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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 3.

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

Ryan Buchter, Oakland Athletics

4 Holds, 1.93 ERA, 9.1 IP, 8 K, 1.39 WHIP

The Oakland Athletics have shown no hesitation to use the lefty Ryan Buchter against any batter. The lefty has held opponents to a .278 batting average this year. Buchter makes use of his pitcher-friendly home ballpark by generating a fly ball on 44.8 percent of batted balls. His distinct speed difference between his fastball (92.3 mph) and curveball (79.9) will allow him to reach and maintain a strikeout per inning rate over the course of the year. The A's will struggle to stay at .500 over the season but they have a strong setup reliever in Buchter through the early part of the season so he is a quality waiver wire pickup now.

Juan Nicasio, Seattle Mariners

7 Holds, 5.19 ERA, 8.2 IP, 8 K, 1.04 WHIP

The Seattle Mariners' Juan Nicasio has been a holds-machine, recording a league-leading seven to this point in the season. Nicasio has appeared in eight games this year and pitched in the eighth inning of all of them so his role is cemented. The high ERA can be justified by the small workload and he will bring this down to a respectable place. Primarily using a 93.2 mph fastball and 86.6 mph slider, Nicasio averages about a strikeout per inning while allowing a baserunner per inning as well. The Mariners are set in the eighth inning and Nicasio is a stable holds candidate to pickup.

Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox

3 Holds, 4.05 ERA, 6.2 IP, 8 K, 1.35 WHIP

The Boston Red Sox are one of the hottest teams in baseball and Matt Barnes is a force to be reckoned with in their bullpen. Opponents are hitting .143 against the hard-throwing Barnes. With a 94.7 mph fastball and 81.5 mph curveball, Barnes is averaging more than a strikeout per inning. But with unhittable pitches comes some wildness. Barnes has averaged about a walk per inning this season too. Barnes has reliably been used in high-leverage close games so he is trusted. Barnes is a strong holds candidate on a extremely strong contending team.

Dominic Leone, St. Louis Cardinals

3 Holds, 5.14 ERA, 7.0 IP, 11 K, 1.14 WHIP

Entering the season, Dominic Leone looked like a candidate for saves on the St. Louis Cardinals. For now, Leone settles for holds but he remains a strong reliever. With more than a strikeout per inning, Leone has had a strong performance in all but two of his eight appearances. As he pitches more scoreless innings, Leone will bring his early high ERA down. Be warned, when he is struggling, the ball will leave the ballpark so it could be a price to pay for picking up this reliever off the waiver wire.

Brandon Kintzler, Washington Nationals

3 Holds, 7.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 11 K, 1.56 WHIP

Brandon Kintzler got out of the gate poorly for the Washington Nationals, but has set things back on track with five consecutive scoreless appearances after three rough appearances. The seven runs over three innings early in the season bloated his ERA. Opponents are hitting .242 against Kintzler this year. If Kintzler can maintain his 45.5 percent ground ball rate, the ERA will continue to decrease as his holds pile up. Kintzler is currently striking out more than a batter per inning but he will probably strikeout less while still recording outs. The Nationals will contend for the division, if not more, so Kintzler is a strong holds candidate.

 

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