A funny thing happened on my way to work today, I sat there in my favorite sitting place and did some research.  I looked at the availability of information provided by the other experts in the world of fantasy baseball, and then correlated that to what I do best.  That, my friends, is bullpens.  We as a collective fantasy universe play in leagues with the illusive yet sultry stat category known as the Hold.  In fact, in some further research that I have done, an estimated 30% of all fantasy players play in a league with some sort of Hold associated with the final outcome in the standings.  I mean, 30% is basically like winning the popular vote.  [Jay’s Note: I love you Smokey.] But I am standing here aghast at the amount of research poured into this fantasy industry by experts all around the world, yet here I sit.  Giving you the most diverse, in-depth, informative (yet funny), and groundbreaking stat analysis that not even world-wide leaders give… for free might I add.  I love me some bullpens, and if you don’t play in a league that adds diversity to the game to include them, then maybe you should down shift a bit and give it some thought and do a league that includes it.  Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.  Because this way I gain, at least one reader from each person that does it.  Go search the inter-webs for holds type information, you get a column sorted catastrophe written by some intern who doesn’t know the difference between good and well.  So stay here my friends, I am the goods through and through. I dropped the Holds chart weeks ago and now you get just straight cheddar and some rankings.

Before I start with the rankings, there are other stats associated with the factoring of valuable reliever in the terms of being a Hold’s ace. Teams with closer conundrums are harder to rank and guys usually steal stats from one another.  These guys figure into other categories as well and K’s, ERA, and Whip are still counting stats associated with most leagues.  So if you skipped just to the list then you dumb and should go back up.

