Holds….Some people consider it a made up stat, I say hogwash or peeee-shaw. For the people who play in the leagues where the stat matters, it matters. That’s about as devout as I can get since I had to sell my soapbox to pay for my addiction of collectible thimbles. Now, I get it, the Hold stat isn’t for everyone. The basis of actually being a stat is wonky at best. These guys do more than just come in for one inning or one batter, they hold your periph numbers in check. If you don’t believe, that’s fine, I don’t believe myself half the time. Heck, I have no reading comprehension, so it’s more of a “in one ear out the other” type thing. See, I already forgot what I was discussing here. So this year, some of the top options that are going to be the go-to-holds guys are actually jumping up and taking the starring role for their teams due to injury. So I will delve into a few situations to monitor from a Holds perspective. As well as a nice handy chart with some predictions, on the side of caution, for the top-20 middle relievers. The focus will be on them garnering the coveted stat of the Hold.
Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!
Two of the top-10 options look to be the opening day closers for their clubs to start the year. So I am lumping them together, Voltron style. They are Brad Boxberger and Tyler Clippard. Of the two, I can see both running away with or maintaining the jobs for an extended period of time. This is mostly because of the injuries to Jake McGee and Sean Doolittle look to be prolonged. I am not trusting Doolittle at any point in time this year, as I am a little leery of the shoulder injury. Let’s be honest, Clippard has closing experienced and is extremely seasoned at the end of game situations. He has five seasons above the checked box mark of 10 K/9, and is an extremely economical control guy with a mark below 3 BB/9. He is easily ahead of the next guy in Ryan Cook if/when Doolittle returns from injury, and will be either in the 8th or 9th inning role all year. He is my early leader in NSVH for the year.
Brad Boxberger is another gem in the constantly recirculating bullpen factory know as San Diego. He came over to TB last year and basically destroyed it. He has the nod in all departments from my view, K’s over 14.47, BB/9 2.87, and a K/BB of 5.20. Yeah, those are fairly staggering, and makes you forget about guys like Dominic Leone, but if you want me to put up some fancy charts to prove why I can. The only thing that makes me a little tentative to snuggle up next to B-Rad is that the Rays aren’t going to be very good, so the chances might not be as frequent for him as other guys. Well guess what, that is actually good for you and me because you will get him even cheaper. No one wants a loser, my mom told me that. Now his K potential alone is drool-inducing, and since relief pitching predictability is about as reliable as a post-it actually adhering to something for longer than a day, I would be remiss if I didn’t call him this year’s Wade Davis (minus the SP/RR eligibility he had from last year). I am giving him the vote as the breakout guy to be that pivot man you should roster for most of the year and stream off of him. So for the Box, I am predicting 7-3, 2.15 ERA, 118 K in 76 IP. Now for those who don’t know, those are pretty cautious numbers, because if you didn’t know he basically would be worse than last year. Sleep on that.
Everything good comes in three’s, blind mice, boobs and relief pitchers. My last guy that I wanna throw out to all y’all is not a better known name but he will be short enough. Go take a look at Evan Marshall and the cavalcade of injuries he has in front of him. Addison Reed and Brad Ziegler are both dinged up and looking doubtful for opening day. Marshall would be next man up, but he may be the best man up. Last year he finished up strong for an awful team that sputtered to the finish. His last 32 appearances had a 4/1 K/BB rate and garnered 8 Holds during that time. Not a huge number, but consider this the D-Backs won only 17 games past August 1st. So what can Marshall do for you to not be an empty seat? Well, if he is getting save chances he needs to be rostered. But he can offer you 10+ K/9 potential and will be in the 24-28 range for NSVH on the season. Pretty nifty if you draft a DL guy and boom, you add him in as a bench RP option for the first 2-3 weeks of the year. Worst that happens is you switch to a hotter hand. So keep an eye on his early usage whether in the closer role or set-up, game situations dictates everything for relievers.