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

 

43 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brian
Brian
5 years ago

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?

Rufus Xavier Sasparilla
Rufus Xavier Sasparilla
5 years ago

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.

Josh
Josh
5 years ago

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?

MB
MB
5 years ago

In a saves holds league, this is very helpful, thanks

danny almonte
danny almonte
5 years ago

Chances J.kelly is dominant and racks up some holds this year?

Spot
Spot
5 years ago

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)?

Jason Eldred
Jason Eldred
5 years ago

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

Mikey
Mikey
5 years ago

You just roll into stupid town!!

David
David
5 years ago

Uh, where is Oh?

DriveForFive
DriveForFive
5 years ago

Jim Johnson sans chair in the Braves bullpen entirely? Hmmm.

Mikey
Mikey
Reply to  DriveForFive
5 years ago

@DriveForFive: another moron, your bus also left

DriveForFive
DriveForFive
Reply to  Mikey
5 years ago

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

Mikey
Mikey
Reply to  DriveForFive
5 years ago

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

Chet_Manley
Chet_Manley
5 years ago

Where is Craig Kimbrel?

Mikey
Mikey
Reply to  Chet_Manley
5 years ago

@Chet_Manley: moron, your buss is leaving

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
5 years ago

Rivero and Bastardo. Lefty to Lefty Holds in Pittsburgh. Who will be late inning right hander mixing in with them?

Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey
Reply to  The Great Knoche
5 years ago

@The Great Knoche: STL’s too with siegrist/cecil just behind rosie.

goodfold2
goodfold2
5 years ago

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).

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

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

Jay
Jay
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

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

Halp
Halp
5 years ago

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

Hometown Heroes
Hometown Heroes
5 years ago

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

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
5 years ago

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.

Joey Votto
Joey Votto
5 years ago

No Tony Watson?

Joey Votto
Joey Votto
Reply to  Joey Votto
5 years ago

@Joey Votto:

Whoops! Disregard!

Jurickson BROfar
Jurickson BROfar
5 years ago

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.