  1.  Dellin Betances – More K’s in last two years than anyone.  (257 to be exact.)  Checks every box for a rosterable player in every league regardless of Hold out-out, which should be in the mid 30’s…. and he is pissed off.  Even more reason to own him.
  2. Andrew Miller – In NSVH leagues, he is the goods as he could go 20/20, but offer more value then Melvin Upton.  Indians are stacked at the end game and barring injury and bad form, will be in top-5 in saves, save chances, and holds.
  3. Will Harris – I am always intrigued by players that shift roles, do well at both and then go back to their everyday job and do work.  Harris is that guy.
  4. Kevin Siegrist – The Cards are always in the top-10 in bullpen goodness, and are deep like always, and that’s not even counting on Rosey for anything with his role TBD.  The last left there and in prime spot to maximize on his usually high leverage situation dominance again.
  5. Tyler Thornburg – Boston is going to win games, period.  The bullpen lost some pieces, but gained better ones and with more developing.  Thorny does Charleston proud.
  6. Matt Bush – Maybe I am aggressive, but I love me some Bush and Rangers bullpen this year.  Every team in the AL West, minus the Angels, is stacked up.  Diversity amongst hold candidates is saved for teams that don’t have reliable options.   If he can stay healthy, he could put up a mini-Dellin year.
  7. Kyle Barraclough – Sounds like a danish, K’s like a sexy marmoset.
  8. Felipe Rivero – Love him, in most leagues may be my first drafted Holds only reliever, after all the hyped big K guys go off the board.
  9. Brad Brach – Takes the first chair in a great bullpen usage managers arsenal. O’s know how to use their relievers to be effective.
  10. Jason Grilli –  I don’t love the Blue Jays bullpen much, but Grilli should be a constant there.
  11. Addison Reed – Will be the closer for a month, but lead the MLB in holds last year and could still get you 25-plus.  The saves make him look great the holds show that he is in the category.
  12. Nate Jones – A trade will ruin his holds value, hence the teen rank.  Without D-Rob, he is a top-15 closer, so there is value either way and a speculative guy for all to cherish.
  13. Hunter Strickland – Was up and down last year, but with less faces to give chances to in front of Melancon he looks to be the guy right now.
  14. Nick Vincent – Was great down the stretch last year, has more guns behind and in front with Cishek being the horse to jump.
  15. Sergio Romo – Veteran preference wins out right now over Dayton, but skip to him now and it will totally make sense.
  16. Daniel Hudson – Watson may or may not be the closer.  Screw elementary, Hudson is the goods and my theory of doubling up on really good hold reliant team would look good if I drafted Rivero and Huddy.
  17. David Phelps – Dual eligibility makes him a more admirable option as a “stash and hide in SP” slot guy.  Highly recommend because he may still get some starts.
  18. Darren O’Day – I think he takes the second seat behind Brach this year.  Does not mean he is a sexy second holds guy for your roster though.
  19. Brad Hand – Love the dual eligibility in some leagues.  Love that he’s getting undervalued.  Hate that he made Spicoli eat that pizza as punishment.
  20. Tyler Clippard – It’s Clippard to Dellin to Chapman.  This is going to either make or break the Bombers season 50-60 times this year.  Was really good at end of last year.
  21. Boone Logan – Another Indians player in the top-25.  Had third straight season of 20-plus holds last year for an also-rand Rockies team.
  22. Joakim Soria – Someone has to set-up Herrera, even if he has been in decline since I think the Reagan administration.
  23. Hector Rondon – I worry about the amount of save chances the Cubs get,  former closer knows what to do in pressure situations.  Take a hit and then pass it to the left.
  24. Justin Wilson – If Wilson was spelled vanilla, it’s what he would be.  But for quantity of holds, he will be middle of the road, and by that, I mean top-20 in overall stats.
  25. Grant Dayton – Is getting a ton of love in leagues because a ton of people root for the Dodgers?  With Romo as the vet presence and getting more draft love, I feel comfy at where he is.  Results at end of year may have him be a top-12 guy in holds.
  26. Joe Blanton – Think he falls into the “I am safe and not closing” type reliever for a 90-win team in the Nations capitol?  He is going to be behind Kelley and Glover for sure, with Solis mixed in as well.  I might be too low here, but I wanna see him do it again.
  27. Matt BarnesSawx win games.  Mookie Betts, bloody socks and Casey Affleck.  I am trying to stay current.
  28. Carter Capps – Here because he has the goods to be just flat put useful.  Will be a popular retread name on draft day as a potential closer.  Regardless, he is going to get his.
  29. Arodys Vizcaino – The Braves bullpen could go in four different directions and it would be awful for anyone involved.  The A’s situation of the NL.
  30. Brad Boxberger – After the Colome comes the Box.
  31. Joaquin Benoit – Philles have 2-3 interesting names and I think Neris and Gomez steal value from each other if that’s what you were looking for.  Benoit seems set with Neshek to be the Vet part of the equation.
  32. Jeremy Jeffress – I see him as the bridge between Barnette and Kela, not the closer in waiting that most see.  Previous experience be damned.
  33. Derek Law – The loss of Romo and Lopez opens up tons at the back-end for the Gigantes.
  34. Bryan Shaw – The Indians may have the best bullpen in baseball.  Not kidding.
  35. Brett Cecil – The second lefty to get value in the Cardinals’ nest.  If he gets 20 Holds at 35 on the list, it will be a good year for holds.
  36. Corey Knebel – Could be a 10/15 guy easy.  For those not paying attention and skipping straight to Corey Knebel, that’s saves/holds.
  37. Ryan Dull – Far from dull, the A’s have a lot of injury-laden relievers who all steal from Peter to pay Paul.  Personally I am avoiding almost everyone there.
  38. Ryan Buchter – S.D. has had a good-for-fantasy holds bullpen since Roo’s were cool to wear on your feet.
  39. Keone Kela – Kid has moxie and a live arm.  I just wonder how much there is to go around after Bush and Jeffress get their’s.
  40. Koji Uehara – Is he now the Cubs lefty specialist, but from the right side?
  41. Steve Cishek – I would rather own Vincent, but because he has previous closer experience, the skipper may keep him closer to the 8th then 6th allowing him to be a good accumulator.
  42. Xavier Cedeno – May be the best set-up only guy in Tampa.
  43. Mauricio CabreraBraves are a weird team, he is one of the four directions I mentioned.  The cult leader and a PTBNL are the others.
  44. Jake McGee – Holland and Otta steal from each other, and I think Jake is set in that setup role firmly.  Could get a good value in the same way that Boone Logan did last year
  45. Jonathan BroxtonCards are deep and good at bullpening.
  46. Drew Storen – At the end of it all, I think Raisel and Lorenzen get more opps at saves and Storen eases into a 7-8th inning role… then gets traded.
  47. Shae Simmons – From A through F, the Mariners may have the deepest most useful set of relievers in all of Baseball.
  48. Mychal Givens – Gets no love because of Brach and O’Day.  Buck will find a way.
  49. Dan Altavilla – Don’t let me down, high town.
  50. Pedro Strop – Team may win 100 and not have 45 save chances.

