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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 26.

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.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

Relief Pitcher Waiver Wire - Week 26 Pickups

Steve Cishek, Chicago Cubs

4 Saves, 23 Holds, 2.32 ERA, 66.0 IP, 75 K, 1.02 WHIP

If one closer going down with an injury is bad, two closers going down with an injury is tragic. In tragedy, the Chicago Cubs present an opportunity to Steve Cishek. Former closer Cishek is receiving this chance in the thick of a postseason race. This year, opponents are hitting .181 against Cishek. With his 90.4 mph sinker and 77.6 mph slider, Cishek is striking out batters at a great rate. Surviving the injury bug circulating in the Cubs bullpen, Cishek is familiar with the closer's role so he is a worthwhile waiver wire claim. The division is not decided yet so every win will be important.

Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels

4 Saves, 6 Holds, 0.59 ERA, 15.1 IP, 19 K, 0.91 WHIP

The Los Angeles Angels have shown comfort and faith in Ty Buttrey to handle late-game situations. The rookie has recorded three holds and four saves in the month of September alone. Striking out over a batter per inning and generating a ground ball on 61.1 percent of batted balls, Buttrey is increasing his value with every appearance he makes. Opponents are hitting .185 against him this year. He is getting above league average swings with well below league average contact. It is shocking that he has not been claimed in nearly 80 percent of fantasy leagues. If he remains available, immediately claim him. He has been a dominant and stable force in the Angels bullpen.

Jose Alvarado, Tampa Bay Rays

8 Saves, 31 Holds, 2.05 ERA, 61.1 IP, 74 K, 1.06 WHIP

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going out quietly this year and the unpredictable bullpen has allowed a pitcher like Jose Alvarado to shine. The 23-year-old lefty has seen almost every kind of role this year. He has closed games, secured holds and even come in to face one batter. Only lacking an “opening” appearance, Alvarado established he is a force for the late part of the game. Opponents are hitting .175 against the lefty. He is striking out more than a batter per inning and generating a ground ball on 55.2 percent of batted balls. The closer's label is not attached to one specific reliever in Tampa Bay but Alvarado maintains value by putting up excellent numbers in every important category.

Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros

1 Save, 18 Holds, 2.66 ERA, 67.2 IP, 95 K, 1.12 WHIP

The Houston Astros acquired Ryan Pressly with not much fanfare but he has made a resounding presence with this division leader. Since joining the Astros, Pressly has pitched to a sparkling 0.90 ERA over 20.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .132 against him during his tenure with the Astros. As a part of the Astros, he is regularly used in the seventh or eighth inning. He did record his second career save but his primary use will be as a part of the bridge to closer Roberto Osuna. With a 95.8 mph fastball, 89.7 mph slider and 83.0 mph curveball, Pressly should easily reach and exceed the 100-strikeout plateau out of the bullpen. He deserves an immediate waiver wire claim in all holds leagues.

Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox

5 Saves, 6 Holds, 2.28 ERA, 27.2 IP, 31 K, 1.34 WHIP

The Chicago White Sox are testing the waters of their organization to find out who is worth building around and who could serve as a trade chip. Bouncing between setup duties and closing duties, Nate Jones is looking to regain the reputation that made him a highly touted prospect once. With more than a strikeout per inning, Jones uses his 97.2 mph fastball and 88.8 mph slider to overpower batters. Despite having swing-and-miss stuff, his struggles with walking batters has been an ongoing issue for him since last year. If he can command the zone and minimize the walks, his value will elevate quickly and he will be cemented into the closer role. For now, he is a volatile add in a muddy closing situation in Chicago.

 

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