Finally getting started on some holds for those that use them in their leagues. The first post here shows holds by team for 2003-2008, along with the average for each team during that period, and the averages over the last 2 and last 3 years. Managers obviously play a big part in holds, since they determine the roles, make the switches in game and during the season. For an eye on how much difference the manager can make, look at the Marlins data. 4 straight years near the bottom in holds, then BAM, averaging 96 holds the last 2 years. Fredi Gonzalez likes to churn through those relievers.
But, it's not just the hold opportunities given. Managers differ in whether they concentrate those in a few pitchers or spread them around. No Florida pitcher ever had more than 20 holds under Fredi, despite the high totals. Scioscia is the anti-Fredi. The Angels have rarely been among the leaders in total holds, but almost always have someone ranked high in individual holds. Scioscia almost always concentrates 2/3rds or more of his holds in 2 pitchers (he's often had 80% or more of his holds in 2 pitchers). Certainly, that also depends on the pitchers performing well, but there are definite manager tendencies in pitcher usage. Scioscia seems to like very strictly defined roles and usage patters among a small group of pitchers. Fredi seems to like playing a lot of matchups and hot hands, which increases total opportunities, but spreads them around more.
As we look for pitchers who will get you holds, we'll keep the manager in mind. Ideally we want a solid reliever pitching for a manager and team that gives lots of hold opportunities, but concentrates them in a few pitchers.
"I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to chase it."