Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens.  It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds.  That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation.  Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat.  In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role.  So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career?  It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore.  So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key.  The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board.  If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy.  That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds.  Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9.  That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation.  Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day.  So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!

Elite Options:

Team 1st Chair  2nd Chair  3rd Chair Wildcard
Indians Andrew Miller Nick Goody Dan Otero Tyler Olson
Yankees David Robertson Dellin Betances Chad Green Tommy Kahnle
Mariners Juan Nicasio Nick Vincent Dan Altavilla James Pazos
Orioles Mychal Givens Darren O’Day Miguel Castro Joely Rodriguez
Twins Addison Reed Trevor Hildenberger Taylor Rogers Gabriel Moya
Rockies  Bryan Shaw Jake McGee Adam Ottavino Chris Rusin
Nationals Ryan Madson Brandon Kintzler Enny Romero Koda Glover
Astros Chris Devenski Will Harris Joe Smith Brad Peacock

 

Good Options:

Team 1st Chair 2nd Chair Wildcard
Red Sox Joe Kelly Matt Barnes Carson Smith
Cubs  Carl Edwards Jr. Steve Cishek Pedro Strop
Brewers  Jacob Barnes Matt Albers Josh Hader
Mets A.J. Ramos Anthony Swarzak Jerry Blevins
Phillies Pat Neshek Tommy Hunter Adam Morgan
Giants  Sam Dyson Tony Watson Hunter Strickland
Cardinals  Dominic Leone Tyler Lyons Mike Mayers
Rangers Keone Kela Jake Diekman Matt Bush
Blue Jays Ryan Tepera Seung-hwan Oh Danny Barnes

Decent Options:

Team 1st Chair 2nd Chair Wildcard
Marlins Drew Steckenrider Kyle Barraclough Junichi Tazawa
Braves A.J. Minter Jose Ramirez Jacob Lindgren
Athletics Liam Hendriks Emilio Pagan Yusmeiro Petit
Diamondbacks  Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano Jimmy Sherfy
Padres  Kirby Yates Craig Stammen Phil Maton
Dodgers Scott Alexander Pedro Baez Tony Cingrani
Pirates  George Kontos Michael Feliz Edgar Santana
Rays Daniel Hudson Dan Jennings Andrew Kittredge

2A.M. Specials:

Team  1st Chair  Wildcard
White Sox Nate Jones Juan Minaya
Angels Blake Parker Kenyan Middleton
Tigers Alex Wilson Joe Jimenez
Royals Brandon Maurer Wily Peralta
Reds  Michael Lorenzen Wandy Peralta
  1. Nick says:
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    SMOKEY ^^

    just to say thanks for your posts
    the old ones and this “NEW HOLD” one !!! :p

    i kept Kenley and Cody for saves,
    to complete my team i picked:
    Hader : holds + prospect SP
    Givens / AJMinter
    and Nicasio, but dropped him to get a better OF in Michael Taylor , with Acuna sent down!

    looking at your ranks, Nicasio is better than AJ ?

    Nicky

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Nick: minter is the good….eventually and I think he gets more saves in the end. But initially it’s easier to grab Nicasio later than roster the Frosted Mint now.

  2. Pouss-Pouss says:
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    Hey, Smoke. Question:

    When you do these holds rankings, are you simply ranking them based on (1) who is likely to get the most holds or (2) who is likely to provide the most value to your team in a holds league? To me, there’s a big difference because a guy could pitch for a good team and be the clear #2 reliever (i.e., apt to get lots of holds) but have mediocre ratios/Ks.

    Take Minter, for example, you have him in the third tier. Is that because you think the Braves won’t win enough games to get him holds? Because you think his ratios will be middling? In a holds league, he’s a guy I really want to own because he’ll probably chip in ~20 holds (below average among the universe of ownable middle relievers) but he’s going to have a huge K/9 and I predict fantastic ratios.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Pouss-Pouss: I rank them by skill and how I think they will be in holds. Agree the number 2 guy on Seattle Vincent is more valuable than the lower guys by example. Minter gets more saves than holds I am predicting

  3. Rob says:
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    FIRST

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Rob: those flowing locks are always first in my heart

  4. Dan says:
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    In non-holds mock drafts, 12 team Yahoo 5×5, I’ve been grabbing Andrew Miller circa round 11 if I missed out on my target Starters by that round.

    But I’ve been thinking, I can grab Chad Green close to last in my draft and get similar production, sans the chance for Saves. Or even David Robertson.

