Wednesday, December 6 2023


The Orioles, and fantasy managers, were dealt a significant blow this week when Felix Bautista was placed on the 15-day injured list with what was described as “some degree of injury” to his UCL. We’ll go over the fallout in Baltimore along with an emerging hitter getting an opportunity in Cincinnati in this week’s Saves and Steals.

Tier 1: Untouchable

Devin Williams Milwaukee Brewers

With Bautista on the injured list, Williams takes the top spot in the closer rankings. Williams deserved to jump into the top tier, anyway. The 28-year-old right-hander has an impeccable 0.56 ERA while leading baseball with a 47.5 percent strikeout rate in the second half. He picked up a save this week to give him 31 this season. Depending on the outcome of Bautista’s injury, Williams could be the leading candidate to be the first closer off draft boards in 2024.

Tier 2: The Elite

Alexis Díaz – Cincinnati Reds
Josh Hader San Diego Padres
Camilo Doval – San Francisco Giants
Raisel Iglesias Atlanta Braves

Díaz was hit for three unearned runs against the Diamondbacks on Saturday to blow the save but came away with the win. He bounced back on Wednesday against the Giants, striking out one batter in a scoreless ninth for his 35th save.

Hader didn’t get many save chances in August, coming away with just three saves in the month. He added his 28th of the season on Monday against the Cardinals but took losses on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hader still carries an excellent 1.16 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 74 strikeouts across 46 2/3 innings.

Doval had gone through a stretch of four consecutive blown saves coming into the week. He recovered with a pair of clean outings, picking up two saves for a total of 35, tied with Díaz for the lead in the National League.

Iglesias jumps into this elite tier of closers with his performance. He added his 26th save against the Rockies on Tuesday and has not allowed a run over his last 16 appearances since July 18. He holds an excellent 2.74 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 56 strikeouts across 42 2/3 innings.

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Tier 3: The Solid Options

Ryan Pressly Houston Astros

Emmanuel Clase Cleveland Guardians
Adbert Alzolay Chicago Cubs
Paul Sewald Arizona Diamondbacks
Pete Fairbanks Tampa Bay Rays
Jordan RomanoToronto Blue Jays
Jhoan Duran Minnesota Twins
Andés Muñoz – Seattle Mariners

Pressly blew a save chance on Friday, then was out with an illness on Tuesday. He returned on Wednesday, striking out one batter against the Red Sox for his 29th save.

Clase had a successful week, picking up three saves and a win. He’s up to 36 saves to lead baseball through Wednesday’s action. Alzolay matched Clase’s output with three saves and a win of his own. He’s quickly climbing the ranks, jumping a tier this week. Alzolay leads baseball in saves since the All-Star break with 15.

Sewald had a mixed week, converting one of his two save chances. He added his 28th save on Thursday before blowing the opportunity on Saturday against the Reds. Meanwhile, Fairbanks continues to impress. He added three saves and now holds a 41.9 percent strikeout rate in the second half.

Romano made one appearances, throwing a season-high 36 pitches to record five outs in a tie game on Sunday. With Romano unavailable Monday, Jordan Hicks stepped in for his 12th save of the season.

Duran made three appearances this week, but did not see a save chance for the Twins. He remains at 23 for the season while posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 72 strikeouts across 53 1/3 innings. And Muñoz converted all three of his save chances this week for a total of 11.

Tier 4: There’s Upside Here

Kenley Jansen Boston Red Sox
Evan Phillips Los Angeles Dodgers
Kyle Finnegan Washington Nationals
David Bednar Pittsburgh Pirates
Craig Kimbrel Philadelphia Phillies
Carlos Estévez – Los Angeles Angels
Yennier Cano/Danny CoulombeBaltimore Orioles
Tanner Scott Miami Marlins

Jansen didn’t see any save chances this week. He had exited last Wednesday’s contest with right hamstring tightness and was given a few days off to recover. John Schreiber picked up the only save in his absence. Jansen made his first appearance back on Wednesday in a non-save situation, striking out one batter in a clean inning against the Astros.

Phillips added a pair of saves against the Red Sox over the weekend, giving him 21. He’s been excellent for the Dodgers, posting a 2.34 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts over 50 innings.

Finnegan continues to rack up the saves. He added three this week, giving him 25 this season. His 14 since the All-Star break trails only Alzolay.

Bednar picked two saves, but sees himself falling a bit in the rankings. He’s up to 29 saves this season, but has seen his skills decline over the second half. He has just a 24.7 percent strikeout rate since the All-Star break.

Kimbrel had converted only one save in August coming into the week. He locked down a pair of saves with scoreless outings against the Cardinals and Angels. In his third outing in four days, he surrendered three runs to blow the save on Wednesday and take the loss against the Angels.

Estévez returns to this tier with three saves this week, including his 29th of the season on Wednesday against the Phillies. He’s had his ups and down, but has generally gotten the job done and held on to the closer role in Los Angeles.

This one hurts. Bautista was removed from Friday’s contest with an apparent UCL injury. He was placed on the injured list with no timetable for a return. The worst-case scenario here is surgery that will keep him out for the rest of the season and most, if not all, of next season. In his absence, Cano and Coulombe should factor into the ninth-inning mix. Both picked up a save this week.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

Will Smith/Aroldis Chapman/Jose LeclercTexas Rangers
Clay Holmes New York Yankees
Giovanny Gallegos/Jojo Romero – St. Louis Cardinals
Alex Lange/Jason Foley – Detroit Tigers
Brooks Raley/Adam OttavinoNew York Mets

The Rangers situation is turning into a bit of a mess. Both Smith and Chapman have struggled in the ninth inning over the last couple weeks. Leclerc stepped in on Monday for his second save and could figure into the mix going forward. Chapman got the save chance on Tuesday and locked down his fourth save. He pitched the bottom of the tenth on Wednesday with the game tied and allowed the walk-off run to take the loss.

Holmes has allowed at least one run in each of his last four outings. None of those outings have come in save situations. He remains at 16 for the season.

No save chances in St. Louis this week. Though Romero did make a two-inning appearance and picked up the win against the Padres on Tuesday. The Tigers also didn’t see any save chances, but Lange recorded a win. It was the same pattern in New York, with the Mets going without a save chance.

Tier 6: If You Must

Trevor May Oakland A’s
Justin Lawrence Colorado Rockies
Carlos Hernandez Kansas City Royals
Gregory Santos Chicago White Sox


Liam Hendriks – Right Elbow Inflammation
Hunter Harvey – Right Elbow Strain
Ryan Helsley – Right Forearm Strain

Steals Department

No one in baseball has stolen more bases since the All-Star break than CJ Abrams . He led the way once again this week with five steals. He’s stolen 38 bases this season while hitting .251/.300/.407 with 14 homers, 66 runs scored, and 49 RBI. His season really took a turn when he was given the leadoff spot on July 7. Ronald Acuña Jr. reached the 60-steal milestone this week in Colorado. One more home run will make him the first 30/60 player in history. For those looking to add some steals on the waiver wire, the Reds have given 21-year-old prospect Noelvi Marte a shot at the everyday third base job. He’s up to five steals over his first ten starts while hitting .171/.256/.257 across only 39 plate appearances. He hit 11 homers and stole 18 bases over 89 games across Double-A and Triple-A this season. Marte posseses excellent upside hitting in a good lineup over the final month.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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