Today we will take a look at the pitchers to target in your holds league. Now that football season is over, spring training is in full swing. For many, it has been a long off-season for their teams. Soon, it will be a long and arduous grind through the baseball season.
While most people play in leagues that do not value relief pitchers as much, I play in leagues that count holds as a category.
For those that do not know, holds are granted to a relief pitcher who enters a game with his team in the lead in a save situation, and hands over that lead to another reliever without the score having been tied in the interim.
Many teams are building their bullpens that can shorten games for their starters for a variety of reasons. Where it used to be you would see as many pitches as possible to eat into a team’s bullpen, like in Moneyball. Now, these bullpens are trotting out specialists firing upper 90 MPH fastballs and ridiculous sliders that give the team in the lead a distinct advantage.
What this article will highlight are the best options for each team to get holds for your team. These are not ranked for the setup men that could become closer, which is not what we are going for in this piece. Here is the list of pitchers to target in your fantasy league.
Pitchers To Target In Your Holds League
Hold It Now, Hit It!
The Elite Tier
Dellin Betances/Tyler Clippard, RP, New York Yankees
Tyler Thornberg/Matt Barnes, RP, Boston Red Sox
Andrew Miller/Brian Shaw, RP, Cleveland Indians
Sergio Romo/Pedro Baez, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Hector Rondon/Pedro Strop, RP, Chicago Cubs
Brad Brach/Darren O’Day, RP, Baltimore Orioles
This tier of players has an established closer on the team that, unless an injury occurs, will be in the seventh and eighth inning roles on their teams. The one exception is the Indians. Cody Allen isn’t the top closer some of the others are, but Terry Francona has showed he will use Miller in the higher leverage situations earlier in the game. These guys should be on teams that are getting a lot of wins and thus should give ample opportunity to rack up the holds. These guys also bring with them elite ratios that help in many other categories for your team.
The Next Best Tier
Jason Grilli/Joe Biagini, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
Blake Treinen/Koda Glover/Trevor Gott, RP, Washington Nationals
Kevin Siegrist/Trevor Rosenthal, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Bush/Jeremy Jeffress, RP, Texas Rangers
Hunter Strickland/Will Smith/Derek Law, RP, San Francisco Giants
Justin Wilson/Bruce Rondon, RP, Detroit Tigers
Joakim Soria/Matt Strahm, RP, Kansas City Royals
Luke Gregerson/Will Harris, RP, Houston Astros
Steve Cishek/Nick Vincent/Marc Rzepczynski, RP, Seattle Mariners
Brad Ziegler/Kyle Barraclough, RP, Miami Marlins
This tier has teams that should get a lot of wins, but a couple of the teams will use multiple guys in the setup roles. The Nationals have the most questions in this group. Who could take over for Shawn Kelley if he falters? Will they try and trade for a closer at the deadline? The Nationals were already linked to the White Sox for David Robertson during the winter meetings. But after the complete fleecing Rick Hanh did in the Adam Eaton trade, they should look elsewhere to find a closer. Maybe the Royals become sellers at the deadline and vaults Soria into the closer role and Strahm into the premiere setup situation.
The Questionable Tier
Brad Boxberger/Xavier Cedeno, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Arodys Vizcaino/Mauricio Cabrera, RP, Atlanta Braves
Fernando Salas/Hansel Robles/Jerry Blevins, RP, New York Mets
Corey Knebel/Carlos Torres, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
Daniel Hudson/Felipe Rivero, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Greg Holland/Jake McGee, RP, Colorado Rockies
These guys are on teams where they have a closer, but either that closer may not hold onto the job, or in Tampa Bay and Atlanta’s case, the closer could be traded. The Mets have a unique situation. Familia is suspended for the beginning of the season, which puts Addison Reed firmly in the Closer role. Will they leave Reed as the closer once Familia comes back? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Volatile Tier
Nate Jones/Dan Jennings, RP, Chicago White Sox
Ryan Pressly/Trevor May, RP, Minnesota Twins
Carter Capps/Kevin Quackenbush, RP, San Diego Padres
Cam Bedrosian/Andrew Bailey, RP, Los Angeles Angels
Santiago Casilla/Sean Doolittle, RP, Oakland Athletics
Hector Neris/Jeanmar Gomez/Pat Neshek, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
Drew Storen/Michael Lorenzen/Tony Cingrani, RP, Cincinnati Reds
Jake Barrett/Randall Delgado, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
This tier is a crap shoot. Either the incumbent closer could be traded to a contender, or they will be mired in a committee situation until someone emerges later in the season. The other problem is these teams are not going to win many games. In the Padres situation, once Carter Capps comes back, he will challenge Brandon Maurer for the closer role. This group of players will need to be monitored during spring training to see how these situations shake out.
So there you have it, the tiers of pitchers to target for holds in your Fantasy Baseball draft. I highly recommend if you do not currently have holds as a category in your league, add it. It will make everyone in your league be more well-rounded having to know more players and situations that can impact the outcome of your Fantasy league.
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