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Shifting Value for Different Categories: Saves + Holds

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You don't play in a standard 5x5 league? Great, let's look at some relief pitchers who may be ranked differently in a format that includes saves plus holds as a category.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We provide fantasy analysis across a fairly broad spectrum of topics here at Fake Teams, but our rankings are built on the assumption of a standard 5x5 redraft league. So what about our readers who don't play in standard 5x5 leagues? Obviously those rankings don't fit in the same manner if your league plays different categories. So if you're looking for some relief pitchers who may be ranked differently in your league because you're playing saves plus holds, you've come to the right place.

Since everyone may not be familiar with what determines a hold, let's look at the definition. From Baseball Reference's Bullpen Wiki:

A hold is granted to a relief pitcher who enters a game with his team in the lead in a save situation, and hands over that lead to another reliever without the score having been tied in the interim.

Essentially, a hold is a save without being the last pitcher to throw. Seems fairly straight forward, right? Not so fast. There are some glitches to this statistic to be aware of, as you'll occasionally see something strange:

As the hold is not an official statistic, there is no consensus whether a pitcher needs to record an out or pitch effectively to get credit for a hold. Some compilers consider that the mere fact of not surrendering the lead is sufficient, while most observers consider that the other two criteria should also apply. The lack of consensus on this issue means that hold totals vary from source to source.

I know that I have seen it happen in some of my fantasy leagues where a pitcher gets a hold despite not getting an out (and generally being ineffective), but you should check your host site to find out if they have a definition for your reference.

The General Idea: Relievers that will tend to get a lot of holds are pitchers who:

  • tend to be called upon with a lead late in the game, but do not pitch last
  • generally will be viewed as the team's primary setup person or second setup person
  • may be specific specialists (LOOGYs come to mind here)
A nice thing specifically with the use of the SV+HLD stat instead of just saves is the idea that you don't need to speculate on closers nearly as much. Using this stat essentially means it's only relevant that the team uses the pitcher with a lead, and not specifically that they use them last with a lead. With that in mind, here's a look at some players whose value changes in this particular category.

Up: Dellin Betances - He's not going to close this year barring some sort of injury to Andrew Miller early in the season, but with elite performance in the other three categories and expectation that he will pitch with the lead on a regular basis, Betances could be a top 10 option in this category.

Other Risers: Tony Watson, Joe Smith, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Gregerson

Down: David Hernandez - Hernandez is expected to be the closer in Philadelphia this year, which gives him a lot of value in SV formats. However, in a SV+HLD format, that specific value doesn't help particularly over relievers expected to provide elite strikeout totals and ratios.

Other Fallers: Steve Cishek, Ken Giles, Aroldis Chapman