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2011 Holds Rankings Updates: July

Last week we updated the closer rankings, so now let’s update the guys setting them up. Here are our June holds rankings, we can take you back to previous months. Here’s the holds leaderboard for reference as well.

Tier One
Tyler Clippard
Jonny Venters
Mike Adams
Daniel Bard
Rafael Betancourt
Aroldis Chapman

Nothing shocking here. Bard shook off some early season struggles and has been untouchable for about a month and a half now. Venters’ workload (51 appearances and 55.1 IP) is a very real issue that has drawn quite a bit of attention recently, but keep in mind that Clippard isn’t all that far behind him (41 appearances and 51.1 IP). Chapman has been phenomenal since coming off the disabled list (two hits, two walks, 17 strikeouts, 28 batters faced), so it’s good to see him put the ugliness of May behind him.

Tier Two
Francisco Rodriguez
Sean Marshall
David Robertson
Sergio Romo
Jose Veras
Grant Balfour

I really wish Bruce Bochy would use Romo a little more. The dude has racked up 1.2 WAR in 29.1 IP thanks to 13.19 K/9 and 0.92 uIBB/9. Play the man! Robertson and Veras pile up the strikeouts and holds, but both are prone to ball four and that limits their value a bit. K-Rod is the late add here, obviously. We’ve seen some closers struggle when suddenly shifted into a setup role, and that little bit of uncertainty is why he’s just outside the top tier.

Tier Three
Tony Sipp
Eric O’Flaherty
Scott Downs
Jason Isringhausen / Bobby Parnell
Joaquin Benoit
Jesse Crain
Glen Perkins
Jim Johnson
Kerry Wood
Kameron Loe

Downs has been on a crazy good run since getting healthy, putting up zero and zero and raising his strikeout rate from microscopic to respectable (6.07 K/9). Perkins has also been fantastic out of Minnesota’s bullpen, and a case can be made that he should be closing over the flammable Matt Capps. I think Izzy will get save opps for the Mets, at least in the immediate future, though it wouldn’t be surprise if Parnell inherited the ninth inning. Either way, one of the two is now in line for the serious setup time.

Tier Four
Matt Reynolds
Vinnie Pestano
Joel Peralta
Luke Gregerson
Matt Lindstrom
Javier Lopez
Darren Oliver
Chris Sale
Koji Uehara
Jeremy Affeldt
Jamey Wright
Randy Choate
Mike Dunn
Hong-Chih Kuo

The LOOGYs are always tough to rank. Lopez has inexplicably seen more playing time than Romo, and Choate has been phenomenal. Nothing like a one-batter hold. Pestano’s been excellent all season (2.57 FIP), as has Reynolds (3.37 FIP), and both are seeing more and more high-leverage innings as the season has progressed. Something’s wrong with Gregerson, who’s strikeout rate has gone from 10+ K/9 to just 5.23 this year. His ERA (2.61) and FIP (2.89) are still outstanding because his walk (1.16 uIBB/9) and homerun (0.29 HR/9) rates are stellar, but the strikeouts are what made him one of the game’s elite relievers.

Hurt/In The Minors
Rafael Soriano
Eduardo Sanchez
Joba Chamberlain
Clay Hensley
Evan Meek
Fernando Rodney
Jose Contreras

Apparently Hensley is being stretch back out in the minors, and the team plans to use him as its fifth starter once he’s off the disabled list. He’s never really had any sustained success in that role at the big league level before, so we’ll see how that goes before dropping him off the rankings entirely. Soriano and Sanchez should be back later this month, though Chamberlain is definitely done for the season and there’s a chance Contreras is as well.