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.

 

Name Holds BS
Tony Watson 36 4
Wade Davis 34 3
Andrew Miller 32 1
Joe Smith 32 5
Jordan Walden 31 6
Danny Farquhar 30 4
Brad Boxberger 30 5
Jonathan Broxton 28 5
Pedro Strop 27 6
Sergio Romo 26 4
Casey Fien 26 5
Evan Marshall 25 3
Casey Janssen 24 5
Kevin Quackenbush 24 4
Joel Peralta 23 6
Joakim Soria 23 4
Darren O’Day 23 4
Zach Duke 22 5
Bryan Shaw 22 5
A.J. Ramos 22 5

 

  1. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Love me some box burger….I’m a cunning linguist as well.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: Consider me the Michael Douglas of relievers then

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Smokey: Don’t hurt yourself handsome.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: I am a cunning tactician.

  2. Nico says:
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    I missed out on all these fuzzy handcuffs you mentioned over the last two weeks in the NFBC bc I’m slow in the head and bc I felt okay with my closers (if they stay healthy, HA!), but I snagged Motte and Tony Watson due to your never ending RP wisdom. That was after I assumed the NFBC fugged up and missed Quackenbush as a player… so as I’m trying to figure out how to add him as a “reserve,” (aka emailing Grey), he tells me Quacks was taken about 5 rounds earlier! I’m a mess. I really wanted to bush, ya know? Pro-bush around these parts. Those are words that might make Tehol cringe. So what was the point of this again? Oh yeah, hey thanks.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Nico: Wow I actually had to read that twice to see if I missed something…I did’t right?

      • Nico says:
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        @Smokey: haha nah purely informational!

  3. david says:
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    Great stuff!!
    What do you make of Anthony Gose? I don’t want to ” sleep” on him…. He’s truly grabbing my attention as a potential contributor in my 12 team mixed league team.
    What do you make of all the buzz?
    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @david: He is basically Rajai Davis with the defensive ability. He is a last round pick in the situation you are describing but nothing more than a 5th OF as of right now. Keep an eye on Tyler Collins there kid can really rake watched him in the minors very mature approach.

  4. Grant says:
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    Before next weekend, when my draft is, could you do a list that has holds leaders you predict with SP availability in Yahoo. We have holds, and I usually try to get 2 closers and 2 mids, and if 1 of those middle guys can have SP eligability that helps.

    Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Grant: Well here’s Rudy’s post https://razzball.com/sprpeligiblepitchers2015/
      it’s slim pickings for guys that I can see getting more than 8-10 Holds on the year. Most of the guys this year look to be rotation possibilities. I will keep updating during the season once some guys gain additional elig.

  5. Sam says:
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    Good Read! What are your thoughts on Richards? Does he make it through the season? I’m avoiding Tanaka even though watching him freeze Freddie yesterday made it super tempting.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Sam: I think Richards will be fine may miss his first few turns. Will end the year as a top 30 SP. Tanaka is going to be babied the first month and the Yanks are going to employ a 6th starter when they can.

  6. Clint says:
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    What do you make of this Nathan shit-uation? Dude stunk last year and they stuck with him and now he’s getting booed off spring training mounds? Will the Tigers man up & go Soria already, is Paps in play, or are we just faced w/the prospect of drafting him late & going down w/his ship?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Clint: Yea he is just about out of gas. I have seen Soria being drafted in front of him in a few drafts and I wouldn’t recommend drafting Nathan as more than a save flyer at this point. The end is nigh. I don’t see paps traded until during the year as it will play down his huge contract first real contender with an injury or lack of good option will jump at him, Blue Jays are the team that jump out right now.

  7. ashtray says:
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    Will you be updating your preseason closer tiers or do they still stand as is from your 2/6 article?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @ashtray: Going up next week. If you are torn between 2 guys or need something before then hit me up here or on twitter @smokey_loogy will be glad to answer anything

  8. GhostTownSteve says:
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    I feel like Neshek ends up closing in Houston. Gregerson just hasn’t seemed comfortable in the closer role for some reason. You believe in Neshek’s numbers from last year?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @GhostTownSteve: This is the one team that I can’t figure out. They sign Neshek and Gregerson and both have been getting hype here or there as closer, but really what did incumbent closer Chad Qualls do that he is being totally disregarded there. He had more saves last year then Gregerson has in his Career and if he was so bad for a bad club mind you he had less blown saves than Gregerson did pitching for a playoff team. Maybe I am missing something. I love Neshek this year and was tentative to add him on the list above as I think if Houston saves 40 games this year as a team it will be split amongst all three, which is bad for rostering.

