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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

The stat is basically evolving as a usage thing in real life baseball.  So that means from the standpoint of fantasy that the abundance of the stat is still there.  The only bad relationship between the stat now and say 2007 is that the percentage of save chances (which are holds chances with fancy words) and there relative conversion are basically holding steady at a 52-54% conversion of all chances.  Now for the good thing, in that same ten year period the amount of chances has increased by over 250, from 2198 in 2007 to 4454 in 2017.  More of them, just more diversified. The hold game, and the save game for that matter has become a specialized mechanism for a good team.  A strategic building tool for the middle teams, and a place to get the youth of baseball america some reps for the rebuilding ones.  To put it simply, more often then not then better teams have the goods and that is where you should invest your draft attention.  Having a great closer is a good thing to because building that bridge to the other side takes confidence in between.  So with that I made a Closer Chart about a week or so ago and it will be updated next week with new signings, things I am noticing and so on.  So I figured I would make the same for the Holds variety.

American League

*denotes team in a closer by committee

Team First Chair Second Fiddle Three’s a Crowd
Baltimore Darren O’Day Brad Brach Mychal Givens
Boston Tyler Thornburg Matt Barnes Joe Kelly
Chicago Nate Jones Dan Jennings Zach Putnam
Cleveland* Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw Boone Logan
Detroit Justin Wilson Mark Lowe Bruce Rondon
Houston Will Harris Luke Gregerson James Hoyt
Kansas City Joakim Soria Matt Strahm Brian Flynn
Los Angeles* Cam Bedrosian Andrew Bailey Jose Alvarez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Ryan Pressly Michael Tonkin
New York Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard Chasen Streve
Oakland* Santiago Casilla Ryan Dull Liam Hendiks
Seattle Steve Cishek Nick Vincent Dan Altavilla
Tampa Bay Brad Boxberger Xavier Cedeno Shawn Tolleson
Texas Jeremy Jeffress M. Bush Keone Kela
Toronto Jason Grilli Joe Biagini Danny Barnes

National League

*denotes team in a closer by committee

Team First Chair Second Fiddle Three’s a Crowd
Arizona Enrique Burgos Patrick Corbin Randall Delgado
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino Mauricio Cabrera Ian Krol
Chicago Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Carl Edwards Jr.
Cincinnati* Raisel Iglesias Tony Cingrani Mike Lorenzen
Colorado* Adam Ottavino Mike Dunn Jake McGee
Miami Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough David Phelps
Los Angeles Sergio Romo Grant Dayton Pedro Baez
Milwaukee* Corey Knebel Carlos Torres Michael Blazek
New York Addison Reed Hansel Robles Sean Gilmartin
Philadelphia* Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit Pat Neshek
Pittsburgh Daniel Hudson Felipe Rivero Antonio Bastardo
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Brett Cecil
San Diego Carter Capps Brad Hand Ryan Buchter
San Francisco Hunter Strickland Derek Law Will Smith
Washington* Blake Treinen Trevor Gott Enny Romero

 

   
  1. Jurickson BROfar says:
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    Smokey,

    Your posts win me leagues as closers get injured every year. I just asked Grey this, but I joined a new league with these pitching cats:

    ip
    sv
    era
    k/9
    h/9
    qs

    We play 5 sp, 2 rp, 1 p and have 6 bench spots between bats and pitching. I didn’t go for SAVES because guys were reaching for the elites. With only 2 rp and 1 p spot, should I even go for saves? or should I stock pile a few RP with great chances to take over the closer job? It’s a real challenging format.

    I drafted:

    Cueto
    Carrasco
    Duffy (sp, rp)
    Salazar
    J. Gray
    A. Miller
    D. Betances
    Pineda
    R. Ray
    T. Glasnow
    M. Folty-water
    T. Thornberg

    Any advice would be awesome. Diaz saved my life last year. Thank you.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Jurickson BROfar: I think with Miller and Dellin the k/9 category is covered well. I would keep a bench spot open to speculate on guys that would be m only advice

  2. Joey Votto says:
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    No Tony Watson?

    • Joey Votto says:
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      @Joey Votto:

      Whoops! Disregard!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Joey Votto: no worries, I did the same thing and I wrote this thing

  3. Chocolate Chip Pancakes says:
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    Out of curiosity, do you have Madson or Doolittle closing for Oakland? And how come the other guy isn’t likely to be a better handcuff than at least Dull or Hendriks? Thanks.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Madson is in the spot now, A’s have a super deep pen right now and will need to see how spring plays out. I have less faith in Doolittle health wise then the others

  4. Hometown Heroes says:
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    Do you really think Cishek is the man in Seattle? Cishek was regressing before his injury last year and Vincent and Zych seem like capable set up guys. How could they remove Diaz from that role? He looks to be a stud

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Hometown Heroes: as of writing this yes, Vincent is the good there for sue. Gun to m head if I had to draft either I would take Nicky V

  5. Halp

    Halp says:
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    Hysterical intro and great write-up. Just joined a 30 team hold league, so you can bet I will be a regular reader.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Halp: Thanks Halp! Come back for more stories of your prospect partner

  6. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    We’ll always have West Boston and the stripper who thought I was a sea captain!

