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Saves + Holds Leagues Primer (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Jan 24, 2023
Andres Munoz

It’s okay to love guys like Andres Munoz in SV+HD leagues.

In a traditional 5×5 fantasy baseball league, the hardest category to predict may be Wins, but the hardest category to draft accurately is Saves. Typically, closers come in three or four tiers, with Tier 1 being the group that has the closer’s gig and is good at it all the way to Tier 4, which is filled with players who are at the top of the depth chart on Opening Day but probably won’t be by May. Punting the saves category on draft day is typically acceptable because there will always be (Tier 4) closers on waivers in 10- or 12-team leagues.

Many leagues have thusly switched to SV+HD (saves + holds) as a category, which more accurately reflects how MLB bullpens are used and open up a wide range of possibilities for fantasy managers to build their pitching staffs. It migrates the focus on draft day from “Who will pitch those magic last three outs?” to “Who are the best relievers available?” While each has its benefits and drawbacks, today, we will look at how to approach SV+HD leagues.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Fantasy Baseball SV+HD Leagues Strategy & Advice

Elite is Still Elite

The best-of-the-best closers will accumulate more Saves than the best-of-the-best middle relievers will accrue in Holds. The Top 5 closers from 2022 all outgained A.J. Minter, the leader in Holds. Those clear-cut, elite ninth-inning guys have a designated role and the skillset to retain that position for the duration of the season. Their value also increases in SV+HD leagues since your league mates will be gobbling up the elite seventh- and eighth-inning guys as well, meaning if you have a wishy-washy closer, his replacement may not just be sitting on waivers when things go south. To look at those Tier 1 relievers that are still worth targeting, check out our consensus rankings.


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