5 Setup Men To Own: Waiver Wire Pickups for Holds Leagues

Ryan Nakada breaks down 5 of the best players to own in fantasy baseball leagues that reward holds. These relief pitchers are also sleepers to get saves.

Ryan Nakada - RotoBaller


Setup Men For Holds Leagues

The holds statistic leaves us guessing who will enter the game in the right situation, and these players here include a couple former closers and stellar setup men. All of these players are capable of being reliable setup men for their respective teams and players worth considering adding if your league counts holds. A couple of these relievers could also be the first in line for the closer job if their fellow teammates cannot cut it at the end of games.


Ryan Cook, Oakland Athletics

2 holds, 9.1 innings, 0.96 ERA, 2 hits, 11 strikeouts

By mjl816 on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

While the closer is a bit in flux in Oakland, the A’s have some dependable relievers. The 26-year-old Ryan Cook has experienced time as the closer but finds himself mostly in the seventh inning and in close games. Cook throws a fastball that approaches 93 MPH and also produces a ground ball rate of 50%. His career average ground ball rate is 46.9% so he's showing improving skills there. If he can maintain this he will continue to be a force in the bullpen for the A’s along with Sean Doolittle and Luke Gregerson. Cook has had some success in the closing role but the bullpen is in good order now as the A’s fight atop the West, so he should get some holds here and there.


Michael Kohn, Los Angeles Angels

2 holds, 14 innings, 1.29 ERA, 6 hits, 10 walks, 16 strikeouts

Despite the closer title being taken from Ernesto Frieri and given to Joe Smith, the Los Angeles Angels have a dependable arm in reliever Michael Kohn. The Angels have some young arms that could be the blossoming pieces to a formidable pitching staff. Kohn, a 27-year-old righty got his two holds this season in his last four appearances. He is primarily a fastball pitcher (74.1%) and it clocks in at 94.4 MPH. A statistic that could be alarming is his over 50% fly ball rate on balls put in play. Kohn has a career HR/9 of 1.3 and this season has a HR/9 of 0.6 so despite the frequent fly ball, he has kept it in the ballpark.  With the number of runners he gives free passes too and the # of balls he puts in the air, implosions will be possible here when his great strikeout rate doesn't get him out of jams.


Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies

6 holds, 12.1 innings, 0.73 ERA, 8 hits, 15 strikeouts

Once thought to be a starting pitcher, Adam Ottavino looks to have found his calling in Colorado. So far this season, Ottavino has appeared in 14 games and many have come in close winning games around the seventh inning. He throws sliders and fastballs and has managed to get six holds through the first month of the season. Ottavino formerly spent time as both a reliever and spot starter with the Cardinals, and Ottavino was claimed off of waivers by the Rockies and put into the bullpen where he got 20 holds in the three seasons in Colorado.  He is a dominant reliever right now and with the wak Latroy Hawkins is holding down the closer gig, holds will be in order for Ottavino.


Alex Torres, San Diego Padres

2 holds, 11 innings, 0.82 ERA, 6 hits, 7 walks, 10 strikeouts

Traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Diego Padres, Alex Torres finds himself on a much different team but still succeeding. After having a 1.71 ERA in 58 innings on the Rays, Torres has posted a great 0.82 ERA in 11 innings through the first month of the season. The slim margin is not a huge factor in his success or failure but it may indicate he is making the most of the ballpark that he plays 81 games in. While with the Rays, the 26-year-old from Venezuelan had a fly ball rate of 36.5% and a ground ball rate of 43.6%. Now in the spacious Petco Park, Torres has flipped the numbers and now has a 42.3% fly ball rate while getting a ground ball 38.5% of the time. Torres has adapted to his surroundings and continues to be a very successful pitcher in his short time in the big leagues.


Brandon Kintzler, Milwaukee Brewers

1 hold, 7 innings, 1.29 ERA, 5 hits

The Brewers have the best record in the league and the leader in saves in Francisco Rodriguez, but a returning reliever could prove important to their continued success. Reliever Brandon Kintzler recently returned to the team after spending time on the disabled list. The 29-year-old Kintzler may not be an ideal fantasy pickup as he does not strikeout a ton of hitters (career 7.3 K/9) but he has a very good sinker that he uses almost 50% of the time and generates a 57.9% ground ball rate with it. Last season, he had a 2.69 ERA over 77 innings. While Jim Henderson is the go-to setup man, Kintzler has proven to be dependable and should see time in winning games to pass along the lead to Francisco Rodriguez.