March 7, 2018
Holds are difficult to predict. Traditionally, holds leaders fit one of two molds: great relievers on good teams with a top-notch closer (e.g. Dellin Betances, Anthony Swarzak), or pitchers with good situational value (like Andrew Miller or Taylor Rogers). In this list, we’ll highlight players we think are most likely to rack up holds over the course of the season. Lefties get a slight bump in value here — because they’re more likely to get a cheap one-out hold — while players who might get a shot to close are downgraded.
This first group contains excellent relievers on good teams who are behind top-tier closers. They have stable late-inning roles and should pick up holds because their teams will win a lot. They won’t hurt you in other categories either, because they don’t give up many runners and strike out plenty of guys.
This second group is filled with pitchers with some drawbacks. Nicasio doesn’t pitch for a contender; Barnes and Hader are splitting the eighth inning; Minter is unproven, and may also win the closer’s job outright. These are mostly solid choices who may get fewer opportunities than those in the top tier.
The third list has lefty setup men like Rogers and Siegrist and less heralded pitchers behind locked-in closers like Tepera and Lorenzen. Don’t expect great peripheral numbers out of these guys, but they should get their fair share of hold opportunities.
Rounding out the list are players who are a few steps removed from the closer’s role, but could still rack up appearances. They may not get holds every time out, but they should get a high volume of chances as workhorses on good teams.