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Getting A Grip: Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Holds

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Adam Warren") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

While the holds statistic is even harder to predict than saves for closers, the players we highlight today feature some sleeper setup men and some looking to reclaim glory they once had. The more likely an MLB team is to win, the more likely these following relief pitchers will be eligible to earn the holds that could be the difference between winning or losing in your fantasy league.

This week, four relievers are well-established in their roles with their respective teams. One is on a team that will not be in contention for postseason baseball but the other three will be pitching critical middle innings that bridge the starter to the closer as each win is important in determining who is a wild card team, division winner and outsider looking in as other teams move onto October baseball. The last reliever mentioned in this article is an outlier as he does not have a lot of history to support a pickup but his accolades in the minors may put him in the role of wild card for his respective team, supplying youth, power and an unknown factor to opponents as he tries to help his team make the postseason.

Editor’s Note:
 This piece is part of a weekly series on relief pitcher targets for holds. You can follow the entire series of holds analysis and sleepers to stay ahead of your competition.

Also be sure to check out our famous fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups list, which is broken down by every position with hot/trending players, and is updated every single day.


Adam Warren - New York Yankees

15 holds, 2.77 ERA, 52.0 innings, 49 strikeouts, 1.25 WHIP

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Adam Warren") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsWhile Dellin Betances is the big name in the middle relief of a very strong New York Yankees bullpen; Adam Warren is someone worth a good long look at. Once a starter, then put into the bullpen, Warren has flourished in his role.

He is among the league leaders in holds. He throws a basic set of pitches and often finds himself being the first man out of the bullpen, whether it be the sixth, seventh or eighth inning.

Something to be aware of with Adam Warren is that he has entered a tied game eight times and he has five losses so keeping a game tied is not one of the strengths of this righty.


Luke Gregerson - Oakland Athletics

16 holds, 2.01 ERA, 49.1 innings, 43 strikeouts, 1.03 WHIP

The designation for assignment given to Jim Johnson is introducing more capable relievers in the Oakland Athletics bullpen. Luke Gregerson is one of the more proven setup relievers in the game. The Oakland A’s are the best team in the league and Gregerson has appeared in 30 games with the lead and gotten a hold in over half of those appearances.

All-Star Sean Doolittle has a firm grasp on the closer’s role with his precision power pitching so Gregerson has a well-established role as the setup man. He has had just two bad appearances since the beginning of June; if he can keep up the success, the A’s will be headed deep into the postseason as will you in your fantasy league.


Jean Machi - San Francisco Giants

12 holds, 1.52 ERA, 41.1 innings, 21 strikeouts, 0.92 WHIP

After being the lucky charm in the San Francisco Giants’ bullpen, notching five wins in five games where the Giants scored soon after Jean Machi made his appearance; the righty has started to pile on the holds, the statistic a reliever like him is expected to put a big number in.

With an ERA around 1.50 and a WHIP under 1.00, Jean Machi has established his ability to be an effective reliever. He was credited with his first blown save of the season in the month of July but that was his only blip on the radar of July. The Giants are fighting with their heated rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Machi will have opportunities to get holds, if the Giants intend to be division champions, he will have to keep it up.


Jared Burton - Minnesota Twins

11 holds, 4.43 ERA, 40.2 innings, 31 strikeouts, 1.25 WHIP

While the Minnesota Twins are not in the thick of a postseason race, reliever Jared Burton is consistently among the league leaders of holds. His ERA is elevated north of 4.00 but he is still among the leaders in holds. He has a hold in over half of the games he has come in with the lead. He will likely not reach his career-high of 27 but he has not allowed a run in the month of July. He could be looking to finish the season on a strong note and get his ERA closer to his average.


Aaron Sanchez - Toronto Jays

1 hold, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 innings, 2 strikeouts, 0.00 WHIP

It’s not often that a player with one game would be a recommended pickup but Aaron Sanchez is one. The Toronto Blue Jays are in the thick of the race for a postseason spot, whether it be wild card or division. After hitting a skid in the road that saw them fall out of a postseason spot, the Blue Jays called up one of their top prospects.

Sporting a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and a sharp breaking ball, the Blue Jays are hoping to inject a surge of powerful youth to revitalize their team without Steve Delabar, once an all-star, and Sergio Santos, once an effective closer. He will likely be a starting pitcher in the long-term plans, but for the 2014 season and your fantasy team, he will be a reliever and a powerful one in that. He may be worth a spot if you have very strong relievers.


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