Saves and Steals: Iglesias on the Rise

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Andrés Muñoz is a big mover this week after picking up three saves, establishing himself as the primary closer for the Mariners. Raisel Iglesias
continues his run with one of the best teams in baseball. Clay Holmes
makes a jump as he keeps his scoreless streak intact. Meanwhile, Alexis Díaz and Carlos Estévez slide a bit after rough weeks. In the steals department, Bobby Witt Jr.
makes good on his first-round cost, adding five steals. And teammate Maikel Garcia is one underrated hitter that could be available in some leagues.

Tier 1: Untouchable

Felix Bautista
Baltimore Orioles

Bautista had a rare bad day on the mound on Tuesday, giving up two hits and a walk to load the bases before Kyle Tucker
took him deep for a walk-off grand slam. He had allowed just five runs all season before Tuesday’s contest. Still, he remains alone at the top with 30 saves, a 1.52 ERA, and a 49.8 percent strikeout rate across 53 1/3 innings.

Tier 2: The Elite

Devin Williams
Milwaukee Brewers

Camilo Doval
– San Francisco
Giants
Alexis DíazCincinnati Reds

Josh Hader
San Diego Padres

Williams moves to the top of this tier despite not recording a save this week. He picked up a win in a scoreless outing against the Pirates. Williams hasn’t been charged with an earned run since July 5 and carries a 1.42 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 64 strikeouts across 44 1/3 innings while converting 27 saves.

Doval slots in ahead of Díaz after picking up his 33rd save of the season. He’s been especially good since the All-Star break, with a 35 percent strikeout rate and a much-improved five percent walk rate. Meanwhile, Díaz was charged with his second loss the last week after giving up a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning against the Marlins on Wednesday. He’s struggled a bit over the last few weeks but remains one of the top closers given his production this season.

Hader didn’t see a save chance this week, but he did make a scoreless appearance. He’s given up four runs all season, the last coming on May 31. His ERA is down to a pristine 0.89 with a 0.94 WHIP and 63 strikeouts over 41 2/3 innings while going 26-for-30 in save chances.

Tier 3: The Solid Options

Andrés MuñozSeattle Mariners

Ryan Pressly
Houston Astros

Emmanuel Clase
Cleveland Guardians

Jhoan Duran
Minnesota Twins

Raisel IglesiasAtlanta Braves
Paul SewaldArizona Diamondbacks

David Bednar
Pittsburgh Pirates

Muñoz jumps to the top of this group after locking down three saves this week for the Mariners. He’s taken over as primary closer with Paul Sewald
traded to the Diamondbacks. Muñoz is up to six saves on the year with a 2.83 ERA and 35.3 percent strikeout rate across 28 2/3 innings. He has just as much upside as any closer in baseball from this point on. The 24-year-old right-hander will need to be more consistent, perhaps limiting his walk rate. But there’s no doubt he’ll be in line to break through in 2024 as one of the top closers in fantasy.

Pressly recorded a save on Tuesday, his 27th of the year. He’s just been solid all around as one of the more reliable closers in baseball, posting a 2.98 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts across 51 1/3 innings. Clase falls in behind Pressly. He took a blown save on Sunday before serving a one-game suspension, then bounced back with a save on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

Duran added two saves this week, bringing his total to 20. Eight of those saves have come in the last month, as he’s seen his usage shift to that of a traditional closer. With this kind of usage, Duran should see his stock rise this offseason for 2024 fantasy drafts.

Iglesias continues his rise up the rankings with his 22nd save this week. He’s worked his ERA down to 3.28 with a 1.18 WHIP and 46 strikeouts across 35 2/3 innings. He jumps Sewald, who took a blown save on Sunday, giving up a pair of home runs against the Twins. And it was a forgettable week for Bednar, who blew two save chances and allowed five runs over three outings.

