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Pressly’s Prowess

Chapman offers little value after trade to Rangers
Connor Rogers discusses Aroldis Chapman's arrival with the Texas Rangers, breaking down if the left-handed closer offers any additional fantasy value as a result or if managers should look elsewhere.

Felix Bautista separated himself, standing alone in the top tier this week. Ryan Pressly locked down four saves and continued his ascension with a tier jump. After earning some praise last week, Emmanuel Clase stumbled this week as he gets knocked down the rankings. And Craig Kimbrel continued his excellent run, extending his scoreless steak. That and more in this week’s Saves and Steals report.

Tier 1: Untouchable

Felix Bautista - Baltimore Orioles

Bautista now finds himself alone at the top of the closer rankings. Two saves this week brings him to 23 on the season. He’s taken his game to another level over the last two weeks, with 12 of his 16 outs coming via strikeout while raising his average fastball velocity to nearly 101 miles per hour. And he issued his first walk on Wednesday since May 24. He’s on an incredible run right now and absolutely untouchable.

Tier 2: The Elite

Alexis Díaz - Cincinnati Reds
Camilo Doval - San Francisco Giants
Josh Hader - San Diego Padres
Devin Williams - Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Pressly - Houston Astros

Díaz drops down a tier as his stuff has fallen back a bit. He did go 2-for-3 in save chances this week, giving him 24 this season. But over the last two weeks, he’s only struck out three batters to four walks over seven innings. Perhaps he only needs the All-Star break to recharge, but he’s going to see some bumps in the road if this trend continues. Though I’d bet on him turning it around.

Doval recorded two more saves this week and had a rough day on Monday, giving up four runs in a non-save situation against the Mariners to take the loss. Still, he’s posted a 2.70 ERA this season with a 1.08 WHIP and 55 strikeouts across 40 innings.

Hader recorded his 20th save on Wednesday, his second in the last two weeks. He’s been excellent on the surface, producing a 1.11 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts over 32 1/3 innings. But his walk rate is now up to a career-high 14.4 percent. That’s something he’ll have to correct before risking another second-half meltdown.

Williams has seen save chances in bunches. He locked down three this week to give him five over the last two weeks and 18 on the season. Though walks continue to be a problem. He’s walked 13.9 percent of batters this season. Williams scuffled on Wednesday, giving up two runs and blowing the save.

Pressly recorded his fourth save in six days on Wednesday against the Rockies. His excellent stretch has vaulted him up two tiers in these rankings. The veteran closer has his ERA down to 2.58 with an 0.83 WHIP and 42 strikeouts across 38 1/3 innings.

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Tier 3: The Solid Options

Emmanuel Clase - Cleveland Guardians
Jordan Romano - Toronto Blue Jays
David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Sewald, Andrés Muñoz - Seattle Mariners
Jhoan Duran , Jorge Lopez - Minnesota Twins

Just as I lauded Clase in last week’s column, he struggled this week with a pair of blown saves. He allowed at least one run to score in three consecutive outings, raising his ERA to 3.54 on the season across 40 2/3 innings.

Romano recorded a pair of saves between a loss he took against the Red Sox. He’s been a bit inconsistent of late, giving up a run in four of his last nine outings. Still, his skills have remained strong, posting a 20 percent swinging-strike rate over the last two weeks. Romano is up to 25 saves with a 3.03 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts across 35 2/3 innings.

Bednar picked up a save and a win this week. He’s tossed seven straight scoreless appearances, giving him a 1.36 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts to only five walks across 33 innings while going 16-for-17 in save chances.

Paul Sewald locked down two more saves this week, giving him 16 this season. Despite the questions surrounding his role before the season, no other reliever has more than one save for the Mariners. Sewald’s skills have been incredibly consistent, with a 3.31 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts to 11 walks across 35 1/3 innings.

Duran recorded his 12th save on Saturday, then blew the opportunity on Sunday, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. His surface stats and underlying skills nearly match his 2022 breakout. The only step back he’s taken has been in his walk rate, which has nearly doubled at 11.5 percent.

Tier 4: There’s Upside Here

Carlos Estévez - Los Angeles Angels
Will Smith - Texas Rangers
Kenley Jansen - Boston Red Sox
Pete Fairbanks - Tampa Bay Rays
Raisel Iglesias - Atlanta Braves

Estévez recorded his 21st save this week but takes a small step back in these rankings. He’s been excellent, posting a 1.85 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 42 strikeouts across 34 innings. It’s his 15.4 percent walk rate in June that lands him in this tier.