    • Jay says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: yeah but was it better than the Barn?

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Jay: class of 68 in the house!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: Oh captain my captain…here’s your dollar

  7. goodfold2 says:
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    interesting take on baez 2 spots lower than his skills and depthcharts.com have him. my guess is he’s not lower than dayton but behind romo (due to experience of romo).

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @goodfold2: they have to mix in a lefty there and Dayton is ahead of Liberatore. Having Baez as the 3-4th option is never a bad thing for real life baseball

  8. The Great Knoche says:
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    Rivero and Bastardo. Lefty to Lefty Holds in Pittsburgh. Who will be late inning right hander mixing in with them?

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @The Great Knoche: STL’s too with siegrist/cecil just behind rosie.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @The Great Knoche: Nicasio, a failed starter, Brault maybe

  9. Chet_Manley says:
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    Where is Craig Kimbrel?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Chet_Manley: Home, prolly

    • Mikey says:
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      @Chet_Manley: moron, your buss is leaving

  10. DriveForFive says:
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    Jim Johnson sans chair in the Braves bullpen entirely? Hmmm.

    • Mikey says:
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      @DriveForFive: another moron, your bus also left

      • DriveForFive says:
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        @Mikey: Crap. Reading comprehension. Fantasy baseball off to a banging start.

        • Mikey says:
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          @DriveForFive: I had to reread some of the article to avoid making the same mistake. Just foolin’

  11. David says:
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    Uh, where is Oh?

  12. Mikey says:
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    You just roll into stupid town!!

  13. Jason Eldred says:
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    Where is Chapman? Just kidding, I read the article. Thanks for the read! Just a random comment, but Neris looks like the next great closer! I’m no Phillies fan, but his stuff is filthy

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Jason Eldred: he does have the tools in his belt, it is just a matter of if the Phillies utilize him correctly

  14. Spot says:
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    Thanks for another excellent columm, Smokey. Could you please tell me how you would rank Ken Giles, Cody Allen (how much of a threat is Andrew Miller) and Seung Hwan Oh (age might be a risk, while Trevor Rosenthal might make a comeback)?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Spot: Oh, Giles Allen. Rankings will be out next week sometime stay tuned

  15. danny almonte says:
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    Chances J.kelly is dominant and racks up some holds this year?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @danny almonte: plenty of chances, but could get crowded pen eventually when everyone is healthy. Good chance he gets over 20 holds

  16. MB says:
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    In a saves holds league, this is very helpful, thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @MB: I aim to please, thanks for the read

  17. Josh says:
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    What in the world happened to Rosenthal last year?! He went from a dependable 40-50 save guy to complete trash last year. Any chance he could have a resurgence?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Josh: injuries, between the forearm strain and then a shoulder injury he was wrecked last year. Being stretched out in ST though I don’t think it takes

  18. Rufus Xavier Sasparilla says:
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    Although I would resent you dumbing it down for the non-readers out there, perhaps making the chart a different color might differentiate it just enough. Since clearly writing “holds” wasn’t sufficiently obvious.

  19. Brian says:
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    Since reading this site, I’ve been three for three in my fantasy league. So thanks for that. Also, it’s made me overconfident and for the first time I’ve joined a friends 16 team (!), 9×8 (!), $200 entry fee (!) H2H league that he’s been asking me to join for a while. So, um, thanks for my future divorce too. :)

    Anyway, I wanted a second opinion to see if my gut was right about pitching in this new league. The nine pitching categories are:

    ERA Earned Run Average
    HD Holds
    INN Innings
    K-BB Strikeouts Minus Walks
    QS Quality Starts
    S Saves
    W-L Wins Minus Losses
    WHIP Walks + Hits / Inning

    You set your lineup daily and you start 5 pitchers daily (either 3 SP and 2 RP or 2 SP and 3 RP). When I look at those eight categories and reflect on it being a 16 team league, my gut says to punt saves just roster SPs and quality relievers. What are your thoughts?

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