I was trying to insert that catchy Beastie Boys song in your head, so if it worked, hooray for you. Go ahead and try and pat yourself on the back with your baby T-Rex arms. So we come to this, it has been much ballyhooed and asked for frequently. I figured I would take some time away from inoculating babies in third world countries and devout my charity work to you all.
The hold category is about as consistent as my minute-to-minute thinking process, at any moment I can just jump up and have to run into the other room like a cat. From year to year the turnover of the top relief core is fairly consistent; last year only 28 players accounted for 20 plus holds. The one trend I look closely at is the rate a RP comes into a game with the lead, after all that’s where the stat comes in to play. Couple that with a successful Inherited Run Scoring (IRS) percentage, and that’s where hold success is born. So here is my top flight list of guys who will garner the most holds this year. I also added my projections for S’s and G’s.
1. Mitchell Boggs – When you’re looking for a stout RP with all the qualities you need. Great SP, check. A manager who knows how to use a bullpen, check. Filthy nasty stuff with a set role, check.
6-2/2.10 ERA/65 K’s/38 Holds
2. Vinnie Pestano – Of the Newark Pestano’s. Baby’s laughter, the smell after a rain storm and owning Vinnie – all things I like. Has future closer dibs in Cleveland if Perez ever gets the heck out da way.
4-3/2.48 ERA/88 K’s/38 Holds
3. David Robertson – Unlike Vinnie his team is going to win more games then they lose, prolly. Wins and leads are key here. Stout K rate and unhittableness are good helpers. 3-5/2.36 ERA/90 K’s/37 Holds
4. Joel Peralta – Sick 5/1 K/BB rate. He has a little neck quirk but it’s only spring training. I get a stiff neck when I don’t sleep with the same pillow for one night. Last RH guy in the best bullpen in the AL, IMO.
3-5/2.05 ERA/80 K’s/34 Holds
5. Jake McGee – The LH twin from the other other Bay area. With Peralta, he forms the top LH/RH combo in baseball setting up. Dude is filthy, (6/1 K/BB) like a crazy bum who yells for no reason.
6-2 /1.90 ERA/78 K’s/32Holds
6. Eric O’Flaherty – The everyday Irish whelp. He goes unnoticed by many due to Venters’ and Kimbrel’s stoutness. Just goes about and is the last LH set-up guy in front of the best closer in baseball.
3-1/2.15 ERA/65 K’s/31Holds
7. Mike Adams – Year in year out he has the staying power to go from great situation to great situation. Dude pitches like he is throwing ultimate, not baseball. Typical ground ball pitcher shouldn’t be affected by ‘Zen Park. 4-2/2.20 ERA/74 K’s/31 Holds.
8. David Hernandez – It’s always nice to work with a Putz in front of you cause it makes you look better. But Hernandez doesn’t need any help. I ran into him at the airport before Spring Training and asked him if those were Haggar slacks he was wearing, he definitively answered “Hell no bitch, they polo.” Gotta love it. 6-5/2.35 ERA/90 K’s/28 Holds/5 Saves
9. Tyler Clippard – Washington has best top to bottom staff in baseball. Setup shined, Closing shined. All you need is Scatman Crothers talking in your head. You like ice cream, Doc? Yeah, I thought so.
3-4/2.18 ERA /80 K’s/31 Holds
10A. Kenley Jansen – Will get some saves love during the year so he doesn’t rate as high as this is a Holds write-up. Heart issues are worrisome, but that all goes away with some K’s.
3-5/2.70 ERA/100 K’s/18 Holds/14 Saves
10B. Ernesto Frieri – Is basically the same situation as the guy above. Huge K potential with a possible step up into a more relevant stat category early on. Madson’s health makes HMO’s quiver.
4-3/2.80 ERA/90 K’s/20 Holds/10 Saves
11. Edward Mujica – Love the arms in the back of the ‘Lou’s pen, who are perennial leaders in Holds and games entered with the lead. ERA was just over a buck last year, yeah, 3 quarters, 2 dimes and 5 pennies.
3-4/1.75 ERA/82 K’s/30 Holds
12. Sean Burnett – The Angels have a 2-headed monster right now closing with Frieri and Madson. They also have 2 great lefties in Burnett and Downs. Chances should be a plenty. 2-4/2.45 ERA/65 K’s/28 Holds
13. Drew Storen – I wanna see how he adjusts to the new role before I can anoint him Holds worthy. Stuff is there to be a dominant set-up guy as he has proved it in the conclusionary role.
5-4/3.25 ERA/75 K’s/25 Holds/5 Saves
14. Joaquin Benoit – I would like him more if he had back-to-back capabilities, but he doesn’t as stated by the Marlboro man manager. Still highly effective and will see some save chances.
