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Getting A Grip: Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Holds


By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Tommy Hunter") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers For Holds Leagues

While the holds statistic is even harder to predict than saves is for closers, the relief pitchers we highlight today feature some sleeper setup men and some looking to reclaim glory they once had. The more likely an MLB 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, the second half of the season gets under way. The five relievers identified are all on teams that intend to or are expected to be contenders in the division or for the two Wild Card spots. Each reliever will be called upon in many winning games because his team is in the thick of a race, and s every lead he is given will be important to his team’s aspirations for postseason baseball.

 

Tommy Hunter, Baltimore Orioles

3 holds, 3.98 ERA, 31.2 innings, 23 strikeouts, 1.36 WHIP

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Tommy Hunter") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOnce the closer of the Baltimore Orioles, Tommy Hunter had a couple of really bad outings and an injury. The two combined to eliminate him from the closer’s role. With Zach Britton firmly in place as Orioles’ closer, Tommy Hunter is a part of the middle relief.

He is expected to be one of a few veteran relievers to bridge a lead to a win. In 22 of the 32 games in which he has appeared this season, the team had the lead. He only has three holds to this point in the season, but that's because while he was the closer, 11 of those leads resulted in saves for Hunter. As he gets entrenched in middle-relief duty, he will accumulate holds as the Baltimore Orioles continue to contend for their division title.

 

Jason Frasor, Kansas City Royals

10 holds, 3.34 ERA, 29.2 innings, 30 strikeouts, 1.38 WHIP

Once with the Texas Rangers, Jason Frasor was recently traded to the Kansas City Royals. Frasor is on a postseason-caliber team now, and he brings a good set of numbers that should help fortify the Royals’ bullpen. With the Rangers, Frasor provided 10 holds and over a strikeout per inning. In 17 games that Frasor entered with the lead, he has clearly done a solid job. He will earn holds, and he will get many opportunities with all the experience he has had in the league.

 

Zach Duke, Milwaukee Brewers

8 holds, 1.18 ERA, 38.0 innings, 49 strikeouts, 0.95 WHIP

The lefty specialist in the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen is Zach Duke. Keeping left-handed batters to a .180 batting average, Duke is the second-best lefty in the bullpen, behind Will Smith. His sub-2.00 ERA with a sub-1.00 WHIP have made him a very reliable reliever. Right-handed batters hit .234 against Duke, which isn't great, but based on the fact that he's pitched 38 innings in 43 games, it's pretty clear that his role has been determined. He has gotten a hold in half of the games in which he has appeared with the lead, so he does get the job done. The Central division is one of the most competitive this season, so Duke and the Brewers' bullpen will need to be as tough as they have been if they want to win the Central.

 

Santiago Casilla, San Francisco Giants

10 holds, 1.02 ERA, 35.1 innings, 27 strikeouts, 0.79 WHIP

The San Francisco Giants have hit a dip in their record and it has cost them their hold on the division to the rival Dodgers. Casilla is not experiencing a dip in his numbers, though. For the most part, the pitching has done their job. Sergio Romo appears to be returning to reality (and the closer role), but Casilla is still out of this world with an ERA right around 1.00. He has 10 holds up to this point in the season. If the Giants don’t get the division title, they will likely earn one of the Wild Card spots, and Santiago Casilla will help the Giants and your fantasy team be a contender with holds to bridge the win to the finish.

 

Al Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers

11 holds, 2.91 ERA, 34.0 innings, 38 strikeouts, 1.21 WHIP

The Detroit Tigers have a shaky bullpen. The addition of Joe Nathan that was expected to make them a complete team has not panned out. Al Alburquerque is one of the bullpen regulars, and he has had a very good season up to this point. He is bouncing back from a 2013 campaign that saw his ERA north of 4.50. With a sub-3.00 ERA and 11 holds already, Alburquerque is not a likely ninth-inning option, but he is a dependable middle reliever that bridges to the win. As long as Alburquerque does his job for this division leader, he will contribute to your fantasy team.