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Getting A Grip: Waiver Wire Pickups for Holds

While the holds statistic is hard to determine and prepare for, since you never know if a player will enter a game in the right situation, the players noted today feature some overlooked sleepers and some just simply looking to reclaim glory they once had. The more likely the team is to win, the more likely these following players will be eligible to earn the holds that could be the difference between winning or losing in your fantasy league. Some of these setup men can even emerge as closers if an injury were to strike.


Brandon League, Los Angeles Dodgers

1 hold, 1.35 ERA, 26.2 innings (18 games), 15 strikeouts

Brandon League LA Dodgers MLB NewsEarly on in the 2014 season, Brandon League was put in low leverage situations, like blowouts, or would be the last option out of the bullpen in an extra inning affair. But over the course of the season, League has put together 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run.

He's allowed only one unearned run over the 14 games, and in his last appearance he notched his first hold. With the current demotion of Chris Withrow, and Brian Wilson slowly returning to form, League’s consistency could be a stable presence in the Dodgers bullpen. If you're looking for an option off the waiver wire for holds, League can be an interesting option to consider.

Joba Chamberlain, Detroit Tigers

9 holds, 3.20 ERA, 19.2 innings, 25 strikeouts

The days of blazing fastballs, unhittable sliders and a clean faced Joba Chamberlain are now in the past. Bearded like many former Yankees are, the 28-year-old Chamberlain is now on the Detroit Tigers. He started off with some early season struggles, but he has recently stepped it up. As one of the more experienced relievers in the Tigers’ bullpen, he has seen the eighth inning in 12 of his 21 appearances. He has come in with the lead in all but five of his appearances. His nine holds puts him in the top 10 of the league, and if the Tigers continue to stand alone on top of the Central division, he will see the lead and will be asked to hold onto it each time.


Casey Fien, Minnesota Twins

9 holds, 1.89 ERA, 19 innings, 13 strikeouts

Over half of Casey Fien’s appearances have been in the eighth inning. To put in an idea of just how valuable Fien is to the Twins wins, he has a hold in nine of 23 wins. That’s an astounding number of holds to have in the season. Only eight players have more holds than Fien and they are all on contending teams. The Minnesota Twins will have a hard time competing for the Central division, but that will not stop Casey Fien from racking up the holds. In his last eight appearances, he has gotten seven holds.


Pat Neshek, St. Louis Cardinals

6 holds, 0.86 ERA, 21 innings, 23 strikeouts

Among the young power arms of Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal sits veteran Pat Neshek. The 33-year-old Neshek used to pitch with a dependency on his slider (73-84% sliders in 2012-13), but since joining the Cardinals he has become a fastball / slider pitcher. He uses each pitch around 40-50% of the time, with his fastball sitting around 90 MPH and his slider in the low 80s. The soft-tossing reliever, by comparison to his younger teammates, is a good offset to the power arms that have come through the Cardinals system. Neshek has come into 11 of his 23 appearances when the game is tied or the Cardinals have a one-run lead. He also regularly appears in the seventh or eighth inning. Neshek is proof that power is not the only way to get batters out.


Bryan Shaw, Cleveland Indians

7 holds, 1.54 ERA, 23.1 innings, 19 strikeouts

With John Axford struggling as the Cleveland Indians’ closer, two relievers are leading candidates to takeover the responsibilities. Cody Allen is one candidate but the other is Bryan Shaw. The 26-year-old righty has a much better ERA compared to Allen and has not blown a save so far. If he can keep his sub-2.00 ERA, Shaw should get most of the save opportunities but he will also count on getting holds if Allen gets another shot at it. Allen will likely lower his 3.20 ERA but until then, Shaw could make it hard to take the job away from him, either of the jobs.