  9. Rich Gurbacki says:
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    Any chance of a “Holds” article before next Friday ?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Rich Gurbacki: What else do you wanna know, I already broke down the classes of relievers and now this with 20 usable options. if you have something specific you want I am more than happy to answer it here.

  10. SallyCips says:
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    We have saves and holds in my league and usually I end punting one, usually holds. This year I drafted Britton, McGee, Nathan, Qualls, and Mujica. Dropped Mujica for Aaron Sanchez, but looks like he more than likely won’t fill in at closer in Toronto. So thinking Soria as an addition to handcuff Nathan.

    And like you mentioned in the comments above, Qualls has done nothing to be demoted. I haven’t heard of anyone on the team saying so either. I think this more the beat and national writers needing something to write about. Gregorson went way higher, too, so hoping for the last laugh here.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @SallyCips: def add Soria fast. Cool so I am not crazy guy in corner alone on Qualls

      • SallyCips says:
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        @Smokey: Yup, done deal, grabbed Soria. That one change makes me feel a lot better about that corp. I’ll figure out a replacement for McGee once he hits the DL as Boxberger was taken in the draft. Marshall sounds tasty.

  11. PhatBoy71 says:
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    Who do you think will fill in whiles Jansen is out Smokey? And great stuff as always !

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @PhatBoy71: League with a mix of Peralta if and when he gets healthy

  12. gordon shumway says:
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    Who would be your top 5 recommendations for middle relievers who would have good stats and be pretty safe to NOT turn into saves dudes. I’m all in on holds and not looking for holds dudes who will turn into saves guys. Thanks, smokey!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @gordon shumway: To not turn is hard and to not have good stats is worse because if they are good and injuries happen. But guys like Will Smith, Mike Dunn, Jake Diekman, Neil Ramirez and Dale Thayer come to mind

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Smokey: this is leone territory also. actually he’s the definition of this, yes? kelvin too.

  13. Rubik's Pube says:
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    Haha, I ended up sniping Clippard and Boxgerger with my last 2 picks in my RCL draft. I can’t stand paying for saves. If they end up running away with the closing duties, it could be a pretty sweet bargain bin deal for saves and K’s.

  14. Ty says:
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    What do you predict in the Toronto closer situation thru throughout the season?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Ty: Cecil starts the year there and the guy with the most saves for them isn’t on their roster yet

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Smokey: soriano, i presume, is the name not mentioned.

  15. Jb says:
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    I’m looking for some late round save vultures how would you rank Giles, Quackenbush, motte, Sanchez, ottavino and Parnell in terms of most likely to get saves and who takes the closer job first?? Thanks for all the good prep work that you do

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Jb: Giles,Ottavino, Quack, Parnell, Motte, Sanchez

  16. the swinging says:
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    U da man.

    Got my eye on marshall.

    How bout another seemingly 3rd in line guy who I think will get save chances at least early…

    Chris Hatcher, LAD, 0% owned.

    Joel peralta sucks as a closer and mattingly has yet to name peralta the replacement closer. Peralta is 12 for 36 in his career in save conversions. Last season he had 1 save in 7 tries!! Yes he blew 6 of 7 chances last year. He’s simply not a closer. Mattingly knows this.

    Really like hatchers chances to take the role while jansen is injured.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @the swinging: Thanks…Yeah Peralta is crap there but Mattingly is a vetran prefernce guy. JP Howell maybe a dark horse. The Dodgers have some tough roster decisions to make as they have a lot of guys they may need to keep on the roster who are out of options, but I like the Hatcher pull well done sir

      • the swinging says:
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        @Smokey: yea hatcher is an easy add if u got the space. Peralta ain’t gettin that job. Mattingly is more old school also, doesn’t care that peralta has a great k:bb and low whip if he’s blown 2/3 of his career save tries. Peralta has a set up guy lablel. Gl.

        • B says:
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          @the swinging:

          Just curious for info – I do know that you can get a blown save outside of the 9th inning, do you know if those numbers relate to the 9th only or any blown save chance?

          Thanks.

          • Smokey

            Smokey says:
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            @B: a blown save occurs in all situations that a save would whether it be in inning 6,7 or 8, a blown hold is the same as a blown save.

            • B says:
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              @Smokey:

              Ok thanks. So, given this info, showing Peralta’s blown saves numbers, does that accurately reflect how he’d do in the 9th? If most of those happened before the 9th then perhaps we don’t have the data to suggest that he shouldn’t get the opportunity. It may be the case but just trying to understand the numbers to come up with the above conclusion.

      • DanThePoorMetFan says:
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        @Smokey:
        Hey Smokey, what about this guy for the Dodgers… Adam Liberatore?

