So your league recognizes holds as a legitimate fantasy statistic. First off, congratulations because the league is probably deep and hardcore. You are playing in a league of awesome.
The problem is finding rankings and information about holds. Hopefully you searched and found this, because it’s going to help.
Predicting holds is problematic like predicting saves. There is a lot of turnover at the top of the ranks. Many players who lead the league in holds this year might be among the league leaders in saves next season.
That’s just how it all works.
However, there are some trends worth noting and some American League names worth calling out on draft day.
First, let’s talk names.
Chicago White Sox reliever Matt Thornton has had 61 holds in the last three seasons and 20 or more in each of the last two. He’s one of several relievers in the running to take over the closer role for an achy and ineffective Bobby Jenks.
Hideki Okajima of the Boston Red Sox has 74 holds in the last three years — and at least 23 every season.
The Twins Matt Guerrier led the league in 2009 with 33 and had 20 in 2008.He’s one of a handful of relievers competing for Joe Nathan‘s closer role.
CJ Wilson had 19 holds last season and 15 in 07. There’s talk the Rangers could turn him into a starter for 2010. That experiment could end early, making Wilson another decent holds target.
Octavio Dotel has 37 holds in the last two years. He had 16 for the White Sox in 2009. This season, he’s one of the relievers competing for the Pirates’ closer job. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll get holds. If he does get it, glance in Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek and Brendan Donnelly‘s direction for holds, but don’t expect many from any of them. White Sox relievers get a lot of holds. The Pirates do not.
Two seasons ago, Dan Wheeler had the second most holds in the majors with 26. Last season he had 16.
Scot Shields appeared in just 20 games in 2010. Blame his lack of holds on that. He had 31 in each of the previous seasons, leading the league in 2008 and tying for the league lead in 2007.
With 24 holds in both 2008 and 2009, Scott Downs was among the top-5 in the majors. Last season, he spent some time on the DL and managed nine saves. He’ll be competing with Jason Frasor for holds. The Blue Jays have been one of the teams in the majors to accumulate good hold totals in the last three years.
Chad Bradford scored 40 holds total in 2007 and 2008 before missing 20 games with the Rays in 2009. Tampa bay is a happy place for holds.
A line drive broke Alan Embree‘s rib in 2009, but the previous two season he had 18 and 16 holds.
Some other American League names to remember include the other players who had 20 holds in 2010:
- Bobby Seay, Tigers — 28
- Jose Mijares, Twins — 27
- Mark Lowe, Mariners — 26
- Michael Wuertz, A’s — 23
- Phil Coke, Yankees — 21
- Darren Oliver, Angels — 20
- Darren O’Day, Rangers — 20
Another important factor is opportunity. Some AL teams provide more opportunities than others. Let’s talk about them.
Relievers from the Twins should be the most coveted. So, when drafting with Nathan’s injury and Guerrier past in mind, don’t forget about Mijares, Pat Neshek and Jon Rauch — who according to some people is the frontrunner for the closing job.
Let’s put the Angels next. Over the last three years, Angels have been among the holds leaders seven times. They also have two 30-hold performances and two 20-hold performances over that span. So, Jose Arredondo is still with the team, but Shields is healthy and Fernando Rodney — who could steal away Brian Fuentes‘ closer job — are also in the mix. All of them could be good candidates for holds.
Ranked third: the Rangers. Texas has had six league-leaders in holds since 2007, including five that were right around 20. The Rangers’ relief situation looks like this: Frank Francisco is the closer, followed by Wilson and Oliver — both could be legitimate sources of holds in 2010.
The Mariners are the last team we’ll talk about in detail. They’ve rostered five league-leaders in holds and three near 20 in the last three years. The Mariners relief pecking order starts with David Aardsma (the closer) and includes Lowe and Brandon League.
Eight other teams have had four league leaders in holds over the last three seasons. They’re listed with the total holds over the last three seasons and the bullpen hierarchy:
Boston Red Sox, 92 — Jonathan Papelbon (C), Okajima, Manny DelCarman
Toronto Blue Jays, 91 — Kevin Gregg (C), Frasor, Downs, Jesse Carlson
Tampa Bay Rays, 81 — Rafael Soriano (C), Randy Choate, JP Howell, Wheeler
Chicago White Sox, 80 — Bobby Jenks (C), Thornton, JJ Putz, Scott Linebrink
Baltimore Orioles, 75 — Mike Gonzalez (C), Jim Johnson, Cla Meredith
Kansas City Royals, 75 — Joakim Soria (C), Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz
Oakland Athletics, 72 — Andrew Bailey (C), Brad Zeigler, Michael Wuertz, Joey Devine
New York Yankees, 72 —Mariano Rivera (C), Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain