Why it is Time to Incorporate Holds in Fantasy Leagues

Holds specialists have taken the league by storm as the game shifts away from extending starters long into ballgames. Leagues need to take notice of this trend as well and incorporate the category into their leagues.

With the inclusion on sabermetrics and the rash amount of pitchers succumbing to arm troubles, baseball has taken a noticeable shift in placing immense importance on a team’s bullpen. We see it every night as bullpens are now composed of 95+ mph flamethrowers that make the latter innings of ballgames nearly impossible to score.

The average MLB starter tosses about five innings a game, basically long enough to have chance at the Win, but most fantasy leagues ignore the next three innings that follow. We use Saves as a category that encompasses the ninth, so does it make sense to ignore the production of the relievers that come in to form the bridge?

Some naysayers deem the stat highly useless and a “cheap” stat, as situations arise where a reliever can get one batter out and notch a Hold. But in a league that has become a pure matchup oriented, there is no escaping that factor and thus their importance.

Outside of the few elite set-up relievers that offer huge K outputs, some of the best middle relievers in MLB are widely overlooked as fantasy owners have no reason to roster them. One of the best examples is Pittsburgh Pirates set-up man, Tony Watson. Outside of those in Holds leagues, die-hard baseball fans, and all of the N.L. East, most could not pick him out of a lineup.

He only has 5 SV for his career, and his career high in strikeouts is only 81 K. Even though those stats lack the wow factor that most leagues reward, he has pitched in 77+ games the last two seasons, has posted no higher than a 1.63 ERA over that span and has amassed 75 Holds. He is easily one of the better relievers in the game, so as fantasy owners why should we not incorporate every facet and producer in the game into our leagues.

It makes the draft pool even deeper and it allows owners to become acquainted with players they would normally ignore. It is not like there is a shortage of possible options either as 29 RP in 2015 notched 20 Holds. Expanding leagues settings are often a task that many fantasy commissioners like to keep consistent and not alter too often. But, adding Holds has seemingly become a necessity in today’s version of baseball.

Fantasy commissioners should be all for adding a new element into their leagues and it can even be a tool to break the monotony of only using certain categories. It nearly all other fantasy sports each position on their respectable fields, have categories in place that reward the skill set that each player brings. Now is the time to begin rewarding those relievers that get lost in shuffle and are often fantasy baseball side notes.