Saves and Steals: Fantastic Fairbanks
Pete Fairbanks has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the second half. He continued his run this week, picking up three saves. In Chicago, the Cubs lost their breakout closer. We examine the fallout as well as a new option for steals available in fantasy leagues in this week’s Saves and Steals.
Tier 1: Untouchable
Williams fired off a couple of clean innings this week, adding his 33rd save of the season. He’s 33-for-37 in save chances while posting a 1.68 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 79 strikeouts across 53 2/3 innings.
Tier 2: The Elite
Díaz went another week without a save chance. He’s been shut out from saves this month, with his last coming on August 30. He did pick up a win with a scoreless outing on Tuesday against the Tigers. Hader also hasn’t logged a save this month, with his last recorded on August 28.
Doval added a pair of saves against the Rockies this week, giving him 37 for the season. That trails only Clase’s 40 for the most in baseball. Clase recorded two saves this week. And despite his saves lead in baseball, he’s been charged with 11 blown chances.
Fairbanks finally makes a jump into this tier. He recorded three saves this week and twice struck out the side in his appearance. He’s up to 23 saves with a 2.23 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts across 40 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate is up to 44.6 percent in the second half.
Iglesias got three consecutive save chances starting on Sunday but failed to convert his final two, blowing back-to-back opportunities against the Phillies.
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Tier 3: The Solid Options
Sewald locked down three saves this week. He’s now 33-for-38 in save chances. The veteran has had an excellent season, posting a 3.16 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 75 strikeouts across 57 innings. Meanwhile, Pressly worked around a hit and a walk to record his only save against the Padres this week.
Romano gave up a run but held on for the save against the Royals on Friday. He then struck out two in a scoreless frame for another save against Kansas City on Sunday. Romano is up to 34 saves with a 2.60 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 64 strikeouts across 52 innings.
Bednar tossed a scoreless frame in his only outing but did not see a save chance. In Minnesota, Duran locked in two saves, giving him 26 this season with a 2.51 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 77 strikeouts across 57 1/3 innings.
Tier 4: There’s Upside Here
Andrés Muñoz - Seattle Mariners
Evan Phillips - Los Angeles Dodgers
Tanner Scott - Miami Marlins
Kenley Jansen - Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel/Jose Alvarado - Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Finnegan - Washington Nationals
Yennier Cano - Baltimore Orioles
Clay Holmes - New York Yankees
Julian Merryweather - Chicago Cubs
Muñoz started and ended the week with a save, recording two for his 13th of the season. He was out for a day as he was dealing with some hip soreness. But he looked just fine tossing a scoreless frame against the Angels on Wednesday.
Phillips added a save against the Nationals on Friday but later took a loss with four runs allowed against the Padres on Monday.
In Miami, Scott continues to stay hot with three saves. He hasn’t allowed a run since July 31. He’s posted a 2.21 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts over 69 1/3 innings while converting eight saves.
Jansen was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday, which will keep him out for a minimum of seven days. Chris Martin and Josh Winckowski should be in line to step in for saves, with Martin being the preferred option for fantasy managers.
Kimbrel recorded the only save for the Phillies this week. Both he and Alvarado took a loss in non-save situations. Finnegan also had a rough week, blowing his only save chance. He’s struggled a bit of late after putting together an excellent run over a three-month stretch.
Cano was roughed up on Saturday against the Red Sox, giving up three runs in a non-save situation. In New York, Holmes logged his 19th save of the season.
The Cubs got some unfortunate news this week. Their breakout closer was diagnosed with a right forearm strain that landed him on the injured list. There’s no timetable for his return, but it’s the kind of injury that will likely mean an end to his season. In his absence, Julian Merryweather could step in for saves. He converted a save on Sunday against the Diamondbacks, striking out two batters in a scoreless frame. Mark Leiter Jr. and Michael Fulmer could also figure into the mix. Fulmer recorded a save Monday against the Rockies.
Tier 5: Just Getting By
Carlos Estévez - Los Angeles Angels
Ryan Helsley/Giovanny Gallegos - St. Louis Cardinals
Will Smith/Aroldis Chapman/Jose Leclerc - Texas Rangers
Alex Lange - Detroit Tigers
Brooks Raley/Adam Ottavino - New York Mets
Estévez tossed a couple of clean outings, recording his 30th save on Sunday, his first in September. After Estévez pitched on back-to-back days, Jimmy Herget converted a save chance on Monday.
Helsley looks to be getting in a groove since returning from the injured list. He recorded three saves and has yet to give up a run since he was activated on September 1.
Chapman picked up a save for the Rangers, with Smith logging the win on Saturday. Chapman seemed to be in the front seat for save chances at the moment, but it should still be considered a committee.
In Detroit, Lange converted a pair of saves, then took a loss on Tuesday, his third appearance in four days. And Ottavino also locked in two saves, recording his tenth for the Mets this season.
Tier 6: If You Must
led the way in baseball with six steals this week. He’s now up to 47 with 24 homers and 103 runs scored while hitting .279/.358/.508 across 580 plate appearances. The 23-year-old outfielder likely won’t make it out of the first round in 2024 fantasy drafts. Ha-Seong Kim
followed Carroll with four steals this week. He’s up to 35 this season with 17 homers while slashing .269/.359/.413 across 571 plate appearances. His skillset could put him among the top-50 players taken in roto an category leagues next year. And among players widely available in current fantasy leagues, Jacob Young
was promoted by the Nationals. He’s stolen five bases over his first 17 games and has been playing regularly in center field. The 24-year-old outfielder displayed excellent speed and contact skills in the minors, stealing 39 bases this season.