What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.


Big Spoons

This is the optiomal spot.  Whether to be in control of the bullpen goodness for Holds or in the prime cat-bird seast as a cuff.  Big spoons are the man in the Hold/Save cuddle, there is no room for shenanigans as spooning leads to forking.

Name Saves Holds BS
Andrew Miller 4 36 5
Tony Watson 2 35 3
Joaquin Benoit 9 31 5
Joe Smith 3 33 4
Dellin Betances 1 32 6
Kevin Jepsen 3 32 7
Brett Cecil 4 31 6
Carson Smith 2 30 5
Darren O’Day 4 30 3
Sergio Romo 6 29 4
Justin Wilson 1 29 5
Carter Capps 7 29 7


Cuddle Buddies

Not quite the wifey material type but a Netflix, wine, and chill kinda reliever.  They aren’t elite, but are the second fiddle in grouping for save possibilities.   Still ownable as a second as a solid goomad for holds.

Name  Saves Holds BS
Joakim Soria 5 27 4
Keone Kela 3 27 6
Pedro Strop 2 26 5
Kevin Siegrist 1 26 3
Tyler Clippard 3 26 6
Luke Gregerson 2 25 4
Ryan Madson 3 25 6
Antonio Bastardo 1 25 3
Zach Duke 3 24 4
Bryan Shaw 3 24 5
Danny Farquhar 2 24 7
Koji Uehara 4 24 5
Yimi Garcia 1 24 4


Committee Conundrums

Fellas that could see the main stage or are already in a committee already.

Name Saves Holds BS
Jason Grilli 8 15 6
John Axford 7 15 5
Jeremy Jeffress 8 17 7
Jon Edwards 10 14 3
Roberto Osuna 7 16 5
Jason Motte 7 13 6

Little Spoons

The title says it all until Dellin Betances had to go be all elite and ruin everything. These are guys on the same teams as guys already listed but have great bullpen spot and have shown promise to be that guy.  They are the smaller part of the cuddle, but can still keep your rates warm.

Name  Saves Holds BS
Daniel Hudson 2 23 5
Addison Reed 3 23 5
Sam Dyson 1 23 4
Seung-Hwan Oh 1 22 3
Pat Neshek 2 22 4
Mark Lowe 2 21 4
Arquimedes Caminero 1 21 5
Hunter Strickland 1 21 4
Shawn Kelley 2 20 5
Kelvin Herrera 1 20 5
Kevin Quackenbush 3 19 4
Zach McAllister 3 19 4
Justin Grimm 1 19 3
Jim Johnson 4 18 7
Chris Hatcher 1 18 4
Jordan Walden 2 18 5
Jake Petricka 1 17 5
Jumbo Diaz 5 17 6


Sleepy Footed Pajamas

I mean, who doesn’t love jammies with zipper from knee level to the chin?  Comfy sleepers to fill out the back-end of your deeper roster or a hunch gamble for all Holds leagues…

Name Saves Holds BS
Silvino Bracho 2 17 4
Alexander Colome 2 17 5
Kyle Barraclough 4 16 5
Trevor Gott 1 16 4
Mychal Givens 2 16 6
Corey Knebel 9 15 3
Luis Garcia 2 15 4
Tony Barnette 2 15 3
Jeff Manship 1 14 4
  1. Grant says:

    Great stuff, always look forward to these being in a holds league. Question, why is steamer so down on holds? The top guy they have at like 17, but you have about 40, and last year Watson had 41.


    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Grant: because steamer is broken? You want an opinion there it is. Nobody likes Holds, it is shunned to the kids table

  2. Biggest Dickest says:

    Do you have a way of ranking holds by players with SP eligibility? These dudes are like crack for my roster.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Biggest Dickest: Colome,Adam Warren, Trevor May, Aaron Sanchez, Tanner Roark, Collmentor, Brad Hand, Lorenzen, Jerome Williams. That is the list I have for all sp/rp eligible guys in some or most keagues. Not much there. Colome, May and Warren seem to be the best options.

      • Goldirocks says:

        Travis Wood?

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:

          @Goldirocks: Yea him too

  3. seph meier says:

    Are these projections or last yrs #s?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @seph meier: Do I really have to answer that?

  4. Daniel says:

    With the uncertainty for the Brewers where do you put will smith? The pitcher. Also what are your feelings on Nate jones? I feel like he’s going to be holds sleeper gold.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Daniel: I think Smith stars the year closing and Knebel, Jeffress and Barrios all steal each others value.
      Jones might be but for me he is behind Duke and Petricka and on the level with Putnam, who has been getting a lot of good pub from white sox beat writers

  5. Pat's Bat says:

    Which holds guys have the best chance of turning into closers? While these guys are highly sought after in normal leagues, in holds leagues it can really screw your roster up when your holds guy get promoted.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Pat’s Bat: basically anyone in the first group and the guys in the committee group stand out. But refer to my initial closer ranks, guys listed first are the next in line for the closer chair.

  6. Eric says:

    Yo Smoke appreciate the work and this will be useful for me.

