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Who really doesn’t love a song that isn’t closely related to baseball being the lead in?  I mean I could have made the title Africa, same band, but further from the premise.  So we are onto an update of those every crazy relievers that garner some attention but are like the guys buried in the lower left corner on Hollywood Squares. Sure, they’re useful, but only when you need to go for the win.  These guys aren’t rosterable everywhere because not every league is cool enough to have a Holds category.  Holds are about as wonky to figure out this early in the season as to why BJ and the Bear isn’t still on TV.  Once you get through all the early stretches, you start to see patterns form on the lesser known guys. The big guns for Holds, are guys that are rosterable everywhere and help out with all those hip peripheral numbers that all the stat heads try to figure out in their dorm rooms in between smoking the tweed and Intro to Human Anatomy. So with 4 weeks in, we can see who is setting up who and how they are being used in certain situations.  So enjoy the holds update and how some teams bullpens are breaking down. The NL version will be along shortly.  (Before we get into the Holds post, here’s this week’s FanDuel contest.)

AL East:

Boston - A muddled up mess.  No clear definition is the best I can come up with.  Franklin Morales looks to be the only usable guy outside of when they get the whole Daniel Bard and Afredo Aceves situation in order.  Sleeper guy here is Scott Atchison, he is a hundred years young and has been pretty affective so far.

New York – K-Rob and Soriano should be owned in most hold leagues already.  Look out for Boone Logan, great K rate early on and has started to get more burn with Girardi. Sleeper guy is Cory Wade as he swoops in and vultures all those wins.

Baltimore – Matt Lindstrom is the most popular guy here, but Pedro Strop is the guy to own in Charm City.  Dude throws hard and Baltimore goes to their bullpen often.  Re-tread Luis Ayala has been getting a few 7th inning appearances and could be a sneaky AL-Only guy.

Toronto – CoCo was the main guy, but now he is off to greener pastures.  Until Sergio gets back it looks like Luis Perez is the guy to own here, failed starter turned reliever. 12/4 K/BB rate so far.  Jason Frasor is the veteran presence when all is normal and sees tons of time in front of the closer, whomever it may be.

Tampa Bay – Has the third worst bullpen ERA in the AL.  Joel Peralta is still the favorite for holds, if you can stomach his 10 ERA.  Jake McGee is on the radar but has been very ineffective.

AL Central:

Chicago – I think they have the best set of bullpen arms in MLB.  Crain.  Reed and Thornton have basically been unhittable and Crain is doing his normal thing. Ventura mixes and matches but all 3 should be owned universally.

Detroit – Joaquin Benoit is the guy here, he should have been drafted as a #1 option in holds leagues anyways.  Coke and Dotel are the other options for when Leyland needs a smoke break.  Leyland uses the same set of relievers a ton so expect to see a lot of games from both guys.

Kansas City – Greg Holland was supposed to be the man and he stumbled, enter Aaron Crow.  Has a .161 BAA and should see most set-up chances if they get any.  Sleeper til Holland gets better is Tim Collins, the non alcoholic version of Tom.

Minnesota – Glen Perkins was supposed to be the stalwart here and he has battled both injury and ineffectiveness. Jared Burton has pitched very unheralded because it’s usually Capps who blows the lead after he holds it.

Cleveland – Tons of great arms here to choose from.  Pestano is most likely owned but other usable options are Tony Sipp and Joe Smith. Sleeper here is Jairo Asencio.

AL West:

Oakland – Oakland’s pen has done a nice job so far in front of Balfour.  Ryan Cook leads the team in holds and is the best option moving forward. Blevins and Figueroa are lying in the weeds for low AL Only productivity.

Los Angeles – Scott Downs is the guy to own here.  LaTroy Hawkins  and Kevin Jepsen have contributed early.  Outside of Downs, this is not a bullpen that screams pennant contender.

Seattle – The flame throwing pot smoking Tom Wilhelmsen is the main set-up guy to League.  Sneaky good option Steve Delabar has a comfy 12/0 K/BB rate in the early going, too bad he gave up 4 Hr’s already.  Sleeper here is Lucas Luetge.

Texas - Mike Adams and Alexei Ogando lead the way in holds for baseball and will be used a ton. Underutilized Koji is still very usable and the sleeper here could be Robbie Ross who is the win vulture in the early going.

