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Saves and Steals: Romano Returns

Struggling offenses to stream pitchers against
D.J. Short and Eric Samulski dive into struggling offenses to stream pitchers against, highlighting the A's, Giants, Angels, and others as teams to attack over the coming weeks.

Paul Sewald collected four saves this week to lead baseball. They were his first four saves since taking over as the Diamondbacks’ closer. Kenley Jansen also had an impressive week with three saves. And Jordan Romano returned from the injured list to reclaim his role in Toronto, recording a save his first day back. That and more as we run through this week’s closer rankings.

Tier 1: Untouchable

Felix Bautista - Baltimore Orioles

Bautista bounced back from his four-run outing last week with two saves and a win in a two-inning, four-strikeout performance on Saturday. He’s up to 32 saves with a 1.57 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 108 strikeouts across 57 1/3 innings. His 47.8 percent strikeout rate leads all of baseball among qualified pitchers. Shintaro Fujinami picked up a save in Bautista’s absence on Sunday after Bautista was given the day off.

Tier 2: The Elite

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

It was a relatively quiet week among the relievers in this tier. Williams had an impressive couple of games, adding a save and a win. He struck out the side in each outing. Meanwhile, Doval blew a save in his only appearance but managed to come out of it with a win against the Rangers on Sunday. Díaz recorded five outs against the Pirates on Sunday and earned the win. And Hader made just one appearance, striking out two batters for his 27th save on Wednesday. Doval and Díaz continue to lead the National League in saves with 33.

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Tier 3: The Solid Options

Ryan Pressly - Houston Astros
Emmanuel Clase - Cleveland Guardians
Paul Sewald - Arizona Diamondbacks
Jordan Romano - Toronto Blue Jays
Jhoan Duran - Minnesota Twins
Andrés Muñoz - Seattle Mariners
Raisel Iglesias - Atlanta Braves
David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates

Pressly locked down his 28th save on Tuesday against the Marlins, striking out two batters. He’s been excellent this season, posting a 2.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 56 strikeouts across 52 1/3 innings.

Clase recorded a save on Thursday, then blew an opportunity on Saturday, giving up three runs against the Rays. He bounced back on Tuesday, converting his 32nd save of the season against the Reds. It’s been that kind of up-and-down season for Clase, but he’s been solid overall, posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 54 1/3 innings.

Sewald had the best week of any closer, recording four saves in five days, including two in Colorado against the Rockies. It was his first four saves with the Diamondbacks, with 20 of his 24 coming with the Mariners. Duran recorded two saves in three days. He’s up to 22 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 63 strikeouts across 46 2/3 innings.

Romano was activated off the injured list and struck out two batters in a clean inning on Tuesday for his 29th save of the season. He returns as one of the better, solidified closers as long as he can remain healthy.

It wasn’t as good a week for Muñoz, who took a loss on Saturday against the Orioles. He allowed another run in a non-save chance on Sunday. And on Tuesday against the Royals, he had a forgettable outing, giving up three runs for the blown save before coming away with a win. He remains the unquestioned closer in Seattle and should bounce back in the coming week.

Iglesias made a pair of scoreless appearances. He struck out two batters against the Mets on Saturday, then locked down his 23rd save against the Yankees on Wednesday. And Bednar converted two save chances. He’s now up to 25 this season with a 1.99 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 60 strikeouts across 49 2/3 innings.

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
Evan Phillips - Los Angeles Dodgers

Fairbanks surrendered three runs against the Guardians on Friday and was pulled after recording two outs. He bounced back with a scoreless outing in a non-save situation against the Giants on Wednesday.

Alzolay locked down his 16th save on Saturday against the Blue Jays. He’s been outstanding, posting a 2.52 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts across 53 2/3 innings. And Jansen had an excellent week on the mound, tallying three saves. The veteran closer is up to 28 on the year.

Smith recorded a save on Friday, his 22nd of the season. He followed it up with a blown save on Sunday against the Giants. In Philadelphia, Kimbrel didn’t see a save chance on the week. He remains at 19 saves with a 3.18 ERA across 51 innings.

Phillips got a save chance on Saturday and struck out the side in a clean inning against the Rockies. He continues to operate as the primary closer in Los Angeles. He’s up to 17 saves with a 2.60 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts across 45 innings.

Tier 5: Just Getting By

Carlos Estévez - Los Angeles Angels
Clay Holmes - New York Yankees
David Robertson - Miami Marlins
Giovanny Gallegos/Jojo Romero - St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Finnegan - Washington Nationals
Alex Lange/Jason Foley - Detroit Tigers
Brooks Raley/Adam Ottavino - New York Mets

Estévez recorded two saves this week. He worked around two baserunners, striking out two batters for his 26th save on Wednesday. Holmes had a meltdown on the mound on Sunday. Up by four runs in the ninth, he surrendered five against the Marlins to take the loss in the non-save situation.

No save chances for Robertson this week. He made one appearance, tossing a scoreless inning against the Astros. In St. Louis, Romero converted the only save for the Cardinals, while Gallegos failed to convert his lone save chance. Meanwhile, Ryan Helsley remains without a timetable for his return. Romero and Gallegos should continue to share save chances for the team.

Finnegan earned a win on Saturday with a scoreless inning against the A’s. he made another appearance in a non-save situation on Wednesday and remains at 18 saves. In Detroit, Foley has entered the closer mix with a save on Sunday. Lange pitched the seventh inning on Wednesday, leaving Foley for the ninth. Foley gave up three runs in a non-save situation to end the game. And Ottavino got the board with a save this week, his seventh of the season.

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

Fernando Tatis Jr. turned up the speed this week with five steals, including his first career steal of home base on Wednesday. He hasn’t exactly put up the gaudy numbers he was producing in 2021, but Tatis Jr. has had a solid return to baseball this season, hitting .270/.325/.473 with 19 homers and 22 steals across 462 plate appearances. Rafael Ortega has gotten consistent playing time with the Mets this month, mostly against right-handed pitching. He stole three bases this week. Though his utility in fantasy is limited to the deepest of leagues. Trevor Story has made his season debut for the Red Sox. He got off to a quick start on the bases, collecting three steals. He’s back to playing shortstop and hitting in the heart of the Boston lineup. With Ozzie Albies on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, the Braves recalled Vaughn Grissom from Triple-A. He’s yet to make a start in two games against right-handed pitching. Nicky Lopez has gotten those starts and has five steals across 207 plate appearances this season. Harrison Bader could be available in fantasy leagues. He stole two bases this week for 14 on the season while hitting a respectable .259/.294/.398 with seven homers and 37 RBI across 270 plate appearances.