I've been absent for a few weeks, but I'm back and ready for some fantasy baseball action. Today we are going to take a look at the middle inning relievers. In my opinion they have one of the most thankless jobs in baseball. It seems they only get noticed after a 4 ER outing, but no one bats an eye at the 20 scoreless innings they had thrown before that. Granted in most standard leagues, most of these guys are irrelevant because holds aren't a category. But in leagues with an innings cap, there are many options out of the pen that can rack up K's, lower peripherals, and even throw in a win or two. So right now let's take a look at the 5 most valuable hold guys in the fantasy game today, with honorable mentions after.
Stats are W-L, ERA/WHIP/K/9, Holds
1. Johnny Venters-[5-1, 1.24/0.96/9.64, 24] Now you're thinking," Wow those are incredible stats, I'm gonna go try and pry him for the guy in first place." Fear not gamers, despite his unreal stats, there are plenty of guys probably available in your league that are putting up 90% of those numbers. If you have ever seen Venters pitch, you know is one of the filthiest pitchers in the MLB, it's almost not fair to batters.
2. Tyler Clippard-[1-0, 1.58/0.86/10.91, 28] Clippard has two straight years of relief dominance, and this year is leading the league in holds. His 10.91 K/9 should also be a welcome addition to any team, innings cap or not.
3. Mike Adams-[3-2, 1.23/0.82/8.77, 24] Adams value was hurt slightly in his trade from spacious Petco to cozy Arlington. He does see a boost in value for holds because his team will be in more close games, so add about 2-3 holds more than he would have gotten with the Padres.
4. Daniel Bard-[1-5, 2.41/0.90/8.60, 25] Don't shy away from Bard because of the 5 losses, that's purely bad luck. He leads the American league with 25 holds, and I am frankly surprised he doesn't strike out more than a batter an inning with the elite fastball he has.
5. David Robertson-[3-0, 1.44/1.26/14.02, 23] The number that should catch your eye is his 14.02 K/9 (that is not a misprint folks). One other number that does catch my eye is his 1.26 WHIP, which is due to his walk rate (5.4 BB/9). That strikeout rate is just too sexy to pass up though.
Honorable Mention: Sean Marshall, Eric O'Flaherty, Jose Veras, Sergio Romo, Grant Balfour, Rafael Betancourt, Koji Uehara, Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pastano.
I would any one of these guys where you are approaching your innings limit and need to rack up stats. Also try to include holds as a category next year in your league. It makes many more players valuable and adds that much more strategy to your roster construction.