22 Responses

  1. EK says:
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    Pls rank for a spot start:

    Arrieta v OAK
    Capuano v WAS
    Alvarez v SEA
    Delgado v PIT
    Bedard @ ATL

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @EK, Arrieta, Alvarez Cappy, Bedard Delgado.

  2. EK says:
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    Gio or Lance?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @EK, Gio

  3. Chunk says:
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    Excellent article. This kind of organized perspective is very helpful. Thanks Smokey! Can’t wait for NL…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Chunk, Thx

  4. Nice work, Smokey!

    Right up my alley.

    I sorta have my own updated version of this and I carefully track Holds guys as well. My AL version looks identical to yours currently.

    Also, fully concur with the ChiSox statement. Its paining me a bit cause I own Crain as Addison has definitely mucked up the 8th inning situation for him. That said, I could very well see either Addison or Crain closing by mid-May.

    Wilhelmsen is the best Holds guy in the AL that nobody knows about. He’s nasty.

    Look forward to the NL.

    Great work…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @El Burro, Agreed on T-wil. Thx

      • @Smokey, forgot to mention…Luis Perez has also gotten my attention. He’s been dynamite. Can see him getting a more defined late inning role especially against lefties going forward. I know Oliver is there too, but Luis seems to have Farrell’s trust lately. Good call on him as well…

  5. Steve says:
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    Hey Smokey – I know the NL is coming up, but would you own Boggs or Burnett ahead of Crain?

    Crain’s lack of a defined role (for now anyway) is kinda frustrating…

  6. paulzone says:
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    for holds, with decent ratios, who do you prefer out of (feel free to rank your top choices):

    perez (sp), cook, sipp, dotel, oliver, cashner, estrada (sp)

    i’m playing krob, clippard, ogando, strop

    great coverage – thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @paulzone, Luis Perez, Cashner, Sipp, Dotel. There are a ton more I like that prolly aren’t listed and prolly unowned so feel free to hit me back with some more names.

      • paulzone says:
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        @Smokey, believe it or not, it a pretty deep 13 team holds league with 5 total rp/p spots and most teams have at least 3. some options i left out:

        morales, mujica, burton, frasor, delabar, oliver, ayala, wade davis, affeldt, o’day, bastardo, howel, veras, webb, hawkins, ziegler, meek

        Let me know if you see any golden boys in there compared to the few that I sent previously.

        Thanks

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @paulzone, Perez is still high man. Mujica is an intriguing name as is Burton. Mostly 3rd to 4th tier guys but still effective if you shuffle right. What about Grilli fro Pitt?

          • paulzone says:
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            @Smokey, No, Grilli is not available.

            I will roll with perez for now…maybe you provide a top 30 or 40 ranking both AL/NL? And post every so often throughout the season?

            That would be cool, if the interest is there and you have the time of course…

            • Smokey

              Smokey says:
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              @paulzone, I could do that next time sure

              • paulzone says:
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                @Smokey, perez got lit up last night…wow.

                cook k’d 4 in 1 ip. 6 holds on the year now. he’s looking like a possible option. oh, nevermind, cook was picked up earlier today. hate when that happens!

                would you still add perez, dropping one of these guys:

                cahill, millone, or detwiler. i have many other sp’s incl: latos, gallardo, lynn, worley, anibal, scherzer…

                • Smokey

                  Smokey says:
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                  @paulzone, I may look to O’day then if your a little shy on Perez. But these outing happen to relievers now and again. Just sux when you have them rostered when they do.

  7. Poo Holes says:
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    I have a holds question. My 12 team keeper league is insanely deep. All closers, their handcuffs, and their handcuffs handcuffs are pretty much owned. I’m way out in front with saves and only have one hold from Jon Rauch. I picked up Crain last week but he’s been out. I’m trying to pull off a 3:2 or 2:1 trade to open up a roster spot. Sipp, Morales, Mujica, and Peralta are available. Do I pick one of them up or just roll with Rauch and Crain?

    Great write-up and looking forward to the NL!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Poo Holes, Crain and Rauch should be ok for now. You could stream relievers I know its a way corny thing to do but I do it on odds on chance that I get 2-3 holds from the 4-5 guys i put in and out of my line-up.

      • Poo Holes says:
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        @Smokey, Crain just went to the DL so I put him there and picked up Sipp. Might trade a closer for a top set up guy or something. Thanks for the input!

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Poo Holes, That works.

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