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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 in Week 15.

One-inning middle relievers are the constant sources for holds and specialists can manage to secure a hold even with one out. However, while specialists can get many holds, their fantasy value is limited to how effective they are in their specific role. Long relievers are not a strong source of holds, they are often used in emergency or mop-up roles; reducing their likelihood to enter a game with the lead. The strongest setup relievers can even be eligible for saves on occasion.

Bottom line: 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. Let's get to it.

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Week 15 Waiver Wire RP Pickups for Holds

Jonathan Holder, New York Yankees

4 Holds, 1.83 ERA, 34.1 IP, 31 K, 0.76 WHIP

The New York Yankees had strong relievers and Jonathan Holder has elevated himself into the conversation too. Over 26 appearances and 31.2 innings between April and July, Holder allowed one earned run. Opponents are hitting .177 against Holder this year. Relying on a 92.7 mph fastball and 85.7 mph changeup, Holder is not striking out a batter per inning and fly balls coming on 51.1 percent of batted balls could be a cause for concern with his hitter-friendly home ballpark. His pitches are not overpowering but an above league average rate of first-pitch strikes and swing-and-miss pitches has gotten him ahead of batters and allows him to pitch scoreless innings. Holder is quietly befitting his name and could be a significant waiver wire claim for the occasional hold and scoreless innings.

Victor Arano, Philadelphia Phillies

1 Save, 4 Holds, 2.32 ERA, 31.0 IP, 33 K, 1.07 WHIP

Moving up the Philadelphia Phillies depth chart through effectiveness and health, Victor Arano can be counted on for holds on a surprising contender this year. The 23-year-old Arano began securing holds in mid-June and has not looked back. With an 84.0 mph slider and 93.4 mph sinker, Arano has opponents hitting .207 against him. He is averaging just over a strikeout per inning. He starts off batters with a first-pitch strike often and gets above league average swings with below league average contact. He has mostly entered the game in the eighth inning so he is a good candidate for holds.

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers

9 Holds, 2.35 ERA, 30.2 IP, 41 K, 1.01 WHIP

The Texas Rangers are having a rough season but reliever Jose Leclerc is shining in this dismal year. Armed with a 94.6 mph fastball and 80.5 mph changeup, Leclerc is holding opponents to a .139 batting average. The 24-year-old reliever has frequently been called upon for the seventh or eighth inning. While he is striking out well over a batter per inning, he is also allowing a base runner in every inning of work too. Leclerc is usually on the top of his game but the few times he has lost the strike zone, the game got away from him quickly. His good outings have outnumbered his bad outings so his value is high. Forgive him for his bad outings because his good ones are impressive.

Austin Gomber, St. Louis Cardinals

7 Holds, 3.77 ERA, 14.1 IP, 10 K, 1.33 WHIP

The St. Louis Cardinals are in a deep division race and reliever Austin Gomber has emerged as a stable bullpen force. The lefty has mostly been used in individual roles, getting one or two batters, but they have mostly been in crucial situations. Opponents are hitting .239 against the 24-year-old. With a 93.7 mph fastball and 78.3 mph curveball, Gomber is not striking out a batter per inning but still possesses swing-and-miss stuff. If innings are comfortably accounted for, Gomber is a worthwhile waiver wire claim because the Cardinals are using him in high leverage situations and he is rewarding them with success.

James Pazos, Seattle Mariners

13 Holds, 1.84 ERA, 29.1 IP, 27 K, 0.99 WHIP

The Seattle Mariners are not afraid to use their relievers and James Pazos is one that has certainly been worth his use. Pazos has been used in single batter appearances and multiple inning appearances. Opponents are hitting .234 against Pazos. The lefty is generating ground balls on 41.0 percent of batted balls. Oddly, Pazos is relying almost entirely on his 94.5 mph fastball, but is generating above average swings out of the zone and the subsequent weak contact. He is used situationally but that is usually in the seventh inning. The Mariners consistently use their relievers so Pazos is worth looking at for holds.

 

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