While holds are even tougher to predict than saves, the players we’ll highlight today include some elite setup men to target off the waiver wire for Week 2 of the fantasy baseball season.
The more likely an MLB team is to win, the more likely these pitchers will be eligible to earn the holds that could be the difference between winning or losing in your fantasy league.
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Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups for Holds
Jeremy Jeffress, Texas Rangers
1 Hold, 4.50 ERA, 4.0 IP, 3 K, 1.25 WHIP
Sam Dyson has made a mess of many of his recent save opportunities for the Texas Rangers, and the Rangers have their share of quality relievers. Matt Bush has been briefly sidelined with an injury so former closer Jeremy Jeffress stands to be the one to benefit the most. Formerly of the Brewers, Jeffress saved 27 games in 2016. Relying on a 93.1 MPH two-seam fastball, Jeffress continues to generate ground balls at a 75 percent pace. Jeffress will continue as a stable force setting up Dyson or as the eventual closer for the Rangers in the near future.
Jake McGee, Colorado Rockies
1 Save, 1 Hold, 3.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 6 K, 1.33 WHIP
The Colorado Rockies have a formidable bullpen. Full of former closers, the Rockies can count on lefty Jake McGee to bridge a lead to the closer, Greg Holland. McGee still relies on a 95.2 MPH fastball but he will incorporate breaking balls as the season progresses. If he can maintain a significant ground ball rate in the hitter-friendly Coors Field, McGee will secure numerous holds in the 2017 season.
Sean Doolittle, Oakland Athletics
1 Save, 1 Hold, 0.00 ERA, 2.2 IP, 7 K, 1.13 WHIP
Formerly the full-time closer for the Oakland Athletics in 2014, Sean Doolittle finds his moments to close out games few and far between now. The lefty utilizes a 94.7 MPH fastball and 81.3 MPH slider and currently averages well over a strikeout per inning in the early days of the 2017 season. With Ryan Madson and Santiago Casilla; Doolittle factors in as both a closer or setup reliever depending on the batters that will be coming to the plate. Injuries slowed Doolittle down lately but early this season the swings he encourages from opposing batters on pitches out of the zone is 47.2 percent, nearly 20 percent beyond the league average. That will even out over time but for now, Doolittle looks to be a solid holds candidate with a sprinkle of save opportunities.
Blake Parker, Los Angeles Angels
1 Hold, 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP, 9 K, 0.60 WHIP
The Los Angeles Angels bullpen has been patched together with numerous unknowns and Blake Parker is slowly starting to separate himself from the pack. Mixing his 93.9 MPH fastball with his 83.3 MPH split-fingered fastball, Parker is generating 54.5 percent ground balls while above league average swings out of the zone. Maintaining close to the 12.9 percent swinging strike rate that Blake Parker will continue justifying his use in late-inning situations as he holds down leads and strikes out over a batter per inning.
Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds
2 Holds, 0.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 7 K, 0.50 WHIP
Part of one of the best bullpens of the early 2017 season, Michael Lorenzen is effectively bridging to saves. Primarily using a cutter at 93.1 MPH with a 97.3 MPH fastball and 86.8 MPH slider, Lorenzen averages just over a strikeout per inning while keeping the ball grounded at a 76.9 percent rate. He generates a lot of swings from the opposition but the contact does not come with these swings. The Reds are not likely to maintain this pace over the course of the season but as long as the wins are close, expect Lorenzen to help the Reds and your fantasy team hold it down if you put in a claim for him off the waiver wire.