Koda Glover on the inside track in Washington

March 22, 2017

Washington Nationals — Opening Day is just 12 days away, but Dusty Baker claims to have given no thought whatsoever to who will be closing for Washington. With most of the Nats’ big relievers pitching in minor league games, Koda Glover has been getting the bulk of the ninth innings for the big club — and Jon Heyman has reported that Shawn Kelley is no longer a candidate to close. Glover turns 24 next month, creating some concern about whether he can handle the role, but we think that Baker’s confidence in Glover’s skills (“We like us some Koda. Big time.”) and the manager’s preference for settled bullpen roles gives the youngster the advantage over Blake Treinen. Meanwhile, Joe Nathan’s strong spring might not be enough to allow him to survive Friday’s opt-out date on his contract.

Updated hierarchy: *Glover | Treinen | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

Colorado Rockies — Greg Holland has looked healthy so far in his spring training appearances, and local reporters seem confident that he will start the season as the closer, moving Adam Ottavino into an eighth-inning role.

Updated hierarchy: Holland | Ottavino | McGee.

Cincinnati Reds — Presumed committee head Raisel Iglesias was scratched from a Saturday appearance with back problems and a stiff elbow. Bryan Price claims that the issues are minor, but any missed time for Iglesias will be a boon for Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen, and Tony Cingrani.

Hierarchy remains: *Iglesias | Storen | Lorenzen.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants — Those considering Will Smith as a source of holds will need to go elsewhere; Smith might need Tommy John surgery to repair a sprained UCL.

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Strickland | Law.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated


* = closer-by-committee


Top Middle Relievers 2017 – Holds Edition

Predicting hold candidates is difficult because hold opportunities are largely a function of team success. Teams that have late leads can generate multiple holds per game, and dominant LOOGYs can rack up holds in a hurry. Further complicating things is the growing trend for managers to (correctly!) use their best arms in the biggest spots of the game, be it in the 7th inning or 9th (Hi, Tito!)

We aren’t assigning numerical values to players within tiers, as these would differ depending on whether your league is saves+holds league, straight-up holds, or a (SV+H)-BS league, so please factor your league rules in accordingly. You also may see several players from the same team in the same tier, where spring training battles will determine who wins the 8th inning going into the season (O’Day vs Brach, etc.)

All those disclaimers aside, here are your tiered holds rankings for 2017.

Tier 1
Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians
Dellin Betances, New York Yankees
Addison Reed, New York Mets
Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs
*Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels
-Likely to start season as closer; watch Andrew Bailey if Huston Street misses extended time.

Tier 2
Tyler Thornburg, Boston Red Sox
Matt Bush, Texas Rangers
Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox
Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves
Sergio Romo, Los Angeles Dodgers
Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies

Tier 3
Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers
Brad Ziegler, Miami Marlins
Kevin Siegrist, St. Louis Cardinals
Greg Holland, Colorado Rockies
Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs
Brad Brach, Baltimore Orioles
Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles
Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals
Luke Gregerson, Houston Astros
Blake Treinen, Washington Nationals

Tier 4
Carter Capps, San Diego Padres
Ryan Buchter, San Diego Padres
Steve Cishek, Seattle Mariners
Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s
Fernando Salas, New York Mets
Tyler Clippard, New York Yankees
Hunter Strickland, San Francisco Giants
Jason Grilli, Toronto Blue Jays
Joe Smith, Toronto Blue Jays
Brad Boxberger, Tampa Bay Rays