    The Dodgers are the team I follow most closely, and I can say with confidence Chris Hatcher is the annointed 8th inning man, with Yimi Garcia fighting for scraps. Their projected K-BB and ratios should be about identical (10 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP).

    In other words, I can’t think of any reason to rank Yimi higher than Hatcher in Holds leagues.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Eric: I’ll agree to disagree, new manager new usage. No one knows who will get the most holds looks whether it be in the 7th or 8th. ill keep it gentlemanly and I will bet you a six pack that Yimi gets more? Deal?

      • Eric says:

        @Smokey: Ohh fun. Sure!

    • Eric says:

      @Eric: I should clarify: Even if you disagree with my projections of their stats and peripherals, there is no good reason to forecast more holds for Yimi.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:

        @Eric: I just said that with Roberts there now their usage will not be what it was. For as money frivilous as the Dodgers are their bullpen isn’t spectacular. Neither guy is a 1A for holds leagues anyways and I projected 6 in between so its not overly different. So we are on for a sixer then?

        • Eric says:

          @Smokey: You’re on.

          Would love to see Yimi really emerge. Yimi from first-half 2015 is an elite reliever. Hatcher from Aug-Sep 2015 is an elite reliever. So, his dominance was more recent, his velo is higher, and he’s more of a vet.

          Even before this column, Hatcher was already on my mental list of biggest market inefficiencies to exploit in my upcoming Holds league draft. I think most of my league-mates will have Yimi rated higher, as you do.

          So, I could be wrong of course, but I definitely feel strongly enough about it to bet beers on it! Good luck.

  7. thorbs says:

    Nice writeup!

    Where would you rank a guy like Miller in a league that does Net Saves + Holds?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @thorbs: top 8

  8. Mantis Toboggan MD says:

    in a deeper 16 team H2H with 9 keepers, 2 of them have to be RP. holds also a stat. i’ve got kenley for sure and which of these: perkins/capps/boxberger for last RP

  9. The JoGarza says:

    Hey Smokey,

    In a 16-team dynasty SV+HLD league, I’m really tempted to just go in and punt all closers and rely on holds guys. Knowing the best teams will have 3 closers and maybe one holds guy (with the rest of the league probably at 2 closers, 2 holds), is it a viable strategy to draft 4 holds guys and still compete?

    Do I need to draft any of the elite ones? Or can I start from halfway through the cuddle buddies and make my way down?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @The JoGarza: little of column A alot of B. So one elite guy and 2-3 from the second group

  10. the great knoche says:

    in a 6×6 dynasty auction league with OBP and holds, have to start 5 SP and 4RP at all times. I hate punting, but in this league I almost always punt saves, and only spend $4 total on RPs, all holds guys. Rest of the $ goes to bats.

    Love the only site that finds me great holds guys!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @the great knoche: good strategy. Thanks for the read and lovin my stuff

  11. Gordon Shumway says:

    Love it!!! Thanks so much! And BTW, the way I discovered razzball was through a preseason search a few years back for this exact thing that led me directly to your post! Thank you for yiur efforts into helping us out!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Gordon Shumway: Thanks man, How’s Melmac?

  12. Bill says:

    Hey Smokey,

    Nice work, Thanks for looking out for the holds horders.

    Drafted my 30 team keeper league with saves and holds. Decided early to forego saves and load up on potential holds. I used your posts. How’d I do?

    C Nick Hundley C-COL
    1B Logan Forsythe 2B/1B-TB
    2B Rougned Odor 2B-TEX
    3B Todd Frazier 3B-CHW
    SS Jordy Mercer SS-PIT
    OF J.D. Martinez OF-DET
    OF Delino DeShields OF-TEX
    OF Mark Trumbo OF/1B/DH-BAL
    U Nori Aoki OF-SEA
    P Jon Lester SP-CHC
    P Jose Berrios SP-MIN
    P Michael Fiers SP-HOU
    P Jerad Eickhoff SP-PHI
    P Jesse Hahn SP-OAK
    P Arquimedes Caminero RP-PIT
    P Corey Knebel RP-MIL
    P Kevin Jepsen RP-MIN
    P Pedro Strop RP-CHC
    BN Mychal Givens-RP-BAL
    BN Yimi Garcia RP-LAD
    BN Zack Weiss RP-CIN
    BN Brandon Morrow SP-SD
    BN Hank Conger C-TB
    BN Seth Smith OF/DH-SEA
    BN Derek Dietrich OF/3B-MIA
    BN Michael Morse 1B-FA
    BN Tyler Saladino 3B-CHW
    BN Victor Robles OF-WSH
    BN Nomar Mazara OF-TEX
    BN Vladimir Gutierrez SP-FA

    Manship, Barnette and Gott are still available. I plan on waiting for rosters to shake out. Which one of these do you think will stick and produce some holds.

    Thanks again.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:

      @Bill: love it. Weiss and Knebel will get you some saves, but the Strop, Caminero and Jepsen group is strong. Add in Givens and Yimi and you are set up for a league of that size….well done

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