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Getting A Grip On Holds: Relief Pitcher Waiver Wire Pickups

By Stacie Wheeler [CC-BY-SA-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

While the holds statistic is even harder to predict than saves for closers, the relief pitcher sleepers we highlight today feature some solid setup men and some looking to reclaim glory they once had. The more likely their team is to win, the more likely these following relief pitchers will be eligible to earn the holds that could be the difference between winning or losing in your fantasy league.

This week, most of the relievers featured have had a great season before and are having another one this year. Others are looking to recover what they once had. One thing many of these relievers have in common is they are deep in a postseason race and will need to continue to have their impressive seasons if they want to be on the mound in October.


Waiver Wire Options For Holds

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a weekly series on relief pitcher targets for holds. You can follow the entire series of holds analysis and sleepers to stay ahead of your competition.

Also be sure to check out our famous fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups list, which is broken down by every position with hot/trending players, and is updated every single day.



Drew Storen, Washington Nationals

15 holds, 1.64 ERA, 38.1 innings, 32 strikeouts, 1.07 WHIP

By MissChatter on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsThe NL East-leading Washington Nationals have a great team up and down the roster. The offense is strong, the starting pitching is deep and the bullpen has a number of very effective relievers. The closer in years past, Drew Storen is now a member of the bridge from Nationals starting pitching to closer Rafael Soriano. His 2013 regular season was a difficult season, sporting an ERA over 4.50.

Since adjusting his pitching motion for this season, Drew Storen is returning to a very effective level. He has limited the opposition to just two home runs over 38.1 innings and often finds himself in high-leverage situations. If the Nationals can figure out a way to break away from the rest of the East, Storen and Tyler Clippard will be important after the strong starting pitching exits.


Casey Fien, Minnesota Twins

22 holds, 2.84 ERA, 50.2 innings, 41 strikeouts, 1.07 WHIP

Casey Fien will not find himself pitching in games that will push the Minnesota Twins into postseason contention. Normally a 48.7% fly ball rate is bad for a pitcher, but Casey Fien benefits from pitching in the spacious Target Field. His home ERA (1.90) is significantly lower than his road ERA (3.67) in nearly the same amount of innings, so if Fien is on your roster, home games are more ideal for his usage.

He doesn’t bring overpowering stuff to the mound, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but his work in the eighth inning setting up for All Star Glen Perkins, has gotten him 22 holds to this point in the season. Casey Fien is being effective with the stuff he has.


Yoervis Medina, Seattle Mariners

19 holds, 2.18 ERA, 41.1 innings, 40 strikeouts, 1.11 WHIP

The Seattle Mariners are deep in the race for a possible postseason spot. While Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez are the faces of the 2014 Seattle Mariners, Yoervis Medina is one of many parts to the backbone of the Mariners' success this season. Medina mixes in a mid-90s fastball with a slider and a curve.

He has nearly a strikeout per inning pitched, but he also manages to generate a ground ball on nearly half of the balls put in play. Opponents are hitting just .192 against Medina. Primarily used in the eighth inning, Medina is a valuable part of the bullpen and will continue to be one for this season and many to follow.


Brian Wilson, Los Angeles Dodgers

18 holds, 5.26 ERA, 39.1 innings, 50 strikeouts, 1.70 WHIP

By Stacie Wheeler [CC-BY-SA-1.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsThe numbers could deceive you, but Brian Wilson has started to establish himself as a very effective reliever again. After a difficult start to the season, Wilson had a great June. He had a small workload in July but will improve his numbers in the final two months of the season. His reputation as a dominant reliever is always with him, so his early-season struggles were very alarming.

Despite those difficulties, Wilson has pitched in 32 games with the lead, and nearly half of the situations he's appeared in have been high leverage ones. The Dodgers clearly trust that Brian Wilson’s early season was an anomaly and that he will get himself in the right direction as he proceeds to lower his ERA to a respectable level.


Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals

25 holds, 0.86 ERA, 52.1 innings, 81 strikeouts, 0.80 WHIP

Traded with James Shields from the Tampa Bay Rays, Wade Davis has established himself as a key cog in Kansas City's dominant bullpen. Primarily pitching in the eighth inning, Wade Davis has found his place in late relief. Along with relievers like Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow, Davis is having a great season bridging potential wins to closer Greg Holland.

Like most starter-turned-relievers, Davis has found extra life on all of his pitches. The fastball goes faster and the breaking ball breaks better for a pitcher like Davis. With nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings, Davis is well established in the Royals bullpen, and he'll be a key factor as they try to push into the postseason for the first time since their 1985 World Series season.