Each weekend, we discuss the saves situations in each and every one of the 30 teams in the league, with special emphasis on who is trending up and who is slipping.
This week, Ian Kennedy and Alex Reyes solidified their jobs, while Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero continued to share the load in Seattle. Peter Fairbanks and Jeffrey Springs will probably form a committee in Tampa for as long as Diego Castillo is out.
Ian Kennedy, Texas Rangers
Be honest: who among you had Ian Kennedy penciled for 10 saves, a 2.40 ERA, and a 0.93 WHIP in early May? Well, not me at least. But as a proud owner, I am certainly enjoying the ride.
Saturday’s save wasn’t smooth by any means, as the final out came at the plate in a throw from the outfield. But Kennedy is, for the most part, getting the job done, and with a healthy dose of strikeouts, too.
Keep in mind one thing, though: Texas is a rebuilding organization and may look to cash in on their closer before the trade deadline. If you are in a league with trades, maybe it’s time to start seeing what’s out there.
Jeffrey Springs/Peter Fairbanks, Tampa Bay Rays
Diego Castillo, the Rays’ regular closer, is out with a groin strain. That means someone needs to cover for him, but as you probably know by now, the Rays like to get creative with matchups.
As a result of those matchups, Springs got the save on Wednesday, his second of the season. However, there is also Peter Fairbanks, already back to full health after a minor blip with his shoulder.
Fairbanks, a righty, will get his fair share of save opportunities with Castillo on the shelf, but when there are multiple lefties up in the ninth, Springs should take care of them. It’s a situation to monitor closely.
Alex Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals
During Spring Training, people were debating whether to draft Jordan Hicks or Giovanny Gallegos as the Cardinals’ closer. But a third name worked his way to the role in early April, and that pitcher, Alex Reyes, is now among the league leaders in saves with 10. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.
Reyes has racked up four saves since May 2, and has been gold for owners. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride (he walked two on May 3 and allowed his first run of the season on Saturday) and his 0.53 ERA doesn’t quite match up with his 1.18 WHIP, but he has been solid and should keep the gig for as long as he is effective.
Jake McGee, San Francisco Giants
McGee was cruising along with a fantastic 2.92 ERA and 0.48 WHIP until Friday, but that day, he let in four runs while getting just two outs against the Rockies, causing his ERA to balloon up to 5.54.
After that outing, manager Gabe Kapler told the media that righty Tyler Rogers could begin seeing some save opportunities. That wasn’t the case Friday, when McGee converted his chance in a clean inning.
For now, I would still consider McGee the favorite to get most of the chances, but Rogers, as the right-handed complement of a theoretical committee, could see more than a few come his way.
Rafael Montero, Seattle Mariners
I don’t know how many times I’ve written about Rafael Montero, Kendall Graveman, and the Seattle closer carousel in the last few weeks. It feels like too many.
Graveman got the Mariners’ last save on Friday by striking out three hitters in a scoreless inning. He had gotten his last one on April 29, so he is very clearly in the mix. As for Montero, he notched one on May 2, and while he hasn’t allowed any earned runs in his last two outings, he no longer looks like the best reliever on the team.
As frustrating as it may sound, the two pitchers appear likely to share the job for the foreseeable future. If you want ratios, Graveman is the man to choose between the two, with an immaculate ERA in 14.1 innings, a 3/16 BB/K ratio and a 0.49 WHIP.
Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies
Neris’ ERA was 1.54 on April 29, but he has allowed runs in two of his last three outings, and the number has ballooned up to 2.93. Still good, but not elite, and that’s precisely the description of Neris as a reliever.
He blew up a save chance on Saturday night in spectacular fashion, conceding a game-tying two-run blast to Pablo Sandoval when he was one strike away from the win. For now, Neris still has a relatively strong grip of the closer role, but pay close attention to his performance in the near future.
- New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
- Baltimore Orioles: Cesar Valdez (secure)
- Tampa Bay Rays: Diego Castillo (injured), potential committee between Jeffrey Springs and Peter Fairbanks
- Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option)
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (secure)
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure)
- Minnesota Twins: Taylor Rogers (first option)
- Cleveland: Emmanuel Clase (secure)
- Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (first option), Bryan Garcia
- Kansas City Royals: Josh Staumont (first option)
- Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure)
- Oakland Athletics: Lou Trivino (first option), Jake Diekman
- Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
- Seattle Mariners: Potential committee between Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero
- Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
- Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure)
- New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
- Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris (secure)
- Washington Nationals: Brad Hand (secure)
- Miami Marlins: Yimi Garcia (first option), Anthony Bass
- Cincinnati Reds: Potential committee between Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, and Sean Doolittle
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (secure)
- Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (secure)
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel (secure)
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Richard Rodriguez (secure)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (secure)
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure)
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
- San Francisco Giants: Jake McGee (first option), Tyler Rogers
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Stefan Crichton (first option)