Baseball fans and fantasy owners have come to realize that saves are a mighty imperfect and misleading statistic. One could argue that Cleveland Indians lefty Andrew Miller is one of the top-3 relievers in the sport -- his past two days of homers allowed notwithstanding -- and he’s earned nary a save in his 29 appearances. However, 92 pitchers have earned saves, including Los Angeles Dodgers starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda. Washington Nationals right-hander Shawn Kelley permitted a grand slam in a recent game and still got the save. The stat is flawed!
Holds aren’t exactly the greatest way to reward relief pitchers either, but leagues that recognize them are becoming more and more popular. I enjoy a points league in which the only pure relief pitchers, entering Wednesday, who were worth more than Miller were Boston Red Sox right-hander Craig Kimbrel and -- wait for it -- Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corey Knebel. Yup, Miller boasted more points in that scoring system than Dodgers star Kenley Jansen until the Wednesday outing, and Jansen is arguably (even with Kimbrel’s exploits) the top closer in fantasy. Preventing runs and missing bats are key.