The list below shows the average number of holds each team had in 2005/2006, one of my first steps in looking at top holders in fantasy baseball.
Holds are one of the most difficult stats to project because they depend on team performance (you have to have a lead to get a hold) and managerial decisions, as well as player performance. As I look at projecting holds some of the things I'll be looking at include:
Quality of the starting pitching staff
Quality of the offense
Managerial tendencies (Bill James provides a nice database on quick hooks, slow hooks, relievers used, etc)
The holder lineup (who's pitching the 8th? the 7th? who's the LOOGY,the Lefty One-Out GuY?)
And, finally, quality of the player.
Some of these things are captured by looking at team holds. I've tracked team holds over the past several years, and the correlation from year to year at the team level is about 0.4--not great, but meaningful. 2006 was unique in that the team correlation in holds was very different from past years. It was both negative and small. So, I'm a little more cautious in applying these numbers. For right now, I'd just say that if you have two guys that you are trying to decide between, you might lean towards the one who is on a team towards the top of this list, rather than the bottom.
But, you don't want to use these numbers without looking at the rest. The bottom team ought to tell you that. The Angels are perenially near the bottom of this list. As a team over the last 2 years they average 30 fewer holds than the Phillies. Over the last 4 years, they've never had more than 56 holds (and never fewer than 50).
But, they often have one or two of the individual leaders in holds, because they typically have high quality performers, good starters, a decent offense and Sciosia is like a robot with his use of relievers.
So, this is just one part of the info you want to use. Be alert that 7 teams changed managers this year: Nationals (Acta), Marlins (Gonzalez), A's (Geren), Rangers (Washington), Padres (Black), Giants (Bochy), and Cubs (Sweet Lou). The first five of those have never managed in MLB before, so just be careful in selecting rholders from those teams; we just don't know how they will use guys. Bochy and Piniella tend to be managers with higher holds levels. Bochy often had the Padres in the top 5 or 6 teams in holds. He may not have as good a bullpen in SF, of course. Lou usually had the Mariners near the top and even had the DRays in the middle of the pack for holds, despite having a pretty poor pitching staff.
So, enjoy, comment, suggestions...I'll try to post regularly with the rest of the info on holders.
Philadelphia Phillies| 82
St. Louis Cardinals| 80
San Francisco Giants| 79
Toronto Blue Jays| 77
New York Yankees| 76
San Diego Padres| 76
Seattle Mariners| 73
Colorado Rockies| 72
Chicago White Sox| 72
Houston Astros| 71
Arizona Diamondbacks| 70
Boston Red Sox| 70
Chicago Cubs| 69
Pittsburgh Pirates| 66
Detroit Tigers| 66
Washington Nationals| 65
Oakland Athletics| 65
Atlanta Braves| 64
Baltimore Orioles| 64
Texas Rangers| 64
Florida Marlins| 62
Los Angeles Dodgers| 61
Kansas City Royals| 61
Milwaukee Brewers| 60
New York Mets| 60
Minnesota Twins| 60
Cleveland Indians| 57
Tampa Bay Devil Rays| 57
Cincinnati Reds| 56
Los Angeles Angels| 52
Randolph is one of the interesting ons that I wouldlike to look more closely at. He's only managed two years and there's some real variation in what he did. Year 1, the Mets had only 48 holds. Randolph was basically at the bottom of the NL in number of relievers used as well as relievers used on consecutive days. Their top reliever had only 18 holds and no one else had more than 6.
In 2006, he jumped up to the middle of the pack in relievers used and relievers used on consecutive days. The Mets jumped from bext to last in team holds to middle of the pack. Again, he had one goto guy in Heilman who had 26 saves. Then he had 4 with 10 to 14 saves.
So, I think what you have is a guy who is still finding his managing style, but does likes to have very set roles for his relievers, especially having one guy that he has going to rely on very heavily. Going forward, I think you can probably count on the Mets primary holder guy being among the leaders in holds, but the guys behind him are more likely to be in the 10-15 range. It's possible that if Sanchez had stayed healthy, the Mets in 2006 would have had two 20+ holders, because of Randolph's tendency to stick with clear roles. So, it's possible the Mets 7th inning guy could be c decent choice. But, Willie also seems to be more willing to mix and match his relievers in innings 6 and 7, distributing those hold opportunities among several guys.
Finished the AL today. Let me explain my plan. I'm basically projecting 4 relievers for each team--the guy I expect to cover the 8th, two guys who will handle earlier innings, and a LOOGY. For now, I'm posting tiers explained below. Please offer any thoughts. Based on that and a little more work, I'll post more detailed projections.
Basically, these are guys I expect to rack up 25+ holds/saves/wins, ERAs under 3.5, WHIPs under 1.25, and K/9>7
20+ holds/saves/wins, ERAs under 4.00, WHIPs under 1.30 and K/9>6.5
15+ holds/saves/wins, ERAs under 4.5, WHIPs under 1.35. K/9>6
10+ holds/saves/wins, ERAs under 4.5, WHIPS under 1.35, K/9>6