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Week 13 Waiver Wire RP Pickups for Holds

Greetings Rotoballers! Your regular host Ryan Nakada is taking a week off and handpicked yours truly to give you the best names to know in relief. Apparently, my work in the Outfield and Middle Infield are getting noticed. You’re welcome Rotoballers, you’re welcome.

Holds are notoriously tough to predict, especially since scorers are particularly picky regarding what does and doesn’t earn the coveted “H”. Guys like Kelvin Herrera and Andrew Miller are known commodities and own a spot in the seventh or eighth inning in the same way that Kenley Jansen owns the ninth. What we’re looking for are guys who aren’t household names who will be in line to grab a hold and make your ratios look good in the process.

Obviously, the better teams have more hold/save chances because they win more. There is value to be found in bad teams too, though. Plus, teams with a poor starting staff will typically cede the game to the bullpen earlier, giving more guys a chance to earn an “H”. Let’s take a look at some of those guys. Rotoballers, here are your relief waiver wire adds for holds leagues.

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Week 13 Waiver Wire RP Pickups for Holds


Tony Watson, San Francisco Giants

0 Save, 16 Hold, 1.87 ERA, 33.2 IP, 40 K, 0.95 WHIP

Phew, that’s a week! San Francisco reliever Tony Watson took care of some business this week. Watson is a known commodity in the reliever nerd community, but it’s getting lost just how good he’s been in 2018. The 33-year-old is currently posting career bests in metrics like strikeouts per nine, walks per nine, home runs per nine, swinging strike rate, and FIP. He’s also not far from bests in ERA and WHIP. Watson is killing batters this season despite losing a tick off his fastball by displaying elite location and pitch mixing. Veteran savvy is alive and well, and Watson may even get save chances in Hunter Strickland’s absence. This isn’t just the best pitcher in the Giants’ bullpen, he’s one of the best fantasy relievers in all of baseball. Not a waiver add, as he's likely already owned, but go trade for him now!


Jake Diekman, Texas Rangers

1 Save, 8 Holds, 2.73 ERA, 26.1 IP, 34 K, 1.37 WHIP

You may not know this, but the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff is a bit volatile. No one really seems to want to keep one of the prime jobs in the rotation or the bullpen, as guys will have great stretches interrupted by nuclear disasters. Even players having good seasons are untrustworthy. Seriously, I wouldn’t trust Keone Kela to hold my groceries let alone feel comfortable with him as my closer, and he has 16 saves! There is one name who has been consistent this season, and oddly enough that’s Jake Diekman. The strikeout ability has always been there, even since his time with the Phillies. This season, the 31-year-old is walking fewer batters than last season while cutting down on the home runs. He’s still giving up to0 many fly balls, so there’s a chance for some regression here, but Diekman is doing a better job incorporating his slider, evidenced by a dramatic increase in his usage rate of his second pitch. Batters can’t sit on his fastball anymore, and Diekman looks like he’s locking down a spot as the Rangers’ top seventh/eighth inning option. Texas is still bad, but Diekman has the strikeout ability and the role to matter when he does get to pitch.


Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds

0 Saves, 11 Holds, 2.61 ERA, 38.0 IP, 44 K, 1.00 WHIP

This just in: a lot of high leverage relievers started off as unimpressive starters. I personally haven’t given up on the idea of Garrett joining the rotation once more, but it’s clear that his time coming out of the pen has been good for his development. After starting off hot in 2017, Garrett ran off a string a disastrous outings highlighted by diminished strikeout ability and terrible control. His ERA of 7.39 might be a tad uglier than he deserved, but not much more. But he has found his mojo once more and is pounding the strike zone with his fastball, slider, changeup combo. The shortened outings have allowed him to throw harder, and he’s getting three more MPH on his heater with better movement. He’s cut his walk rate in half from a year ago, generating five percent more swinging strikes, and giving up contact on less than 70% of overall swings. This is the best version we’ve ever seen of the 26-year-old, and it’s a good time to remind that Garrett is a relatively inexperienced, as this season marks just his fifth where baseball was his sole focus rather than sharing his time with basketball. If he keeps pitching this way, it’s clear he made the right choice.


Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers

5 Holds, 2.88 ERA, 25.0 IP, 34 K, 1.12 WHIP

Remember when I said that the Texas rotation was bad. I wasn’t kidding. The Rangers currently have an MLB-worst 5.52 ERA and second worst 0.6 WAR, only ceding to the dreadful Reds in that regard. This will likely lead to relievers getting more opportunities earlier in games, so the sixth inning could be in play for late holds. Enter Leclerc, who has weathered some truly awful outings to maintain some very nice peripherals. He’s striking out 12.24 batters per nine en route to a sparkling 2.88 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. His devastating fastball/changeup combo is getting swinging strikes 15.1% of the time. When he’s on, he’s very hard to hit, and the Rangers love him. If the 24-year-old can reduce the implosions and limit the walks, he’ll take a spot with Kela and Diekman as a regular saves and holds contributor.


Jaime Schultz, Tampa Bay Rays

1 Hold, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 3 K, 0.00 WHIP

Ok, this one is for you planners and deep leaguers. I’ll admit that I have a massive crush on Jaime Schultz, rivaling that of my affection for fellow Ray, Johnny Field (check out the Outfield Waiver Wire column!!!). Schultz is a former 14th round pick who strikes out batters like he’s playing MLB The Show. Seriously, in 2017 he averaged 16.36 strikeouts per nine innings in 22 innings pitched at Triple A. He combines a high-90’s heater with a low-80’s changeup that literally makes hitters look goofy. Schultz made a single appearance at the end of May, walked up with men on base, and proceeded to strikeout the side on 14 pitches. No one is talking about Schultz, but you better believe that Tampa knows what it has. Schultz has the stuff and moxie to be one of the best relievers in the game, full stop. He’ll come out of nowhere to be a monster. Watch the transactions to see when Schultz returns to the big club, perhaps around September, and enjoy the spoils.


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