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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 2 and the start of the baseball season.

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 3 Waiver Wire RP Pickups for Holds

Robert Gsellman, New York Mets

1 Hold, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 9 K, 1.00 WHIP

The New York Mets' rotation is healthy, so far, so Robert Gsellman has taken on a bullpen role. Pitching like a starter in the bullpen, Gsellman has put more velocity behind his pitches. Last year, Gsellman averaged 92.7 mph on his fastball and this year it is up to 94.1 mph. With the added velocity in smaller appearances, there is the increased his strikeout rate as expected. Barring any injuries, Gsellman looks set to contribute to the Mets from the bullpen. With his aggressive approach out of the bullpen, look to the 24-year-old as a potential holds candidate while the Mets ride the hot streak.

Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

1 Save, 1 Hold, 1.13 ERA, 8.0 IP, 11 K, 0.63 WHIP

Like the Mets, a very strong Houston Astros starting rotation has relegated Brad Peacock to a bullpen role in 2018. Peacock has not seen an increase in his velocity to this point in the season, maintaining a 92.8 mph sinker and 81.3 mph slider as his primary pitches. The 30-year-old Peacock has found himself in the late-third of the game through the early part of the season so it shows he is getting opportunities at holds. Opponents are hitting to a .138 batting average against Peacock and he is showing an ability to strikeout more than a batter per inning. He is a strong holds candidate on a team with high expectations.

Blake Wood, Los Angeles Angels

2 Holds, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 5 K, 1.00 WHIP

The Los Angeles Angels have a lot of candidates for holds and saves but Blake Wood was not one of the relievers expected to emerge as one. The 32-year-old Wood secured two quick holds early in the season but has not notched a hold in his last six appearances but still carries a scoreless ERA. With a 95.3 mph fastball and 89.0 slider, Wood keeps batted balls on the ground at a 58.8 percent rate. However, throwing more first-pitch strikes will benefit him, forcing batters to swing at his pitches out of the strike zone at a higher rate and seeing his strikeout rate approach and exceed his career 8.6 rate. The results do not reflect it but Wood continues to be used at important situations so he is a worthwhile watch and potential add for holds.

Sam Freeman, Atlanta Braves

2 Holds, 0.00 ERA, 6.1 IP, 5 K, 0.79 WHIP

In his career, Sam Freeman had a tendency to be used as a specialist but with the Atlanta Braves, he sees a variety of use. Armed with a power sinker at 94.4 mph and an 85.7 mph changeup; Freeman has generated ground balls on 50.0 percent of batted balls in this season. The Braves have been unleashing Freeman on their opponents at various parts of the game. At any instance between the sixth and eighth inning, Freeman will pitch to one batter or one-plus inning. Freeman will approach a strikeout per inning and should be considered a candidate for holds.

Yoshihisa Hirano, Arizona Diamondbacks

3 Holds, 2.45 ERA, 7.1 IP, 5 K, 0.82 WHIP

The Arizona Diamondbacks possess a bullpen with many capable closers. So it is no surprise that Yoshihisa Hirano is making a strong impression in his rookie campaign in the majors. Equipped with a 91.5 mph fastball and 83.2 mph splitter, Hirano relies on getting ahead of the count and forcing batters to swing at his pitch. Keeping the ball low, batted balls against the 34-year-old are a ground ball 47.6 percent of the time. His style of pitching will not generate high strikeout numbers but it is a stable source of holds with low walks and weak contact.

 

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