery from an elbow fracture suffered in late July. The Yanks had been using him for multi-inning, high-leverage spots, especially with Aroldis Chapman struggling.

He wound up with a 66/16 K/BB ratio over 51 frames, posting a 2.29 ERA (2.23 FIP) with 16 holds and a save. I’d expect a healthy avenue to 25-30+ Solds with excellent ratios, a stellar K/9, and a good chance at wins given the close spots he’s entrusted with.

-James Karinchak missed around the first three months of the 2022 campaign due to a shoulder strain but made up for lost time with volume. From July 4 on, Karinchak appeared in 38 games (Emmanuel Clase led with 41) and led all relievers with 62 strikeouts in that window. He also surrendered just two home runs, posting a 0.46 HR/9 after 2021’s frightful 1.46 mark. His teammate Trevor Stephan should not be far behind on Sold draft boards.

-Erik Swanson is another surging player in this format after being dealt to Toronto for eighth-inning duties. The right-hander didn’t get going as a starter but served Seattle well out of the ‘pen over the last two seasons. He truly hit another gear in ‘22, posting a 1.84 FIP that trailed only Diaz out of 152 qualified relievers. And that came with a top-12 strikeout rate as well. Don’t pigeonhole the 29-year-old either, as he held both left- and right-handed hitters down with a slugging percentage under .300 in ‘22.

-Bryan Abreu may not get as much love in the lobby after logging 10 Solds compared to 37 for Rafael Montero and 28 for Hector Neris, but don’t overlook him. He found another 1.6 mph on his four-seamer and threw more sliders in ‘22, leading to a top-10 finish in K% among qualified RPs.

The 25-year-old only allowed five barrels all year and tossed 11 ⅓ IP of scoreless ball with a 19/4 K/BB in the postseason. He’s a force even if stuck at fourth on the totem pole, but an injury or two could vault him toward the top.

-Garrett Cleavinger may not be a Swanson-level southpaw but he stepped up for Tampa Bay down the stretch. His quiet 18 ⅔ IP in the final month-plus of the season yielded a 2.41 ERA (1.77 FIP!) and 25/4 K/BB with just one home run allowed. He also struck out 6-of-8 batters faced in the playoffs, despite facing a Cleveland squad known for working counts.

Is a strong six-week run enough to vault him over Colin Poche as the go-to southpaw? Poche had four wins, seven saves, and 23 holds on the year despite a 1.69 HR/9 and a mediocre 17.1% K-BB rate. He hadn’t pitched since 2019 but consistently worked later in games that Tampa was winning. Will the roles flip in ‘23? I’d target Cleavinger first but don’t lose sight of Poche and Jalen Beeks.

**Other notable southpaws: Wandy Peralta (NYY), Alex Vesia (LAD), Aaron Bummer (CHW), Sam Hentges (CLE), Aroldis Chapman (KC), Caleb Thielbar (MIN), Matt Moore (LAA), Brock Burke (TEX), Hoby Milner (MIL), Taylor Rogers (SF)

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