 

 

 

58 Comments
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Xander
Xander
5 years ago

Presumably Treinens not worth taking over Rivero or even Phelps in a H+S league? Why do you heart Rivero so much?

Vottoman Empire
Vottoman Empire
5 years ago

I’m looking to fill 3 SP positions with relievers in a holds/saves league. What do you think of this ranking of the handfull of options?

D. Phelps
R. Iglesias
J. Kelly
J. Nicasio
C. Devenski
S. Greene

Anyone I’m missing?

Woolly the Mammoth
Woolly the Mammoth
5 years ago

Any concern about Tyler Thornburg given his bad start?

johnnySquid
johnnySquid
5 years ago

What about Hector Neris?

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
5 years ago

LAD i’d say has argument at being best overall bullpen over CLE, shaw ain’t that good at all. nobody’s arguing that allen/miller are better than kenley and their 2nd best guy (whether that’s healthy baez, dayton or romo) but overall i might take
kenley/baez/romo/dayton/liberatore
vs
allen/miller/shaw/logan/mcallister

and not even one guy from ARI, but 3 from COL? i’m debating that holland/mcgee are very likely better than grin and barett/delgado but would you really pass up both ARI guys to grab mcgee in a 20 teamer with 7 RP slots. altavilla has apparently moved up at SEA very lately as well.

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  Smokey
5 years ago

@Smokey: sorry, i’m counting in saves and holds leagues you would place rodney and nobody else from ARI and here have mcgee/holland (and obviously otta). i have the choices for two spots of mcgee/salas (seems 3rd in line at NYM now)/anybody in ARI excepting rodney/altavilla (if he really has moved to 2nd or 3rd at SEA i’m getting him for sure) and some others.

yes, i’m aware shaw’s role is good and has been for years at CLE, but his skill set just isn’t good. romo, when healthy has had no worse than 14% swk% rate over last 5 years (up to 17% in one spot), shaw in the 9-12% over same time period. i’m aware that roles trumps skills in some instances of course as far as ONLY holds go. romo always gets leveraged spots though, so his injuries would keep his hold totals down (plus he’s been closer what 3 times over those years). romo’s K/BB rates have been anywhere in the 4.8-7.1 range whereas shaw’s are 1.7-2.9, this isn’t close at all.

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
5 years ago

@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey:
shaw’s K’s per inning last 5 years = 301 in 341 innings (.88 per).
romo’s = 282 in 261 innings (1.08 per). we have 5 DL spots so i’ll take the injury risk for the times he’s healthy. i don’t actually have this choice (shaw is owned, romo i just drafted, and dropped him before keepers to grab some prospects in this dynasty draft)

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
5 years ago

@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: i’m also close on all three of CLE/SEA/LAD being the best.

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  Smokey
5 years ago

@Smokey: ok, good to know you got burgos moving to top of non-closer spot (and with rodney maybe higher), ARI (like MIN is it’s awfulness) hard to navigate. at least the ARI guys have K rates that dwarf the crap out of the MIN guys though (we have K/9 too here)

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
5 years ago

@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: sheeeit, i forgot to mention gregerson, how is he not listed above, that seems to be a typo.

Mantis Toboggan MD
Mantis Toboggan MD
5 years ago

he had everybody ELSE eat the pizza as punishment, it WAS spicolli’s pizza.

Roll of SAGNOF, Hear my Cry
Roll of SAGNOF, Hear my Cry
5 years ago

In an AL only league where Saves and Holds are both worth 5 points, talent rules….

and a lot of these guys are already owned. Can you toss out some real deep guys that could be in good positions midseason?

Sounds like Indians, Red Sox, Mariners are the teams to look at this season.

Mantis Toboggan MD
Mantis Toboggan MD
5 years ago

i think the number you were looking for was probably higher 30%’s to maybe 42%, but wow, i had no idea 30% of ALL leagues had holds. nearly all of mine do and i’m in LOT of leagues, so it probably shouldn’t be that surprising to me

bigwormsherm
bigwormsherm
5 years ago

@Smokey Hey can you give me/us an idea of maybe the top 5 or so holds guys that have eligibility as SP?

(If you answered this already in the comments, apologies)

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

Other than Betances and Miller, which of these guys do you expect to be worth holding all season in a standard 5×5 league?

Scot
Scot
5 years ago

I didn’t see neris on this list. Do you think he will open as the closer?

Chris
Chris
5 years ago

Hello Smokey,

H2h, 12 teams Mix, 3 Keepers

Current keeper: Arenado + Edwin.
I’m between S. Marte, Yu or Arrieta for my 3rd.

