I thought I had built a good foundation for saves when I drafted Braves reliever Will Smith in Justin Mason’s TGFBI (The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational) league. After all Smith saved 37 games for the world champion Atlanta Braves last season and their GM, Alex Anthopoulos, assured Jim Bowden and Howard Bender that he was going to be the team’s closer on the March 17th edition of the Sirius XM Fantasy Alarm show. 

However, Anthopoulos signed Kenley Jansen to a one-year deal the very next day, making him the team’s primary closer. It was a great move for the Braves, but in the blink of an eye Smith went from being the primary closer on a team expected to win a lot of games, to the setup man who Fantasy Alarm projects will save six games. In a league like TGFBI that features saves as a category Smith will provide my fantasy team with pitching depth, but he’ll be sitting on my bench for most of the season. However, if the same scenario took place in a league that featured Holds or “SOLDS” (Saves and Holds), as a category, I’d have been able to keep Smith in my everyday lineup. 

Why Fantasy Baseball Leagues Should Use SOLDS As a Category

There were 198 different pitchers who saved at least one game last season and 372 who recorded at least one Hold. Teams are increasingly shuffling their bullpens around, but it’s not only overall pitcher ineffectiveness that’s causing them to do so. With advanced statistics available to them, more real-life baseball managers are responding to in-game situations by using their “closer” at any time of the game if they think it gives their team a better chance to win. Also, with several teams like the Mariners, Cardinals, and Padres (just to name a few), yet to officially name a closer as this article is being written, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a relief pitcher that you can trust to regularly get save opportunities in the later rounds of preseason drafts.

SOLDS Leagues Draft Strategy

If you’ve been playing fantasy baseball for a while you know that each draft that you take part in is unique and that you can’t count solely on ADP when building your fantasy team. However, drafting a team in a SOLDS league sometimes eliminates the urgency for investing early round picks on elite closers like Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks. For instance, as I’m writing this article, I’m participating in two slow drafts, one uses saves as a category and the other tracks SOLDS. In the saves league Hader, Hendriks, and Raisel Iglesias were picks 27, 30, and 54 respectively. In the SOLDS league they were picks 42, 44, and 72. 


According to MLB.com “a hold occurs when a relief pitcher enters the game in a save situation and maintains his team's lead for the next relief pitcher, while recording at least one out.” 

As you’d expect, teams with winning records usually give their relief pitchers the most opportunities to collect a Hold. The Braves, Giants, Cardinals, and Dodgers pitching staffs were top four in Holds last season.

If you’re looking for pitchers to roster who have the best chance to help you in the Holds category, focus on the setup men and sleepers featured on the Fantasy Alarm Closer Grid (as seen at the bottom of this article).

The following are several other under the radar relief pitchers who are likely to pitch in high leverage relief situations this season and could potentially help you in the Holds category…



The Mariners showed how much they like Andrés Muñoz by signing him to four-year contract extension. He hasn’t pitched since 2019 due to Tommy John surgery but is looking good this spring and his fastball routinely eclipses the 100 MPH mark on the radar gun.

Ryan Tepera, Angels

Ryan Tepera registered 21 Holds last season while pitching for the White Sox and Cubs. He had a 10.86 K/9 rate and posted his lowest BB/9 rate (2.79) since the 2015 season. 



Walks can sometimes be an issue, but José Cisnero averaged a strikeout per inning and saved four games while recording 18 Holds for the Tigers last season.



Luke Jackson, who has closer experience, held 31 games last season while pitching to a 1.98 ERA. He also compiled a 70:29 K:BB ratio.



Brad Hand has five straight seasons with double-digit saves and is no stranger to pitching in high leverage situations. While most projection models predict that his Hold totals will be in the mid-teen range, he could eventually fill the role of setup man or depending on the Phillies needs, he can fill the role of closer. 



