2023 Fantasy Baseball: 11 Relief Pitcher Goals for Holds Leagues (2023)

An increasingly valuable commodity in fantasy baseball is medium-relief pitchers. These silent contributors have been largely in the background over the course of our favorite game, toiling in relative obscurity for years, stuck in that middle ground between starter and close. Astute players began to recognize years ago that these pitchers could very well be unsung heroes on your staff, helping to control your ratios in ERA and WHIP. Over the past few years, we've seen the popularity of the save stat decline, with some leagues playing what is commonly referred to as "SAVES + HOLDS".

Still other competitions have gone purely to culling. According to the MLB website, a hold occurs when a replacement pitcher enters the game in a safe situation and maintains his team's lead for the next replacement pitcher while recording at least one out. A pitcher must meet one of two conditions to get a hold: 1) He enters with a lead of three runs or less and maintains that lead while recording at least one out. 2) He enters the game with the tying run on deck, at plate or on base, and scores an out.

The season isn't here yet, but get a head start and jump in oneFantrax Classic Draft Contest? Get a jump on the season with oneBest Ball Competitionor maybe oneSet up and hold. Or put some green on the line witha new competition for the whole seasontry to conquer. There's no better time than now to put on your baseball!

Here's a short list of replacement pitchers you could target in waiting leagues. Or maybe you're looking for pitchers who can be anointed as the next closer in their current bullpens. Let's dive in and look at some potentially underrated pitchers in the 2023 bullpen arms race.

andre munoz: This isn't the first time we've featured Munoz on these pages, and it probably won't be the last. With Paul Sewald seemingly entrenched as a poet in Seattle, Munoz may have to settle for a startup role. Whatever role he plays, Munoz is immensely valuable to a fantasy team. Munoz had 22 positions for the Mariners in 2022 and should get more this season unless he moves up to the narrower role. The 96 strikeouts in 65 innings really jump off the page.

(Video) Week 10 Waiver Wire Pickups | Must-Have Players to Add to Your Roster (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

John Duran:Duran was a revelation for the Minnesota Twins last year with two wins, eight saves and 89 punchouts in 67.2 at bats. A whopping 33.5 K% works well in the bullpen, right? The Twins traded Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline last season and he appears to be the favorite for the closer lane in the Twin Cities. You might wonder why Duran isn't closer. My friend Greg Jewett gets credit for the thought on this one: The Twins will probably try to control Duran's salary by not bringing him closer and using that as price control. It is also extremely valuable as a stop in the middle of a rally at any point in a game. Duran had 18 holds last year, as did leftyKaleb Thielbar, another strong candidate for culling in the Minnesota bullpen.

Reynaldo Lopez:Besides Munoz and Duran, there's no other relief pitcher I get asked more questions about than Lopez. The people of Chicago call him ReyLo. Lopez was acquired by the White Sox years ago to sit in the rotation in the Adam Eaton trade, which also brought them Lucas Giolito, but Lopez has found a home in the bullpen after largely failing as a starter. Many fantasy players ask if he'll be the closer in Chicago due to Liam Hendriks' absence due to cancer treatments, but the best bet here is that the Sox will keep Lopez in his stopper role. I believeKendall Gravemanwill take the first hit on closing, but this is largely due to the weapon Lopez has become as the stopper. In 2022, Lopez had six wins, a 2.76 ERA, .95 WHIP and 63 strikeouts.

AJ Munter:The southpaw has found a home in the Atlanta bullpen. In 2022, Minter contributed five wins, five saves and a whopping 94 punchouts in 70 innings with a 2.06 ERA and .91 WHIP. OfRasel IglesiasStepping into the spot vacated by Kenley Jansen's departure to Boston, Minter looks set to fill the topo lineup role for the Braves. Grab it when you need a clean up or are looking for a handful of saves and ratio checks. Minter led the entire MLB with 34 holds last season.

James Karinchak:He's all but forgotten in Cleveland with the emergence of Emmanual Clase as the ninth-inning man. But around this time last year, many people thought Karinchak might be closer for the Guardians. Karinchak had two wins, three saves and a whopping 62 strikeouts in 39 at bats in 2022, good for 38.8 K%. Watch out: Karinchak has been known to walk a couple of times along the way with a career 13.3 BB%. Karinchak had eight holds in 2022.

(Video) Pitchers Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 11 (2023)

Erik Swanson:This name may be under the radar, but Swanson was great in Seattle last season. This year, he's on what could be a burgeoning Toronto Blue Jays team in the middle of their battling window, and should play a big role. Jordan Romano will close here, but Swanson should get a lot of chances. Swanson had three wins, three saves, a sparkling 1.68 ERA and .91 WHIP, striking out 70 in 53.1 innings. Swanson had 14 holds in 2022.

