2016 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Fantasy Baseball Holds Targets

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Middle relievers have long been forgotten in fantasy baseball because they don’t provide you Wins or Saves. Things are starting to change as more and more leagues have added Holds as a stat or combined Saves and Holds. I’ve stated this before, I love pitching and I especially love middle relievers. Middle relief has become so important in winning baseball games, that millions of dollars are being thrown and set up guys that can strand runners.

A hold is 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 (Baseball-reference.com). The players you want to target for holds will have a high K/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings) as well as a high LOB% (left on base %). By targeting these pitchers you will find pitchers who will provide you with strikeouts while maintaining a low ERA and WHIP. They could even provide you with an occasional win here and there.

Holds Targets


Tyler Clippard (WSH)

Credit: MudflapDC

Tyler Clippard led all of baseball with 40 holds in 2014 and has been one of the best relievers for holds over the 4 years. He is filling in as the Oakland A’s closer for the time being until Sean Doolittle returns. Let’s take a look at some other middle relievers that you should target if your league uses Holds as a pitching category.

Wade Davis (KC)-Davis became one of the most feared late inning relievers last year as he had an unbelievable year posting 33 holds in 71 appearances. He finished with an outstanding 1.00 ERA and had an 87.5% strand rate. Add in his 13.63 K/9 which was 6th in all of baseball with a minimum of 50 innings pitched and Davis helps make up the best bullpen in baseball. Holds Projections-34

Brad Boxberger (TB)-Will probably start as closer until Jake McGee returns from injury and if he returns to setup man, this is one of the guys you want. McGee posted a 2.37 ERA, 0.84 WHIP to go along with his 104 strikeouts in just 64 2/3 innings. Couple that with just 20 walks and you have one of the most dominant relievers in the game. His LOB% was over 90 and he finished 3rd in all of baseball in K/9 with 14. 47. Holds Projections-30

Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Tony Watson (PIT)-Watson finished second behind Clippard in Holds in 2014, finishing with 34. Manager Clint Hurdle trusted Watson in high leverage situations and it paid off with an 88.5 LOB %. Since the Pirates were a great comeback team last year, Watson finished with 10 wins, a stat most likely to not be repeated. But again, it shows the faith Hurdle has in the lefty Watson to keep his team’s lead or keep them in the game so they have a chance at a comeback. Holds Projections-30

Andrew Miller (NYY)-Miller finished 2nd to Aroldis Chapman in K/9 with an outstanding 14.87 rate. He was so sought after in 2014, that the Orioles traded their #3 prospect in a trade deadline deal last July. Miller’s move to the Yankees to setup new closer Dellin Betances should provide him with plenty of opportunities to be in high pressure situations, something that Miller thrives in. Miller finished with 22 Holds in 2014 and should increase that number in New York. Holds Projections-29

Brett Cecil/Aaron Sanchez (TOR)-Cecil finished 2014 with 24 holds and is competing with Sanchez to be the closer. Whoever doesn’t win the job will be asked to get the ball to the closer and the Jays look to be in line to win many games in 2015. Both pitchers can be dominant in the setup role. Look for Sanchez to win closer role and Cecil to be the 8th inning stud he can most certainly be. Holds Projections-27

Credit: John

Neil Ramirez (CHC) Ramirez is a sleeper here as he is only entering his 2nd season in the big leagues. He had a great rookie year where he struck out 53 hitters in only 43 innings. He only allowed 7 ER last year to post an outstanding 1.44 ERA. New manager Joe Maddon will fall in love with Ramirez, a great extra piece in the Matt Garza deal with Texas. It won’t take long before Ramirez is the go to pitcher in high leverage situations in Chicago. Holds projections-26

These are just a couple of the targets for holds this year. As the season progresses and managers figure out their bullpens, it will become clear who they relievers are that will have the chances to earn you the Holds you need. Take some late round fliers on these relievers and reap the benefits if you are in a league with Holds. If you’re league is looking to had another category, look no further than holds.

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About Scott McCloy

Scott considers himself a baseball addict, at least that is what is wife says. He has two children, a 6 yr old daughter, Addison and a 2 yr old son, Maddux. When not writing about fantasy baseball, Scott is a high school teacher and coaches high school football and baseball.

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