4-4/3.45 ERA/78 K’s/28 Holds
15. Antonio Bastardo – Yeah, ‘that’s what she said’ is right. I like the end arms in Philly a lot as I tend to draft the secondary guy from the bullpen rather then the lead guy. ERA could be worrisome but the K potential should be there. 3-5/3.80 ERA/90 K’s/26 Holds
16. Matt Belisle – The Rox are going to be bad, but when they have a lead expect this guy to be in the game. Methinks Betancourt is shipped elsewhere during the season and Belisle and Brothers will both get a look. 2-5/3.75 ERA/70 K’s/26 Holds/3 Saves
17. Luke Gregerson – A healthy Huston Street is key, which is probably like finding a key on a ring full of keys. Is a typical holds stalwart as he anchors the back end of the always reliable holds horn of plenty in San Diego. 3-5/2.95 ERA/71 K’s/25 Holds/4 Saves
18. Jonny Venters - He is like the Corey Haim to Kimbrel’s Feldman. They go hand and hand with the back end of bullpen effectiveness. Seemed to slip a little last year — I think the over-use got to him. Bounce back and on the cheap are prolly the best advice I can give ya.
3-5/3.10 ERA/80 K’s/24 Holds
19. Santiago Casilla – Got some run all over the place. Personally I hate when I have the runs anywhere. Regardless he finished third in appearances for non-closers in games when his team was ahead. Lot’s of one-run games played in SF. 7-5/2.95 ERA/60 K’s/22 Holds/8 Saves
20. Ryan Cook – While my love for A’s starting pitchers goes pretty far, their bullpen ain’t too shabby. This guy had such a crazy year, he made the AS game as a reliever only to lose the closing gig to Balfour.
5-6/2.70 ERA/80 K’s/24 Holds
21. Kyuji Fujiwaka – Saved a ton of games where the stats mean bub-kiss. Has been getting lots of closer love, me included, if Marmol trips up. For now he is the primary set-up guy teamed with James Russell. Mixes in a splitter, works in the mid-90′s and is a control guy with career rates of 4/1 K/BB. 4-4/3.25 ERA/78 K’s/20 Holds/10 Saves
22. Sean Marshall – Great rotation in front, horrible decision-making manager behind. It’s like having a great time drinking and waking up next to a ‘chew your arm off’ situation. 4-5/2.98 ERA/72 K’s/24 Holds
23. Pedro Strop – The underrated yet overly effective O’s bullpen was an astonishing 74-0 last year when having the lead after 7 innings. Add in O’Day and they have a sneaky good 1-2 in front of JJ.
3-6/2.85 ERA/55 K’s/25 Holds
24. Matt Thornton – Wonky elbow already has me worried. The stud has been the lefty version of Gregerson and has always littered the Hold rankings. Keep an eye on health, as you can always do worse.
2-5/3.15 ERA/65 K’s/24 Holds
25. Aaron Crow – The bullpen in KC is young and hard throwing. Every guy from Tim Collins to Kelvin Herrera could be in this spot. Herrera has gas to burn and Collins is a nice lefty. I think Crow lives up to some post-hype this year and sets up nicely for Holland. Expect great things. 7-3/3.05 ERA/80 K’s/20 Holds
26. Andrew Bailey – Just add Kahlua. I just hope he doesn’t pout his way to mediocrity and can stay healthy. He has the closing pedigree if Hanrahananan slips on the O’Doyle banana.
3-5/3.80 ERA/60 K’s/22 Holds/5 Saves
27. Ronald Belisario – The other RH in the seemingly RH-dominant Dodger pen. JP Howell is going to get a ton of work as well. Great rates and a K an inning are what you are looking for and he has it, that and some Jordache jeans. 4-5/2.95 ERA/70 K’s/22 Holds
28. Joakim Soria – Is in the same breath, just maybe with a little asthma, as Frieri and Jansen. He needs some time and for someone else to get hurt to be more of a fantasy asset than he is now. Next year he will be sitting pretty like that dog from Duck Hunt.
5-4/3.45 ERA/60 K’s/20 Holds/3 Saves
29. Mark Melancon – It’s like a bullpen of no-names except for guys like me that drool over the unknowns of bullpens. These are the late round guys, the ones you are going to not draft but pick up on a heater. Is a Grilli slip up away from being the top waiver wire add.
3-4/3.65 ERA/65 K’s/20 Holds/3 Saves.
30. Wilton Lopez – Like I said about Belisle above, there aren’t going to be many situations in Col that make RP needed, but he is still a viable arm that was effective in Houston last year. Has closer ability should Rafael get grounded by Splinter.
2-6/3.75 Era/72 K’s/18 Holds/3 Saves
11 Sleepers you should know:
George Kontos SF
Cody Allen CLE
Dale Thayer SD
Jim Henderson MIL
Steve Delabar TOR
Charlie Furbush SEA
Sean Doolittle OAK
Jared Burton MIN
Tony Watson PIT
Robbie Ross TEX