Giovanny Gallegos:I still like to make the argument (which may be incorrect) that Gallegos could be the closest in St. Louis. After all, he didn't lose the job last year by being ineffective; rather he lost it because Ryan Helsley had one of the best half-seasons in bullpen usage history. Gallegos had 14 saves last year, but only one after August 28. He had three wins, a 3.05 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 59 at bats. Gallegos also had 12 holds in 2022.

Jason Adam: This one is pretty simple. While Pete Fairbanks seems to be the clincher in Tampa Bay this year, we know two things are true here:

  1. Fairbanks is an injury risk.
  2. Kevin Cash goes to Keven Cash it: the Rays will have multiple pitchers with saves. Let's set the over/under to 10 guys.

Therefore, a valuable arm like Adam will probably get a healthy combination of holding and saving. Adam had 22 holds to go and eight saves. A valuable arm indeed.

(Video) 2023 Relief Pitcher Preview! Strategy, Rankings & Every Team's Closer | Fantasy Baseball Advice

Seranthony Dominguez/Jose Alvarado/Gregory Soto:Alvarado had 22 grabs last season, Dominguez had 15, while Soto finished games for the Detroit Tigers in 2022. the closer role in Philadelphia. My best bet if you wanted to bet on one guy to have more grips than the others would be Dominguez right now. But we also saw Rob Thomson like playing matchups in the postseason last year, and that continues into 2o23, we could see a hodgepodge of bullpen.

Other Notes:

I didn't set up Los Angeles Dodgers here.On the Fantasy Baseball Beat, a podcast on the Triple Play Fantasy baseball network (hosted by Carlos Marcano and Chris Torres), Dodgers' beat reporter Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic indicated that manager Dave Roberts was unlikely to name a closing for 2023 and would go based on matchups. So it's hard to choose one illuminator that would have more value in culling than the others. If you want to speculate, the names here are Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Daniel Hudson, and Alex Vesia. I'd give Hudson a slight advantage as a closer based on his experience (32 career saves), which would make the other three have value as holding options. but buyer beware here.

Other Names Eligible:Trevor Stephan, Bryan Abreu, Joe Kelly, John Schreiber, Joe Mantiply, Jonathan Loaisiga, Adam Ottavino, Robert Suarez, Matt Bush.

(Video) Jordan Walker Returns, May Leaders, Week 11 Sleepers & Two-Start Pitchers | Fantasy Baseball Advice

Boys who are injured and could be a good target:Lucas Sims, Teejay Antone, Drew Pomeranz, Michael King.

Do you have other relievers you target in hold competitions? Drop a few names in the comments below. For more great analysis, check out the2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Honkbal Draft Kit!

Fantrax has been one of the fastest growing fantasy sites in recent years and we are not stopping now. We are the most customizable, user-friendly and feature-rich platform in the industry, providing the best fantasy experience for your dynasty, goalkeeper, redraft and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports don't sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level nowFantrax. com!


How many pitchers should I have on my fantasy team? ›

The traditional standard is to start nine pitchers (starters or relievers), two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one middle infielder (second baseman or shortstop), one corner infielder (first or third baseman), five outfielders, one DH (if it's an AL league) or one ...

What qualifies as a hold in fantasy baseball? ›

One of two conditions must be met for a pitcher to record a hold: 1) He enters with a lead of three runs or less and maintains that lead while recording at least one out. 2) He enters the game with the tying run on-deck, at the plate or on the bases, and records an out.

Who is the leader of the 2023 projected holds? ›

A.J. Minter, LHP, Atlanta Braves

Minter also only walked 15 batters. He's at the top of the 2023 ATC projections for holds at 22.

How does fantasy baseball scoring work for pitchers? ›

Fantasy Baseball Pitching Statistics

Wins (W): Pitchers earn a win when their team takes the lead while they are the active pitcher and maintain that lead until the end of the game. There can only be one pitcher who records a win in any given game.

Is it better to keep pitchers or hitters in fantasy baseball? ›

You can build a successful team with pitching first, but it's a riskier and less dependable approach because pitchers are more erratic than hitters. They get hurt at a higher rate and their win totals can fluctuate wildly depending on run support, bullpen quality and dumb luck.

