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Holds Leagues - Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds for Week 19


Well, that was a fun trade deadline! 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 19.

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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Relief Pitcher Waiver Wire - Week 19 Pickups

Jace Fry, Chicago White Sox

1 Save, 10 Holds, 4.36 ERA, 33.0 IP, 42 K, 1.00 WHIP

With Joakim Soria dealt, reliever Jace Fry appears to be a strong candidate for saves on the Chicago White Sox. The bloated ERA is alarming but the surrounding numbers for the 24-year-old Fry speak differently. While he could be a dominant lefty specialist, with left-handed batters hitting .086, opponents as a whole are hitting .175 against him. With a 92.5 mph fastball, 87.7 mph slider and 76.5 mph curveball, Fry is striking out well over a batter per inning. Progressing to an eighth-inning role, Fry is generating a ground ball on 44.7 percent of batted balls so he is getting the right kind of contact. This worthwhile waiver wire claim has had his numbers blown out of proportion in front of the third-worst defense in the league.

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers

15 Holds, 2.27 ERA, 39.2 IP, 56 K, 1.01 WHIP

The Texas Rangers unloaded closer Keone Kela and reliever Jake Diekman so expect Jose Leclerc to get the first opportunities at saves. The 24-year-old Leclerc is having a good season, holding opponents to a .157 batting average. Relying on his 94.8 mph fastball and 80.6 mph changeup, Leclerc is striking out well over a batter per inning. Leclerc is primarily a seventh and eighth inning reliever to this point. Leclerc possesses above-league-average swing-and-miss stuff and should be claimed on the waiver wire.

Seung Hwan Oh, Colorado Rockies

2 Saves, 15 Holds, 2.52 ERA, 50.0 IP, 56 K, 1.00 WHIP

Looking to patch up what they thought they made a strength, the Colorado Rockies added Seung Hwan Oh to their bullpen. Upon joining the Rockies, Oh has already secured two holds in three appearances. The veteran is having a good season, looking more like the pitcher that arrived from Korea in 2016. Opponents are hitting .213 against the 35-year-old. Pitching a 91.6 mph fastball and 84.1 mph slider, Oh is striking out more than a batter per inning this year. For his own longevity this year, he may need to lower the 51.1 percent of batted balls in the air now that he pitches in the hitter-friendly Coors Field but he is restoring order in the Rockies bullpen.

Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros

8 Holds, 3.42 ERA, 50.0 IP, 70 K, 1.32 WHIP

The Houston Astros acquired Ryan Pressly to strengthen their bullpen for the final push to the division title. The 29-year-old Pressly was mostly used in the seventh inning for the Minnesota Twins and he could slot right into there for the postseason-contending Astros. Opponents are hitting .245 against Pressly but his 95.8 mph fastball, 89.6 mph slider and 82.7 mph curveball are swing-and-miss caliber. Pressly is striking out 12.6 per nine innings this year. His high strikeout rate with a 50.6 percent ground ball rate will elevate his value as a potential waiver wire claim.

Mychal Givens, Baltimore Orioles

1 Save, 15 Holds, 4.92 ERA, 53.0 IP, 59 K, 1.51 WHIP

Unfortunate timing to have a poor season, Mychal Givens remained with the Baltimore Orioles instead of competing with a contender after the trade deadline. Givens is having a rough year but will still slot into the closer role on the rebuilding Orioles. The 28-year-old Givens is giving up a hit per inning and is walking more than his career numbers indicate. Opponents are hitting .267 against Givens this year. He is still having a good strikeout rate this year, more than a batter per inning. Any other year, Givens would be a high-priority waiver wire claim but his value comes in his opportunities. What he does with them will be erratic so he is a low-priority waiver wire claim if your team can afford the risk that comes with the 2018 Mychal Givens.

 

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