Thing is, last year I traded RD 5, 6, 8, 9.
I was pushing for the Championship but didn’t win.

Anyways, since I don’t a RD 5+6+8+9 (RD5 is actually RD2), should I keep Yu/Arrieta and then draft best player available?

I’m considering to keep Marte, and even pick offensive player in rd5, and then concentrate on Sp for rd 7+10+11.
I’m guessing in RD7 I can pick a Tanaka, Cole, Hamels maybe?

what are your thoughts?

Thanks

Bad Ash
Bad Ash
5 years ago

Dude it was even worse. Mr. Hand took a slice of the pizza for himself and divvied up the rest among the other students, leaving a forlorn and hungry Spicoli to sit there and watch. Mr. Hand was a bastard.

Great write-up.

Brett
Brett
5 years ago

If nerris in philly isn’t the closer where would he fall on this list?

Jay
Jay
5 years ago

First

SheriffMcRawDawg
SheriffMcRawDawg
5 years ago

good stuff Smokey! which guy (if any) makes the biggest jump this year?
Jacob Barnes
Danny Barnes
Sherfy

also isn’t Zach Duke out for 2017? and do you think Diekman for the Rangers gets his lefty specialist job back around midseason (it’s a big IF bc of health, but maybe a stash in S/Hlds leagues with unlimited DL spots?)

Thanks man!

SheriffMcRawDawg
SheriffMcRawDawg
Reply to  Smokey
5 years ago

@Smokey: cheers man. If I’m gonna grab Bush, I might as well have a Jimmie. Joe Smith also available but feeling pretty meh about him.

jack florida
jack florida
5 years ago

great info–very helpful, thanks

westcoastpete
westcoastpete
5 years ago

FYI – Yesterday I saw some news that they created a new rule which makes Carter Capps’ “delivery” illegal. He basically jumps towards the plate and then starts his throwing motion.

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
Reply to  westcoastpete
5 years ago

@westcoastpete: Yeah, he may have some issues to figure out. Supposedly if he keeps foot on ground and doesn’t hop its ok, but if back foot leaves ground he isn’t. Could change some mechanics for sure.

Aaron
Aaron
5 years ago

Nice article; many thanks to the author. I decided to focus on RP after years of piecing together a bullpen from what’s on FA. Most of the big dawgs were spoken for already, but in a 14-team SV+HLD League I was able to snag Zach Britton, Kelvin Herrera & Cody Allen with Capps as a backup plan/sleeper. Enjoyed looking over this list to keep an eye out for some of the lesser owned 7th & 8th inning guys.

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
5 years ago

Love Bush.

Nick
Nick
5 years ago

dynasty team ,,

i was bad last year at RP

now i have Maurer for sv (not many)
Capps behind Maurer and who knows,,,
Simmons for holds,,, but only expectations long term

i can pick up Kintzler for saves
Hudson also avb
and Shaw or Law for holds, maybe Baez?
who to drop? for those?

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Nick
5 years ago

@Nick:

my pitchers would be :
SP1: Cueto
SP2 Tanaka
SP3 DeSclafani
SP4 Gio
SP5 Cotton
+ Nova (dropping AReyes DL)?
+ Conley or Gsell (dropping Lugo)?
RP1 Maurer
RP2 Capps
RP3 Kintzler or Rivero or Glover or Hudson(dropping DeLeon)?
RP4 SSimmons or Shaw or Law or Baez?

just read that Glover would be closer of the future in WAS !!? nice
what do you think?

Burningbridges247
Burningbridges247
5 years ago

To me, a guy in a saves/holds league, this is consistently one of the best articles of the year. Thanks, Smoke. Excellent work as always. And your right- if I’m picking ANY pitcher to do something in the style of Betances, it’s Matt Bush. He’s an absolute beast.

Jbona3
Jbona3
5 years ago

Great work as always Smokey! Wondering if you have a list going of SP eligible RP? Right now, from what I’ve seen it’s Raisel, Mike Montgomery, and few others…anyone I should take a look at?

Jay
Jay
Reply to  Jbona3
5 years ago

@Jbona3: I actually think that’s in the pipeline via Rudy. We’ll get it out soon!

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

Hey Smokey, how do you see Bruce Rondon and Joe Kelly’s seasons playing out? Their stats from last year could indicate a good year in the pen racking up some holds. Thoughts?