How do you calculate pitcher fantasy? ›

  1. Wins: 4 points.
  2. Saves: 2 points.
  3. Innings Pitched: 1 point.
  4. Earned Runs Allowed: -1 point.

Do relief pitchers count as starts in fantasy? ›

NOTE: Relief pitchers' statistics are not affected by the Games Started Limit. If a pitcher who is traditionally a starter appears in relief, it is considered a relief appearance and is not restricted by the Games Started Limit.

What does H stand for in pitching stats? ›

Hits (H), Runs (R), and Earned Runs (ER) Hits, here, are the same as they are for a batter. Any time a batter reaches at least first base, excluding errors and fielder's choice.

What does R mean in pitching stats? ›

Run (R) | Glossary | MLB.com. Rule Changes.

Who will be the top MLB prospects in 2023? ›

2023 Top Prospect: Jordan Walker
  • Jordan Walker, OF/3B, Cardinals.
  • Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers.
  • Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles.
  • Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B, Reds.
  • Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox.
  • Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles.
  • Eury Pérez, RHP, Marlins.
  • James Wood, OF, Nationals.
May 14, 2023

Which team has the most home runs in 2023 season? ›

The Tampa Bay Rays have crushed the most home runs by a team this season, with 48 homers.
Tampa Bay Rays202348
Los Angeles Dodgers202343
San Francisco Giants202333
Atlanta Braves202330
13 more rows

Who has the most stolen bases in 2023? ›

Baseball betting sites allow you to wager on a player's stolen bases for an individual game. Near the end of April, the 2023 stolen base leaderboard had Ronald Acuna Jr, Hoerner and Mullins tied at the top. Mullins' presence wasn't unusual, as he finished second in the AL in steals the previous two seasons.

What stats are most important for fantasy baseball? ›

Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP)

BABIP is the most commonly used advanced statistic in baseball. Simply, it measures a player's batting average on all non-home run balls they put in play. BABIP is commonly used as a "luck" statistic. League average BABIP is .

How are wins counted for pitchers? ›

W – Win | a pitcher receives a win when he is the pitcher of record when his team takes the lead for good — with a couple rare exceptions. First, a starting pitcher must pitch at least five innings (in a traditional game of nine innings or longer) to qualify for the win.

What does Max mean for pitchers in fantasy baseball? ›

Public Free and Public Prize Leagues - Pitchers have a max usage of 1,400 innings. Whenever a pitcher records an out they're credited with ⅓ of an inning. Non-pitchers max usage is 162 games. Players are credited with a game even if they only enter as a batter, pinch runner, or defensive replacement.

Are relievers important in fantasy baseball? ›

For baseball, it's a step forward, but for Fantasy Baseball, it's a nightmare. In all but a few cases, a reliever's worth is entirely tied to his save total. Predictability is paramount.

Does good pitching always beat good hitting? ›

Used in these contexts, the maxim tells us that when a team with good pitching meets a team with good hitting, the team with good pitching will win, other things being equal (i.e., when the hitting of the pitching team and pitching of the hitting team, along with the many other factors such as fielding and base running ...

Is batting more important than fielding? ›

Conclusion. In conclusion, there is evidence to support the claim that all three of these areas have a positive effect on winning baseball games. However, through linear regression analysis, we can say that batting and pitching are much more important than fielding.

What stats should I look for in a pitcher? ›

Earned run average (ERA)

Earned run average is one of those stats where the lower it is, the better the pitcher. A pitcher's ERA is calculated by the number of earned runs they've allowed (ER), divided by the number of innings pitched (IP) multiplied by 9 (the traditional inning length of a game).

What stats are good for a pitcher? ›

A huge part of determining a pitcher's true skill level, though, begins with the basic walk and strikeout rates. A great place to begin with pitchers is to look at their K-BB%. This is the strikeout percentage (rather than K/9) minus their walk percentage. The higher that number, the better.

What is rotisserie scoring in fantasy baseball? ›

Rotisserie, or "Roto," is the most common way to play fantasy baseball. In this scoring type, teams are ranked from first to last in each statistical category. Points are then awarded according to the order in each category and totaled to determine an overall score and league rank.

How many games can a relief pitcher play? ›

But unlike their starting peers, relief pitchers can be asked to pitch on two or three consecutive days -- sometimes more -- though most relievers will require an off day after pitching three days in a row. The handedness of a relief pitcher is critical.

Is it better to be a starting pitcher or relief? ›

Both a starting and relief pitcher are valuable players to any baseball team. However, starting pitchers typically considered better and more complete pitchers and will have a great impact on the outcome of a game.

Can a pitcher get a hold in a loss? ›

It is also possible for a pitcher to receive a hold and a loss in the same game should he exit with the lead, only to see the runners he left on base score the tying and go-ahead runs.