Tier 4: There’s Upside Here

Pete Fairbanks
Tampa Bay Rays

Adbert Alzolay
Chicago Cubs

Kenley Jansen
Boston Red Sox

Will Smith
Texas Rangers

Craig Kimbrel
Philadelphia Phillies

Clay HolmesNew York Yankees

Erik Swanson/Jordan HicksToronto Blue Jays

Fairbanks allowed a run against the Cardinals on Tuesday but held on to record his 15th save. He’s gotten better over the course of the season, posting a 40.5 percent strikeout rate since the All-Star break. Alzolay joins Fairbanks at the top of this tier with an equal 15 saves after locking down three this week. He’s been incredible in Chicago since taking over as the primary closer.

Jansen made a scoreless appearance, picking up a win against the Royals. He then added his 25th save against Kansas City on Wednesday. The 35-year-old veteran has been solid all season, posting a 3.13 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts across 37 1/3 innings while converting 25-of-28 save chances.

It initially appeared that the Rangers could go to a closer committee after acquiring Aroldis Chapman
, but it’s been all Smith in the ninth inning. He added three saves this week for a total of 21 to go with a 3.00 ERA across 42 innings. He jumps Kimbrel in the rankings, who earned his 19th save before taking a loss on Tuesday against the Nationals.

Holmes is on the upswing after adding two saves to his total this week, giving him 16. He’s allowed just two runs over the last three months, bringing his ERA down to 2.06 with a 1.12 WHIP across 43 2/3 innings.

Swanson and Hicks have each recorded two saves since Jordan Romano was placed on the injured list. I’d expect things to continue that way until Romano returns, which could be soon after throwing two bullpen sessions in three days.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

Evan Phillips
Los Angeles Dodgers

Carlos EstévezLos Angeles Angels

St. Louis Cardinals
Giovanny Gallegos

David Robertson
Miami Marlins

Kyle Finnegan
Washington Nationals

Alex Lange
Detroit Tigers

Brooks Raley/Adam Ottavino New York Mets

Phillips recorded three saves, four in the last two weeks. He’s up to 16 this season. The Dodgers didn’t add anyone at the trade deadline that should pose much of a threat to Phillips’ role. The 28-year-old right-hander holds a 2.72 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 47 strikeouts across 43 innings.

Estévez is on the downfall here. He suffered two blowup outings this week, giving up four runs against the Mariners, then five runs against the Giants. Dominic Leone
picked up a save on Tuesday, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the team give Estévez a break from closing duties.

Finnegan converted three saves and has quietly put together a solid season, posting a 2.70 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP across 50 innings.

Robertson recorded back-to-back saves on Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s up to 17 this season and will continue to work as the primary closer in Miami. Lange remains at 17 saves with no chances this week. Meanwhile, Ottavino got a save chance on Wednesday, but failed to record an out. He allowed a run on two hits and a walk before Phil Bickford
stepped in to close it out.

Tier 6: If You Must

Trevor May
Oakland A’s
Justin Lawrence
Colorado Rockies

Carlos Hernandez
Kansas City Royals

Gregory Santos
Chicago White Sox

Injured

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

Steals Department

It was Bobby Witt Jr.’s week this week. He swiped five bases to lead baseball while adding a pair of homers. The 23-year-old shortstop is making good on his first-round draft cost, slashing .269/.311/.474 with 20 homers, 68 RBI, and 34 steals across 493 plate appearances. Witt Jr.’s teammate, Maikel Garcia
, added three steals over the week. He’s hitting well atop the Royals order, batting .278/.325/.379 with four homers, 38 runs scored, and 18 steals across 343 plate appearances. The 23-year-old third baseman also has some hidden power in his bat, with a 110 mile-per-hour max exit velocity and a 49.2 percent hard-hit rate. Though Kauffman Stadium is notorious for suppressing homers, especially from those with middling power. Still, Garcia is widely available and will continue to run on the basepaths. Ha-Seong Kim
also stole five bases this week. He stole three on Wednesday alone against the Mariners. And Cody Bellinger
added four steals this week. He’s been one of the most improved hitters this season, hitting .327/.377/.550 with 17 homers and 17 steals across 355 plate appearances. He’s on his way to a 20/20 season while hitting over .300, something that will put him back into the top 100 of fantasy drafts next season.

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