Closer Report: The search for holds

Updated: March 11, 2011, 4:07 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
I recently selected Chicago White Sox right-hander Jesse Crain in a deep dynasty league, not because I expect him to get saves, but because I need holds. Middle relief is pretty important in real baseball, but in standard fantasy baseball leagues, the only reason to draft a Crain is for his safe innings and decent strikeout rate, as opposed to what your potential sixth starter Livan Hernandez might produce. I need 20 holds from Crain in that league, and I expect him to provide 'em.

Holds are becoming more popular in customized leagues as owners strive to make their experience in fantasy baseball more like that of real life, by adjusting the statistics that matter. That's why batting average is being trumped by on-base percentage or OPS in more leagues, why quality starts are more pertinent than wins, and for middle relievers, the holds category is, if not in vogue, at least becoming relevant. I regularly get questions in the chat room (each Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET) and on Twitter (@karabellespn) about setup men now.