What does K stand for in pitching? ›

Definition. A "K" is a strikeout.

What does G mean in baseball? ›

For example, BA = batting average, G = games played, AB = at bats, R = runs, H = hits, 2B = doubles, 3B = triples, HR = home runs, RBI = runs batted in, SB = stolen bases.

What does K mean in pitching? ›

In the scorebook, a strikeout is denoted by the letter K.

What does BF mean in baseball? ›

Batters faced is simply a count of the number of total plate appearances against a certain pitcher or team.

What does TB mean in baseball? ›

Definition. Total bases refer to the number of bases gained by a batter through his hits. A batter records one total base for a single, two total bases for a double, three total bases for a triple and four total bases for a home run.

What does POS mean in baseball? ›

Baseball Glossary
For Batters:
GBNumber of Fair Ground Balls Hit (hits, outs and errors)
FBNumber of Fly Balls Hit (excludes line drives)
38 more rows

Who is the oldest MLB player 2023? ›

Rich Hill is the oldest active MLB player in the 2023 season. Hill is 43 years old and plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Who is the number 1 prospect in baseball? ›

Minor League baseball is back and so is our latest edition of the top 100 prospects in the game. With the list coming out roughly a dozen games into the 2023 MLB season, several notable prospects graduated, including Arizona's Corbin Carroll (No. 1) and Baltimore's Gunnar Henderson (No. 2).

Who won MVP MLB 2023? ›

AL MVP: Aaron Judge leads Wander Franco, Marcus Semien
1Aaron Judge.298/.410/.679
2Wander Franco.298/.362/.482
3Marcus Semien.295/.366/.485
4Shohei Ohtani.269/.345/.538
1 more row

Has anyone hit 7 home runs in a game? ›

Research by Baseball Almanac. "The White Sox hit seven home runs during Saturday's game against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field, and made dubious history in the process. Those seven long balls, all amazingly of the solo variety, were not enough to prevent a 10-8 loss.

Who hit more than 70 home runs in a season? ›

Single-Season Leaders & Records for Home Runs
RankPlayer (age that year)Home Runs
1.Barry Bonds (36)73
2.Mark McGwire (34)70
3.Sammy Sosa (29)66
4.Mark McGwire (35)65
56 more rows

Who has the best batting average in history? ›

Outfielder Ty Cobb, whose career ended in 1928, has the highest batting average in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. He batted . 366 over 24 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers. In addition, he won a record 11 batting titles for leading the American League in BA over the course of an entire season.

Who is the only player to have over 1000 stolen bases? ›

Rickey Henderson holds the MLB career stolen base record with 1,406. He is the only MLB player to have reached the 1,000 stolen bases milestone in his career. Following Henderson is Lou Brock with 938 stolen bases; Billy Hamilton is third on the all-time steals listing.

Who has the most consecutive games with a stolen base? ›

Max Carey established a mark in 1922–23 of 36 consecutive stolen bases without being caught, which stood until it was broken by Davey Lopes with 38 consecutive steals in 1975. Lopes's record was broken by Vince Coleman with 50 consecutive stolen bases in 1988–89.

What pitcher has the most home runs? ›

Wes Ferrell holds the all-time Major League Baseball record for home runs hit while playing the position of pitcher. He hit 37 as a pitcher. Baseball Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Warren Spahn are tied for second with 35 career home runs apiece.

Who should be number 1 pick in fantasy baseball? ›

Fantasy Baseball ADPs for 2023
RotoBaller RankPlayer NameRT Sports ADP
1Trea Turner3
2Jose Ramirez2
3Aaron Judge1
4Ronald Acuna Jr.4
1 more row

How many bench spots should you have in fantasy baseball? ›

Most fantasy managers will draft seven starting pitchers and two closer (pitchers who pitch in close games that earn saves) for their starting pitching lineup. The seven bench spots can consist of any players you desire.

How many starters should you have in fantasy baseball? ›

The traditional standard is to start nine pitchers (starters or relievers), two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one middle infielder (second baseman or shortstop), one corner infielder (first or third baseman), five outfielders, one DH (if it's an AL league) or one ...

Can a relief pitcher get a win? ›

A relief win is defined as any win by a pitcher who was not the starting pitcher. Relievers can earn relief wins in two different ways -- one far more common than the other. First, if a reliever is in the game at the time his team takes the lead for good, he is credited with the victory.

Can a pitcher get a hold and a win in the same game? ›

Every save opportunity in which a pitcher records at least one out will result in either a save, a blown save or a hold. A pitcher cannot receive a win or a save in a game in which he records a hold. However, more than one relief pitcher can record a hold in a single game.

