Fantasy Baseball 2012: Early Hold Rankings

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 20: Mike Adams #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the eighth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Some hate it, some swear by it and I personally love it. I love the value of a great middle reliever. They add such great peripherals to your counting stats that they are often overlooked in leagues that don't count the Hold stat. So as we look to this year's top ranked hold candidates, keep this in mind. The first quality you are looking for is position in the bullpen. Second you're looking for previous success in the situations they were previously pitching in. Next you're looking for the quality of bullpen arms that surround these guys. Lastly you're looking for teams that have the ability to accumulate saves or save opportunities, as these stats are closely related because you need to be ahead late in the game to have both stats. Managerial tendencies also play a factor, but since the season hasn't started yet your going to have to take my word for this. So without further fanfare I will give you a tiered system for you to use on draft day. Enjoy

TIER 1

1. Mike Adams TEX

2. Jonny Venters ATL

3. Tyler Clippard WAS

4. David Robertson NYY

5. Sean Marshall CIN

6. Sergio Romo SF

7. Vinnie Pestano CLE

8. Eric O'Flaherty ATL

Continue reading after the jump.

  • My draft strategy for Tier 1 is you need one of these guys, period. These are the elite of the elite bullpen arms that won't be drafted for saves. They all contribute to great ERA and WHIP lines, and all will give you a K/IN.
  • Two Atlanta Braves are in the top tier. Why you ask? Simple because Freddi Gonzalez has a system and he would rather use his top quality arms at pressure times than suffer with the futility in relying on an unproven commodity. It's a great system that makes you look better when you have the talent to back it up.

TIER 2

9. Scott Downs ANA

10. Greg Holland KC

11. Francisco Rodriguez MIL

12. Matt Thornton CHW

13. Glen Perkins MIN

14. Mark Rzepczynski STL

15. David Hernandez ARI

16. Luke Gregerson SD

17. Rafael Soriano NYY

18. Jesse Crain CHW

19. Koji Uehara TEX

20. Kenley Jensen LAD

  • Lots of sleeper type guys in this tier. Some for sneaky saves some are just on bad teams. Results are what matters to me.
  • Love the RZE and Crain this year, both are unheralded in the positions they pitch in. Neither will ever close for their teams and they will be easy gets late in drafts.
  • Hernandez and Holland have future closer written all over them so take more notice in deep Keeper leagues.

TIER 3

21. Joaquin Benoit Det

22. Antonio Bastardo PHI

23. Rex Brothers COL

24. Mark Melancon BOS

25. Joel Peralta TB

26. Octavio Dotel DET

27. Jose Veras MIL

28. Jeff Samardzija CHC

29. Brad Lidge WAS

30. Francisco Cordero TOR

31. Lance Lynn STL

32. Grant Balfour OAK

33. Andrew Cashner SD

34. Ernesto Frieri SD

35. LaTroy Hawkins ANA

36. Jonathon Broxton KC

  • Lots of recycled closers and older type relievers that have had previous success in either setting up or finishing a game out.
  • This tier proves the fact that SD is a relief pitching factory. If we are going to stream the SP in Petco than why not roster their deep quality relievers.
TIER 4

37. Chad Qualls PHI

38. Matt Guerrier LAD

39. Shawn Kelley SEA



42. Randy Choate MIA

43. Bryan Shaw ARI


45. Tom Wilhelmsen SEA

46. Kerry Wood CHC

47. Chris Resop PIT

48. Wilton Lopez Hou

49. Tony Sipp ClE

50. Nick Massett CIN


  • No list of Holds candidates is ever complete with out the Godfather, Arthur Rhodes. He is the all time leader in this stat and I hope he pitches forever.
  • Lots of really good deep sleepers here, Frieri, Janssen and Shawn Kelly are three personal favorites this year for deeper leagues.

I will be giving updates throughout the season on not only middle relief but closers. So if you feel like I missed someone or someone should be moved up or down the list feel free to critique as I am always open to outside opinions. Thanks and happy drafting.


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