Victor González still is tied for the league lead in holds with 12 on the season, and while he is coming off a bit of a rough outing last night allowing a rare HR, there could still be a legitimate breakout candidate here despite what his 4.24 xFIP seems to indicate. His current 8.2% K-BB rate is obviously pretty bad, but the lack of strikeouts doesn’t seem to add up with a 28% Whiff rate and 29.7% CSW. The 12.3% walk rate also doesn’t add up considering he’s had low walk rates all throughout his professional baseball career. González is still doing an outstanding job limiting hard contact, with just a 79.4% average exit velocity against and a 20.8% HardHit rate, thanks in large part to the heavy sinker he throws. So even if it does take a while for that K-BB rate to balance out and get closer to last season’s numbers, González should still be one of the safer relievers to roster in SV+HLD leagues, and pitching for the Dodgers will ensure that he gets his fair share of hold opportunities.
- Will Smith has looked great his last two times out and still seems in control of the closer role despite the return of Chris Martin. Outside of the massive meltdown against the Jays earlier in the month, May has been quite productive for Smith, who has a 11-1 K-BB rate while only allowing an earned run in one other game. The big concern I had earlier in the season was his high walk totals, but only one walk this month and zero walks in his past five innings is great to see.
- The Royals continue to use different bodies to close out games in the ninth but Scott Barlow’s role remains the same, as he continues to setup the closer of the day. He’s had a particularly great month of May, allowing just one earned run over 10.1 IP while striking out 19. He has a solid eight holds on the season, and unfortunately, the Royals as a whole put a cap on his holds potential, but he does currently rank third amongst all relievers in strikeouts so he’s helping you in other categories as well.
- Brad Hand’s been on a bit of a hot streak this past week, racking up three saves in a row, and while he has a track record of success and is a closer on a decent team, I still have my concerns about how long he will hold up in the closer role here. He currently has a 10% BB rate and 22.2% Whiff rate, which combined is not a recipe for success in today’s game. I feel like he is basically the RP version of a Toby or Vargas Rule, especially in SV+HLD leagues, so if he has a rough outing or two in the near future you can probably move on.
- Ryne Stanek is back up the list a bit, but again, I don’t feel very confident in him at the moment but he just so happens to be the Astros only viable setup option at the moment. The good news is he has an amazing 37.3% Whiff rate but he also has a 15.6% walk rate and brutal hard hit metrics (16.3% Barrel rate, 93.6 MPH avg Exit Velo, 48.8% HardHit rate). The Astros desperately need to address their bullpen depth (Ian Kennedy maybe?) but for now, it looks like Stanek will remain the team’s top setup man by default.
- César Valdez and the way he flamed out as the Orioles closer in just a few week’s time is a perfect example of how super volatile this position is and shows how quickly a potential asset can turn to dust. Paul Fry is now the favorite to close out games for the Orioles, which isn’t exactly an exciting position to be in, but he’s probably the reliever to roster here, at least until Tanner Scott gets his command issues under control. Hunter Harvey is also working his way back, but we can’t bank on him contributing much at this point.
- Tyler Duffey yo-yo-ing up and down this list is because, when right, he is one the best relievers in baseball and can help any fantasy roster. It’s been a rocky season, but this past week was a step closer to the Duffey we have become accustomed to the past few years. I don’t love the two walks, but the four strikeouts and two holds will do, but now he needs to string a few more weeks likes this together. With him this season it’s been like two steps forward, one giant step back, so let’s hope we start seeing some consistency finally.
- This may be the first week not all 30 teams have been represented on the list as there really just isn’t anyone in Arizona’s bullpen worth your time at the moment. There’s just nothing to get excited about with Stefan Crichton or Joakim Soria and Kevin Ginkel and J.B. Bukauskas have struggled mightily this season. Maybe someone will eventually emerge but for now, I’d pass on this entire bullpen.
- Hand, Daniel Hudson, and Caleb Thielbar all led the league in SV+HLD’s this past week with three apiece. Hudson was fantastic this week with seven K’s and zero walks in his four innings of work. It’s nice to see Thielbar on this list as well, but I think this is more of a one-off thing as he just doesn’t see enough high leverage work to rack up multiple holds every week.
EDIT: removed Josh Staumont (knee strain)
|PITCHER||TIER||INJURY (EST. RETURN)|
|Nick Anderson||1/2||Elbow (July/August)|
|Trevor Rosenthal||2/3||Shoulder (July/August)|
|Drew Pomeranz||2/3||Lat (late June)|
|Zack Britton||3/4||Elbow (early June)|
|Julian Merryweather||3/4||Oblique (late June)|
|Seth Lugo||3/4||Elbow (early June)|
|Corey Knebel||4/5||Triceps (July)|
|Jordan Hicks||4/5||Elbow (July)|
|Josh Staumont||4/5||Knee (June)|
|J.B. Wendelken||5/6||Oblique (late June)|
|David Phelps||5/6||Lat/Shoulder (July)|
|Pedro Báez||6||Shoulder (June)|
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)