    Green’s SIERA’s 2.03 & xFIP 2.55 were dynamite, better even than Miller’s. I don’t expect as much regression as Steamer is baking in and Miller is showing signs of slowing down.

    Would you pass on Miller for Green/DRob later on if you needed a ratio bump?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Dan: all based on league. Miller is being a tad over drafted in 12 teasers but in bigger leagues with more relievers in play he has value. Green and Drob are great value.

  5. Old School Brother says:
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    Kela and Diekman, mmmmmmm

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Old School Brother: Rangers have some sneak to them right now. I left of LeClerc too. Crazy.

  6. FF8007 says:
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    Saves Hold Roto League

    Peacock of Minter

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @FF8007: oof tough one. Peacock prolly gets the nod if I think of how they are going to use him. K’s galore. Multiple innings. Where are my pants?

  7. BB says:
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    Thanks, Smokey – one question: Leclerc used to be your Rangers wild card, what’s your current thinking on him? Only two walks in 11.2 spring innings, pretty impressive for him.

    p.s. – And just FWIW, Middleton is Keynan, not Kenyan (which is maybe why he’s not linking).

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @BB: to me Middleton is a country of goodness. Now I think he will be spelled that way from me on. LeClerc is a bit buried. Gotta see in season stuff before I’m going to commit to bumping him up.

      • BB says:
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        @Smokey: Makes sense, thanks! (Hey, wasn’t Obama born in Middleton?)

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @BB: I just spit out my Rolling Rock

  8. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    Broxbuger Brach Bedrosian. How do u have these ranked

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Brach cause he has the closer gig. Bedrosian less competition of competent arms than Box

      • AL KOHOLIC says:
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        @Smokey: thanks boss

  9. slimbo says:
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    hey man!

    question for you in m my keeper

    do you think i need to add green and edwards jr for ratios? svs era whip league

    current bullpen is
    osuna, giles, diaz, davis, bradley
    devinski, claudio, leone

    was thinking of dropping claudio and leone for green and edwards

    thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @slimbo: I think adding either Edwards or Green is the play. Both is too much. Claudio for CE jr

  10. Cheap Hold's Digger says:
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    A pair of guys that you can get practically for free that will find their way into setup roles or at least give some nice ratios while you wait:

    Jose Alvarado, TB
    Luis Avilan, CWS

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Cheap Hold’s Digger: like Alvarado more than Avila but you are 100% correct.

  11. Bill says:
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    Thanks Smoke, always good intel. Are you going to update your 2/6/18 top 50 RPs?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bill: that gets replaced by the in season closer holds post.

  12. tank1 says:
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    Have a draft strategy question. Play in a 10 team keeper league with large bench (9 spots) and 7 daily pitcher slots (not designated SP or RP). Holds is a separate 6th category. In this setting, how many closers and holds guys would you target? In the past, I have usually been able to grab at least 4 closers coming out of the draft. Wondering if this is too much or better to load up on volume. Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @tank1: if saves are a separate category having for in a ten team league is just about right. Should give you a good head start into winning or finishing in top 3.

  13. Bill Lee says:
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    Smokey, im thinking of making a speculative add for what i hope to be a future closer.

    which current closer will fail and who might step up in your opinion?

    right now im looking at Addison Reed or maybe Mychal Givens, but thought i would ask what
    you thought.

    thanks in advance for any response.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bill Lee: givens Edwards Jr. are easily my top two favorite adds. Emilio Pagan is the deeper add

  14. Alex says:
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    With Melancon being iffy would you recommend Strickland as a speculative saves pick up? I have no faith in Dyson or Watson

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Alex: speculative sure. But still think Dyson gets first crack

  15. BtheEsq says:
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    Hey Smokey,

    With news that Jordan Hicks is making the Cardinals OD roster, do you think he becomes a possible closer, or 8th inning guy, or is he just long relief? Would be be a good option for Holds from the SP spot when I dont have a SP that particular day (Yahoo, daily transactions, 3SP, 2RP, 4P roster spots).

    You like him or Peacock as my RP as SP for that random hold/ERA and WHIP help? Or someone else?

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @BtheEsq: I like Peacock over Hicks. Hicks is an interesting NL only guy right now with possibilities for more. Leone, Mayer and Lyon are all ahead of Hicks

      • b the esq. says:
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        @Smokey: Aye. Thanks for the thoughts.

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