Middle relievers and setup men are becoming increasingly important as more leagues factor in holds in their scoring formats. There are plenty of high-leverage relievers and pitchers in closer-by-committee situations that can provide reliable sources of saves and holds in 2023. We'll explore them here in the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Holds Targets.
A relief pitcher records a hold when he enters the game in a save situation and maintains his team's lead for the next relief pitcher while recording at least one out. According to MLB.com, one of two conditions must be met for a pitcher to record a hold: 1) He enters with a lead of three runs or less and maintains that lead while recording at least one out. 2) He enters the game with the tying run on deck, at the plate or on the bases, and records an out.
While you don't need to worry much about their ADPs - most valuable pitchers for holds won't cost much - you should seek out the guys who generate tons of whiffs and rack up strikeouts. It's a simple approach, but some of these pitchers can be critical to keeping your ERA and WHIP in check while adding a decent amount of Ks.
Here are some of the pitchers for holds for the 2023 season.
2023 Fantasy Baseball Holds Targets
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A.J. Minter, LHP, Atlanta Braves
Minter led MLB last season with 34 holds, and with Raisel Iglesias set to close games for the Braves in 2023, Minter will retain his high-leverage role for one of the best teams in baseball. His 2.13 SIERA in 2022 ranked seventh-lowest among all relievers.
He posted a 34.7% strikeout rate, besting both Kenley Jansen and Iglesias last season. Minter also only walked 15 batters. He's at the top of the 2023 ATC projections for holds at 22.
Andrés Muñoz, RHP, Seattle Mariners
If you paid any attention to baseball in 2022, you surely witnessed Muñoz emerge as a top reliever in the game.
Andrés Muñoz is so damn good.
Top-2% of pitchers in xERA, xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, Whiff, K, Chase
Slider: .126 BAA, .176 SLG, .160 wOBA, 50.8% Whiff, -20 RV (4th to Cease, Ohtani, & E. Diaz).
If he can approach or exceed 20 saves, he's a likely a top 5 RP in 2023.#FantasyBaseball pic.twitter.com/JzhPb8bp7p
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) February 7, 2023
Muñoz posted the second-highest CSW rat among relievers, only trailing Edwin Díaz. He'll help you in every category, and for now, he'll still be racking up holds as Paul Sewald closes games for the Mariners. Muñoz has a legitimate shot at 100 strikeouts this year.
Jhoan Duran, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Is he just going to throw harder every year? Duran topped out at 102.5 mph in his first spring training appearance. The slowest of his four fastballs came hit 101.4 mph.
It's the first full day of spring training games. You're a hitter looking to just get some easy swings in; warm up to it a little bit.
And then Jhoan Duran happens. pic.twitter.com/D7zHUkUzAR
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) February 25, 2023
Duran posted the third-lowest xFIP among relievers in 2022. He also had an impressive 36.1% CSW rate and 19.1% swinging strike rate. The Twins are still using a closer committee approach, so you'll get a bit of both with Duran. ATC projects Duran for 14 saves and 16 holds.
Jason Adam, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Part of another closer committee, Adam will compete with Pete Fairbanks for saves this year. But every projection system sees Adam gaining more holds in 2023.
Last year he posted an incredibly low 0.76 WHIP. His 1.56 ERA wasn't quite as good as it looked, but he did have the fourth-highest CSW rate among all relievers. Adam will keep your WHIP in check while adding a decent amount of strikeouts and double-digit holds.
Giovanny Gallegos, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals replaced him with Ryan Helsley as their closer last season, and he dominated with a 39.3% strikeout rate. Now ATC has Gallegos down for the second-most holds of all relievers for 2023.
He had a few outings get out of hand in 2022, but over the past three seasons, Gallegos finished with a WHIP under 0.90. The underlying metrics don't look much different, so expect him to continue to be a solid option for holds.
Other Names to Keep in Mind
- John Schreiber, RHP, Boston Red Sox: He recorded 22 holds last season and should continue to be a good source for this category in 2023. The Red Sox added Chris Martin to mix in with high-leverage situations, but Schreiber is still projected for double-digit holds.
- Adam Ottavino, RHP, New York Mets: Outside of the shortened 2020 season, Ottavino has been a reliable contributor for holds for several consecutive seasons across three teams. He'll be right ahead of Díaz again in 2023 on a team that could hit 100 wins.
- Rafael Montero, RHP, Houston Astros: Montero enjoyed the best season of his career in his first year with Houston. Coming off of a 23-hold campaign, he's in line to set up a healthy Ryan Pressly in 2023.
- James Karinchak and Trevor Stephan, RHPs, Cleveland Guardians: Karinchak posted the fifth-highest strikeout rate among relieves when Stephan finished 2022 with 19 holds and 82 strikeouts. They're both projected for double-digit holds in 2023.
Thanks for reading the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Holds Targets. Be prepared for your Baseball drafts by checking out all 2023 Fantasy Baseball content on Fantasy Six Pack.
In a 10- or 12-team league where Holds and Saves are equally weighted, you would draft as many holders and closers — maybe even 3-to-2 — so could we see a longer listing/deeper ranking?