How do you determine which pitcher gets the save? ›

For a save opportunity, a pitcher must be the final pitcher for his team (and not the winning pitcher) and do one of the following:
  1. Enter the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitch at least one inning.
  2. Enter the game with the tying run in the on-deck circle -- or closer to scoring.

What's more important in fantasy baseball pitching or hitting? ›

You can build a successful team with pitching first, but it's a riskier and less dependable approach because pitchers are more erratic than hitters. They get hurt at a higher rate and their win totals can fluctuate wildly depending on run support, bullpen quality and dumb luck.

How many positions should you have in fantasy? ›

Standard Roster: A standard roster typically consists of 16 players, 9 starters and 7 bench spots. The starters include 1 QB, 2 Running Backs (RB), 2 Wide Receivers (WR), 1 Tight End (TE), 1 Kicker (K) 1 Defense/Special Teams Unit (D/ST) and 1 "Flex" position.

How many of each position should you have in fantasy? ›

In many standard fantasy roster formats, you will be required to start one QB, two RBs, two to three WRs, one TE and a flex player, which is usually another RB or WR.

How many of each player should I have on my fantasy football team? ›

As your base approach, you should start knowing you will draft at least two quarterbacks, four running backs, five wide receivers, and two tight ends. Those are the minimums you should have at each position. You still need another five players to complete your roster, though.

How many people should I have in my fantasy league? ›

While there isn't a right or wrong league size, most agree that 10 or 12 people is just about right. If there are too few people in the league, everyone has a team full of superstars, which removes some of the skill aspects of fantasy.

How many defenses should I have in my fantasy team? ›

Never Draft More Than One Defense

Therefore, there's no reason to have two defenses clog up your bench. In the past, I've even gone without drafting a defense so that I could draft a player with upside instead.

How many WR and RB should I draft? ›

Ideally, you'd have three star RBs, 8-9 receivers with an excellent shot at 90-plus targets and 2-3 QB, TE and defenses (three where the players are worse, two where they're better.)

Can you have 11 teams in fantasy? ›

The 11 Team Fantasy Football League Schedule inserts what we call a dummy team, which takes the place of what would be a bye. This format can be used for all leagues with an odd number of teams. We have went into more detail about Running a Fantasy Football League with an Odd Number of Teams.

How many fantasy points is a lot? ›

The short answer is about 110—at least in a 10 team Standard scoring league. According to our analysis, teams that score 110 points have about a 80% chance of winning, making 110 and above the winners bracket.

How many running backs do you want in fantasy? ›

Given that you'll need at least four running backs and wide receivers in your lineup every week (and up to five total), those positions are already essential to your roster.

What is the best position order to draft in fantasy football? ›

What is the most important position to draft first in fantasy football? Running backs are easily the most important position to prioritize in fantasy football. There are not enough running backs to go around, so somebody is going to get hosed at this position.

How many wide receivers should I have? ›

How many players to draft at each position is up to you, but the traditional combination of players to draft: two quarterbacks, four running backs, four wide receivers, two tight ends, two kickers, and two defense/special teams (punt and kickoff return) units.

How many QBs can you have in fantasy? ›

The maximum number of starters at the QB slot is six. Team Quarterback (TQB): All quarterbacks from a specified NFL team are included in this unique scoring option. If selected, the league will draft a team and will receive stats for all QBs who play for the NFL team.

How many players from each team can you have in FPL? ›

The basic aim of Fantasy Premier League is to accumulate as many points as possible across the entire 2022-23 season. From your squad of 15 players, you must select a starting XI for each 'Gameweek' - more on that later - and they will receive points based on their performance in each fixture.

How many bench spots should you have in fantasy? ›

Play the No. 1 Fantasy Game. Standard rosters include one Quarterback (QB), two Running Backs (RB), two Wide Receivers (WR), one Tight End (TE), one Flex (RB/WR/TE), one Defense/Special Teams (D/ST), one Kicker (K) and seven Bench Spots (BE -- players on your roster who are not in your active lineup for a given week).

Can you do a 13 person fantasy league? ›

Standard: Standard Leagues are 8, 10 or 12-team standard-scoring leagues that use fixed rule settings and are managed by ESPN. Free Standard Leagues will draft players from the whole NBA Universe. Free Standard League rosters have slots for a total of 13 players per team. There are 10 starting slots and 3 bench slots.

How many teams should be in a fantasy league? ›

12 TEAMS. This is the standard size for a fantasy football league. There are enough teams to create a solid league breakdown by division and conference.


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