        What do you know of him and is he worth rostering in a 16 team Dynsaty League? I have read somewhere he could emerge in the backend of the Dodgers bullpen.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @DanThePoorMetFan: decent arm for a set-up guy, no real experience as a closer throws hard. Is more that late developing throws hard reliever think a LH Evan Reed.

  17. the swinging says:
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    where do you think rAfa Soriano will end up? And when? If you had to guess.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @the swinging: He is waiting for a desperate/contending team, Toronto is still my guess. April 4th

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Smokey: as per above… answered here.

  18. Zach says:
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    @Sky Is Carlos Martinez (STL) worth an add? I could drop someone like Alcides Escobar, Masterson, J Kang, Nick Castellanos.

    Your input is appreciated.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Zach: I’m no good for advice….lol What does Masterson do that Martinez can’t do and better

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Size of league? Probably not but dropping Masterson for him isn’t a bad thing. Overall, I think Marco Gonzalez becomes the SP5 in STL.

      • Zach says:
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        @Sky: 12 team league, Head to Head. It would be for a 5-6 SP option. So it comes down to either Masterson or Martinez.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Sky: Well I disagree with Gonzalez, because the Cardinals have 18 million dollars in Garcia and on pure stuff Martinez is better. Gonzalez will inevitably be in AAA to start the year and will be back when someone goes down.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Ha, saw your comment next to my comment on the back end of the site and thought it was on my post. I’d discuss more with ya but this is your rodeo. This cowboy is getting out of your arena!

          • Smokey

            Smokey says:
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            @Sky: no dude it’s cool, that other topic was way off the Travis Snider beaten path. You’re always welcomed in my post, anyone that I have shared a beer with is welcome. Except Nico, he drinks Zima with a straw.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              HA. Yeah, I like Carlos Martinez, just not sure if he’s starter material or bullpen material, at least for this year. I completely understand the contract issue with Jaime but given his injury history, I have a hard time seeing him stick it out. Marco doesn’t do anything amazing but is a solid control arm. Could see him having around a 3.50 to 3.75 ERA with a 7.5 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 rate. Of course, it’s me trying to read the tea leaves with a team but between those three, I see Marco getting the majority of the starts.

              • Smokey

                Smokey says:
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                @Sky: I can see all of them seeing 15 plus starts, with all the history and specualtion of injury in that rotation. Good rotation depth is never a bad thing.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Totally, and it’s definitely how it could play out. In a 12 teamer, speculating on Martinez ain’t a bad thing when Masterson is the competing arm but I’m team Marco for this year.

              • Zach says:
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                @Sky: Note taken. I will hold off on Carlos.

                • Zach says:
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                  @Zach: Great. Marco is available in my league, so maybe I will just keep an eye on him.

                  Gracias

                  • Smokey

                    Smokey says:
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                    @Zach: lol

  19. Dakotablake says:
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    Smokey,

    I’m in a 12 team roto keeper league. I can keep Boxberger in the 24th round or Cole Hamels in the 7th. Which one would you choose?

    My other keepers are Marte (10th), Rizzo (13th), Arrenado (16th), David Robertson (17th), S. Grey (18th), and JD martinez (23rd).

  20. mark m says:
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    I would add Ken Giles as a holder. He had 13 holds from July-Sept. He had 64 k’s in 45 ip. and he had a whip of 0.79. Plus, if Papelbon gets traded he’ll probably be the closer.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @mark m: Oh totally, I think he gets more saves than holds this year that was my thinking with not including him. He has been gone over in previous posts as a cuff.

  21. goodfold2 says:
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    holds aren’t any “less” of a stat than saves are. And there’s a lot more data saying holds guys (the good ones) are better for your peripherals (i.e. they are better pitchers) than closers as a group.

  22. Nick says:
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    SMoKeY,

    i’m torn about my final 2 keepers, should be pitchers:
    (10 teams – 14 keepers)
    my batters are full:
    C.Perez 1B. Encarnacion 2B. Altuve 3B. Carpenter SS. Desmond
    OF. Bautista Springer Myers Util. Wong
    (dropping Calhoun Kendrick Pearce) (some say “keep Kole over Myers”)
    SP1 Shields SP2 Gray SP3 Alex Wood

    2more to keep : SP – RP we also count Holds
    K.Jansen was the 1st on my list before injury
    then i have Allen / Melancon / Britton at RP
    and Archer Cashner Wheeler Salazar at SP
    (dropping Odorizzi Romo M.Moore)

    Would you still keep KJ for the future and pick a MR at the draft?
    Would you keep Allen ove Melancon and Britton: up for a big season with the Tribe
    if i keep a SP:
    I like Archer: high floor
    Salazar may get the 5t spot or begin in AAA wih upside
    Wheeler is cold in spring
    Casnher is hot : 7 scoreless innings in 2spring starts

