That explains how an outstanding setup man like Mike Adams could have a 50 percent save percentage (two saves in four save opportunities). The stat fails to demonstrate his ability to maintain leads, which he had shown by accumulating 24 holds this season.
Save plus hold percentage evens the playing for closers and setup men, showing how well all relievers maintain leads. It is simple to calculate, yet gets little attention in the mainstream sports media. A hold is a save situation that gets preserved and passed on to the next reliever. So a hold is basically a save that does not end a game.
To calculate save plus hold percentage, combine saves and holds and then divide by saves, holds and blown saves. Among relievers with at least 15 save and hold opportunities through August 16, these pitchers led the Major Leagues.
The top 10 includes four closers, five setup men and one pitcher (Antonio Bastardo) who has filled both roles.
Adams’ 92.9 save plus hold percentage left him just short of the top 10. But he easily surpassed the Major League average of 84.9 percent this season.
Since it’s easy to explain and informative, save plus hold percentage makes a great tool for agents in both arbitration and free agency.