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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 17.

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 17 Waiver Wire RP Pickups for Holds

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres

2 Saves, 16 Holds, 1.43 ERA, 37.2 IP, 48 K, 0.88 WHIP

Stop, go to your fantasy league and pick up Kirby Yates. If the new San Diego Padres closer is not available, cry. The Padres made a big move sending away closer Brad Hand so Yates will slide into the closer role for as long as he remains on the Padres. In Yates' five-year career, the more work he gets, the better he has done. This year, Yates is striking out more than a batter per inning and is allowing less than a baserunner per inning. Opponents are hitting .167 against Yates. The 31-year-old Yates is having his best season this year so claim him while he is still securing saves in San Diego.

A.J. Minter, Atlanta Braves

4 Saves, 11 Holds, 3.20 ERA, 39.1 IP, 43 K, 1.27 WHIP

The Atlanta Braves recently sent Arodys Vizcaino back to the disabled list so A.J. Minter stands to gain closing opportunities in his absence. The 24-year-old Minter has opponents hitting .240 against him this year. Minter is striking out more than a batter per inning but his bad outings are very bad. Mixing a 96.6 mph fastball and 91.5 mph cutter, Minter is getting above-league-average swings with below-league-average contact. Excuse him for the occasional hiccup as his positive outings have been great. He will be the first in line for save opportunities while Vizcaino is sidelined.

Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics

4 Saves, 12 Holds, 1.22 ERA, 44.1 IP, 50 K, 0.95 WHIP

The Oakland Athletics are doing what they can to stay in the race for the postseason and Lou Trivino has emerged as a great reliever. The 26-year-old rookie is having a great first year, striking out more than a batter per inning and allowing less than a baserunner per inning. Opponents are putting the ball on the ground 52.5 percent of the time and that is to be expected against a 97.4 mph sinker and 92.1 mph cutter. Opponents are hitting .152 against Trivino. The Athletics have an All-Star closer in Blake Treinen but when they have so many close games, Trivino sees closing opportunities just to give him a day off.

Kyle Crick, Pittsburgh Pirates

2 Saves, 9 Holds, 1.98 ERA, 36.1 IP, 37 K, 1.21 WHIP

The Pittsburgh Pirates have started to decline but Kyle Crick has emerged as a strength. Primarily in the eighth inning, Kyle Crick has not allowed a run in his last 14 appearances. He strikes out about a batter per inning with his 95.7 mph fastball and 81.9 mph slider. Opponents are hitting .203 against Crick. Pirates' closer Felipe Vazquez has been rumored to be a trade target. If Vazquez is traded, Crick will be the first in line for saves with the Pirates.

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers

11 Holds, 2.18 ERA, 33.0 IP, 48 K, 1.00 WHIP

The Texas Rangers have a strong reliever in Jose Leclerc. The 24-year-old Leclerc has improved on all of his statistics. He is walking less batters while he is striking out more. Armed with a 94.7 mph fastball and 80.6 mph changeup, Leclerc has been throwing swing-and-miss stuff. His 49.2 percent fly ball rate is too high in a hitter-friendly ballpark but he has kept opponents to one home run this year. Opponents are hitting a dismal .138 against Leclerc this year. He has firmly been in the seventh or eighth inning for the Rangers. His strong first half of the season justifies a waiver wire claim for anyone seeking statistics across the board.

 

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