    …and finally , as i won last year with this team, i pick 10th and 20th at the draft ;(

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Nick: keep Jansen and Allen, lock of your closers then you really don’t need to pick one for a bit in draft and can concentrate on best SP avail for your first 3-4 picks

  23. Mordacious Levator says:
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    if i have 5 RP slots and we have holds/saves/OPBA (12 team h2h dynasty) and i have F-Rod/Cecil/Rodney/Farquhar/Perkins and i think it’s possible I want to trade Cecil for a top holds guy instead of having 4 closers/1 holds guy i went to see what the A.Sanchez owner has at that position. he has cishek/a.sanchez/robertson/betances/w.smith. Since you think Cecil won’t be closing, along with W.Smith not really having Cecil’s value as a holds guy if/when Cecil goes back to holds duties, i should hold, right? Or should i wait till Cecil is in fact closing, and then attempt to trade him to a team that has too many great holds guys but not enough closers?

  24. Mordacious Levator says:
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    different dynasty, 20 team H2H with holds/k per 9/ relief wins/ relief appearances. i already have
    K-Rob/Melancon/Giles/Walden, need 3 more to fill roster (we just had draft but i kept full amount of players, 4 NA guys, and 2 DL guys, so have a lot of openings for waivers). This seem about right order?
    Jepsen/Marshall/Diekman/Cook/Mujica/Fien/Diaz (CIN)
    Morin/Barrett/Petricka/Furbush/Holdzkom/Bastardo/Salas
    also crockett and the 3 TEX guys that aren’t closers (do you agree with their order being scheppers/tolleson/fujikawa?). Want best stats first/saves/holds in that order.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mordacious Levator: Order looks ok, out of the three Texas guys I would gamble on Kyuji before the others

      • Mordacious Levator says:
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        @Smokey: thanks, where would you slot fuji into that long list? i’ll assume the others are behind that list.

  25. Gimme APetit for 200 says:
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    Only you can prevent people from drafting terrible or overvalued relievers. Always a fan of the articles. Boxy boy, in a league with Holds and quality pitching stats, has been great. Interesting to note about Marshall. Late draft fliers are always fun. Until they arn’t. But I digress.

    So I have an interesting question for ya. 10 team Roto, 6×6 (R/HR/RBI/OBP/SLG/SB + W/SV/Holds/ERA/WHIP/Kper9). Pitching starters are 4SP/2RP/3P and 5 bench for the team. I have a Chip Kelly-esque idea to chnage the league and win it- focus my attention near-fully on the best relievers (about 6-7 of them, split as 4-5 closers and rest set-up or baller relievers) as opposed to SP in the draft.

    The theory being the primo ones have bonkers good ERA, WHIP, and K/9 and would (well, in this crazy world, could) give me the categories of SV and Holds, and contend for W if streaming SPs are used. So my thought would be to aim for the Kimbrel-klass of closers when most people start looking at SPs after Kershaw-klass SPs are gone. And towards the mid-end of year, if my strangehold is strong enough, trade them out to improve other areas.

    Basically, I wanna cut the brakes and mess the league up. Wildcard, bitches.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Gimme APetit for 200: I was in a league where someone drafted 9 closers and started with Chapman and Holland then basically one every 3rd pick. Was interesting.

  26. David says:
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    In a 10 team H2H dynasty with SV+HD and OBA, current bullpen is Betances, Giles, Allen, and Doolittle, with Cecil as a fill in for Doolittle until he gets healthy. Would you drop Cecil for Soria, Walden, A. Reed, or Casilla? We have a limited number of transactions once the season starts (10), and the SV+HD format makes closers and set-up men virtually interchangeable.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
      (link)

      @David: Soria is just too tempting to not own now before he emerges as the closer

  27. And Now The Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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    16 teamer with holds 7X7 and 5 RP slots. i have cecil/mcgee/street/watson/kelvin. should i drop kelvin for quackenbush (recently dropped)?

  28. S>H says:
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    What do you think the odds are that Andrew Millers becomes the main closer in Ny, or is it Dellin all the way. and what do you think of Storen’s ability to keep the closers role or do you think AAron Barrett can sneek in and take some saves.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @S>H: I don’t think he takes over unless injury or disgrace, so ill put it at 20% chance of that though I hate predicting injuries. Three weeks ago I loved Storen, wanted to ask him to prom and was all up on it. I still like him but just LIKE, Barrett is the next real closer there, just may take a bit to happen. Janssen wiull be in between then and whe n it happens.

      • S>H says:
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        @Smokey:

        THanks Smoke,I like Janssen when he was in toronto but he stuff doesn’t scream closer.

Comments are closed.