The shift in MLB to a reliever based game has altered the fantasy landscape as well. For those leagues that now reward relievers by adding Holds as a tallied category, who should owners target in 2017?
Other Holds Targets Previews: A.L. East
Instead of just awarding Saves to closers, Holds have become a popularized fantasy stat. While Holds are one of the more fickle stats in the game, it does not change the fact that it is a category being rewarded.
Here are the Holds target fantasy owners should be targeting on each team in the N.L. East.
New York Mets
The expected punishment for Jeurys Familia’s seems to be shortening by the day, meaning that Addison Reed may not get as many early SV chances as some thought. But, Reed notched a league-high 40 HLDS last season and looks poised to once again challenge for the league lead.
Reed lacks the track record of an Andrew Miller or Dellin Betances, but it is not a reach to make him the third non-closer RP taken in drafts.
Jim Johnson has had somewhat of a career renaissance in Atlanta posting no higher than a 3.06 ERA with the club during his two stints over last two seasons. He will enter the season as the Braves closer, but he has two fireballers waiting in the wings to take the gig at any point during the season.
Arodys Vizcaino notched 10 SV/4.42 ERA/50 K over only 38 innings last season and possess the raw stuff to take the reigns at any time. He may not be a player that owners target in the draft, but he would be early waiver wire add. Same goes for Mauricio Cabrera, who is the only pitcher in MLB that rivaled Aroldis Chapman in terms of fastball velocity, so he is another potential HLDS stud.
The Marlins bullpen is going to be intriguing this season. A.J. Ramos looks to still be the closer entering the year, but there are numerous options that could take his spot. The team brought in Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa in the offseason and they will join two breakout relievers, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps.
Ziegler has been steady nearly his whole career and enters 2017 as a low-end HLDS option due to the lack of K. Phelps looks to be in a hybrid role again this season ad he could see time in the rotation. He notched 25 HLDS last season and struck out 114 batters,
The real HLDS gem though could be Kyle Barraclough, who had 29 HLDS last season while striking out 113 batters. He has the raw stuff to close already, but he shapes up to be a top-10 non-closer target. All arrows are pointing up.
The Nationals will be a team routinely linked to bringing in a high-profile closer as they enter the season lacking a proven option. Shawn Kelley will be the closer after coming off a great season in 2016.
There clear-cut fantasy option to target for HLDS will be Blake Treinen. He had 22 HLDS last season while striking out 63 and posting a 2.28 ERA, so he should be drafted as the Nats will be in most games.
Another name to watch will be Koda Glover, who has the pure stuff to be an effective set-up man or even closer. He could provide solid K totals if allowed to slide into one of the late inning roles.
It was announced pretty early on this spring that Jeanmar Gomez would be the closer heading into the season after a solid first half in 2016 with the club. But, competition is lurking. The newly acquired Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek will join Hector Neris in forming the relief bridge.
Benoit and Neshek have solid HLDS seasons under their belt, but Neris has the most potential out of the trio. Neris notched 28 HLDS, a 2.58 ERA and 102 K last season, so owners should be willing to invest a late-round pick in him entering the season.
For the most part, fantasy owners are not aggressively targeting non-closers unless they provide substantial value elsewhere. Typically those in Holds leagues are targeting set-up men hoping that are the next in line if the team’s closer goes down or is shaky. But, the game continues to offer plenty of options that can prove to be the weekly difference.