Smith got a new teammate this week as the Rangers acquired veteran left-hander Aroldis Chapman from the Royals. Chapman has worked in a setup role so far. And Smith continues to work the ninth inning, recording his 15th save. Smith’s role as primary closer appears to be safe for the time being. But the Rangers now have a reliever certainly capable of taking over should Smith stumble.

Jansen is up to 18 saves this season after recording a save on Wednesday against the Rangers. His consistency has waned a bit at this stage of his career, but he’s still getting the job done in Boston.

Fairbanks was held off the mound this week as the Rays didn’t present any save chances. He remains at nine saves with a 1.65 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts to eight walks across 16 1/3 innings.

Iglesias notched two more saves but took the loss on his third outing in as many days on Tuesday in extra innings against the Guardians. A few bad outings have his ERA at 3.91 on the season, but Iglesias’s skills have been excellent, with a 17.6 percent swinging strike rate, a 30.2 percent walk rate, and only a 7.5 percent walk rate. That and his team context lands him a tier upgrade in this week’s rankings.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

A.J. Puk - Miami Marlins
Evan Phillips - Los Angeles Dodgers
Craig Kimbrel - Philadelphia Phillies
Jordan Hicks - St. Louis Cardinals
Michael King , Clay Holmes - New York Yankees
Alex Lange - Detroit Tigers
David Robertson , Adam Ottavino - New York Mets
Andrew Chafin , Miguel Castro , Scott McGough - Arizona Diamondbacks

Puk went 2-for-3 in save chances this week. He blew the save on Wednesday against the Cardinals, giving up a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. But he would end up with the win after the Marlins came back to walk it off in the bottom of the inning. Puk has seen an uptick in his whiff rate over the last two weeks, an encouraging sign going forward.

Phillips recorded a save, his fourth in the last two weeks and 12th of the season, as the Dodgers bullpen has just started to find a bit of consistency. He did blow the save on Tuesday, pitching for the third day in a row. Daniel Hudson has returned from the injured list and has begun working in a setup role. He could get some save chances as he settles in, given how the closer role has been a committee for much of the year.

Kimbrel added two saves this week for a total of 13. He’s been on a great run, making 11 consecutive scoreless outings. It’s lowered his ERA to 3.60 with a 1.00 WHIP and 56 strikeouts across 35 innings.

Hicks blew his only save chance this week, giving up two runs against the Marlins on Wednesday. He remains at five on the season with a 4.15 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, and 53 strikeouts across 34 2/3 innings. He has been clearly working as the primary closer since Ryan Helsley landed on the injured list. While Hicks struggles with walks, he’s displayed a career-high strikeout rate of 33.5 percent.

It’s been a complete closer committee in New York. Holmes recorded the last save for the team, giving him ten on the year. King has the second-most for the Yankees with five.

No saves for Lange this week, and he’s recorded only one in the last two weeks. He pitched two innings in Colorado on Saturday, coming away with the win. His team context and volatility make him a risky low-end option.

Robertson recorded back-to-back saves on Tuesday and Wednesday for his 12th of the season. The team hasn’t given him too many chances, and Ottavino has taken his share of saves. Still, Robertson has been solid, posting a 1.88 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts across 38 1/3 innings.

Tier 6: If You Must

Justin Lawrence - Colorado Rockies
Scott Barlow - Kansas City Royals
Adbert Alzolay / Mark Leiter Jr. - Chicago Cubs
Kyle Finnegan/Hunter Harvey - Washington Nationals
Trevor May - Oakland A’s
Kendall Graveman/Keynan Middleton - Chicago White Sox

Lawrence was kept off the mound with no save chances. Meanwhile, the White Sox had three blown saves by Graveman and Joe Kelly . Barlow is the only closer in town after Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Rangers. Alzolay recorded a save on Wednesday, his fifth of the season. Harvey and May each locked down two saves. In all, these remain situations you want to avoid outside of deep mixed leagues where available saves are scarce.


Liam Hendriks - Elbow Inflammation

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Steals Department

Ronald Acuna Jr. tops this week’s steals leaderboard once again. He’s up to 41 this season, becoming the first player in history with at least 20 homers and 35 steals before the All-Star break. From one MVP candidate to a possible other, Luis Robert stole four bases over the last week, doubling his season total. He’s hitting .276/.336/.580 with 25 homers and eight steals across 353 plate appearances. One of last week’s recommendations, T.J. Friedl, added four steals to give him 16. The other, Maikel Garcia , added two steals with a hot week at the dish. Widely available in mixed leagues this week, Willi Castro stole a few bases, including his 18th on Wednesday. He’s hitting .246/.322/.372 with five homers, 33 runs scored, and 17 RBI across 215 plate appearances. Castro has been playing nearly every day and makes for a decent add in deep leagues where chasing steals.