Brusdar Graterol is a potential closer in waiting. He’s a ground ball pitcher who throws a hard sinker, 100 MPH fastball, and a hard slider. Most projection models expect his 2022 Holds total to be within the mid-teen range.



Brent Suter has a 2.70 ERA since the 2019 season and is a control pitcher (2.1 career BB/9) who induces groundballs and soft contact. Don’t expect him to win another 12 games as a reliever this season, but most projection models expect his Holds total to also be in the mid-teen range. 



The Rays’ pitching staff is usually a useful resource for Holds, so keep Matt Wisler on your watch list. Wisler turned his 2021 season around once he joined the Rays. He doesn’t walk too many batters, has an 11.49 K/9 since the 2019 season, and induces soft contact.

Meteorologists can get away with making countless mistakes in forecasting the weather and they still get to keep their jobs. However, if we fantasy managers make too many mistakes in our player projections and forecasts it can cost us a fantasy championship. We need to eliminate as much risk as possible when constructing our fantasy rosters and playing in leagues that use SOLDS as a category.

TeamStabilityCloserSetup ManSleeperInjured/Suspended
Chicago White SoxEliteLiam HendriksCraig KimbrelKendall GravemanJoe Kelly
Milwaukee BrewersEliteJosh HaderDevin WilliamsJake Cousins 
Houston AstrosEliteRyan PresslyRyne StanekHector Neris 
Los Angeles AngelsEliteRaisel IglesiasMike MayersAaron Loup 
New York MetsEliteEdwin DiazTrevor MayAdam Ottavino 
Atlanta BravesEliteKenley JansenWill SmithA.J. MinterKirby Yates
Toronto Blue JaysStableJordan RomanoTim MayzaYimi Garcia 
Cleveland GuardiansStableEmmanuel ClaseBryan ShawAnthony GoseJames Karinchak
Detroit TigersStableGregory SotoMichael FulmerAndrew Chafin 
New York YankeesStableAroldis ChapmanJonathan LoaisigaChad GreenZack Britton
St. Louis CardinalsStableGiovanny GallegosGenesis CabreraNick WittgrenAlex Reyes
Philadelphia PhilliesStableCorey KnebelJose AlvaradoJeurys FamiliaJoJo Romero
Los Angeles DodgersStableBlake TreinenDaniel HudsonAlex VesiaTommy Kahnle
Texas RangersStableJoe BarlowGreg HollandSpencer PattonJonathan Hernandez/Jose Leclerc
Minnesota TwinsStableTaylor RogersJorge AlcalaTyler Duffey 
Miami MarlinsStableDylan FloroAnthony BenderSteven Okert 
Boston Red SoxFluidMatt BarnesJake DiekmanHansel Robles 
Cincinnati RedsFluidHunter StricklandLuis CessaArt WarrenLucas Sims/Tejay Antone
San Francisco GiantsFluidJake McGeeCamilo DovalTyler Rogers 
Arizona DiamondbacksFluidMark MelanconIan KennedyCaleb Smith 
Pittsburgh PiratesFluidDavid BednarAnthony BandaChris Stratton 
Oakland A'sFluidLou TrivinoDeolis GuerraA.J. Puk 
Seattle MarinersFluidPaul SewaldDrew SteckenriderDiego Castillo 
Tampa Bay RaysFluidAndrew KittredgePete FairbanksJT ChargoisNick Anderson
Kansas City RoyalsFluidScott BarlowJosh StaumontAmir Garrett 
Colorado RockiesVolatileAlex ColomeCarlos EstevezDaniel BardScott Oberg
San Diego PadresVolatileRobert SuarezDinelson LametEmilio PaganMichel Baez & Drew Pomeranz
Chicago CubsVolatileRowan WickDavid RobertsonMychal GivensCodi Heuer
Washington NationalsVolatileTanner RaineyKyle FinneganSean Doolittle 
Baltimore OriolesVolatileColse SulserTanner ScottDillon Tate 



Fantasy Baseball 2022